young powerful sportsman planking over dark wall.

How Long Should You Plank? The Truth About This Popular Ab Exercise

Planks are one of the most popular and effective exercises for strengthening your core muscles. But how long should you plank to get the best results? And what are the benefits of planking anyway? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more. We’ll also show you some variations and tips to make your planks more challenging and fun.

What are planks and why are they good for you?

A prime example of an isometric exercise is the plank position. Unlike dynamic exercises where movement occurs, when executing a plank there is a requirement for one to maintain a stationary pose. By lying face down initially and later using your forearms and toes for support you ensure your body stays in proper alignment by maintaining a straight line from head to heel. A crucial element in performing this exercise correctly involves actively engaging one' s core musculature resulting not only in sustaining this state but simultaneously preventing the sagging or over arching at hips often witnessed which may affect overall form negatively.

Furthermore planks are renowned because they have numerous benefits including those linked to entirety of one's core region rather than solely targeting abdominal muscles specifically Ones which assist stability surrounding spinal stabilization aspects like rectus abdominis transverse abdominis obliques erector spinae multifidus diaphragm pelvic floor and more. Through consistent planking exercises it becomes apparent that the resultant strengthening of these pivotal areas subsequently have positive effects on various key areas such as mobility posture balance Additionally let's also acknowledge how powerful planking truly can be due expansion onto other muscle group activation involving chest shoulders arms legs glutes improving overall composition.

How long should you plank?

closeup of hand holding stopwatch

The length of time you should plank has no definitive answer. It really depends on your level of fitness. The goals you have set for yourself. And your personal preferences. Some individuals find it possible to hold a plank for about 10 seconds while others can maintain the position for a minute or even longer. The important thing is to plank for as long as you are able to maintain proper form and feel appropriately challenged. If you can effortlessly hold a plank for 30 seconds or more without breaking a sweat or experiencing muscle tension then it may be time to increase the difficulty. This can be achieved by extending the duration adding additional weight incorporating movement or introducing instability into your planks.

  • Increase the time: Try to add 5 to 10 seconds to your plank every week until you reach your desired duration. You can also do multiple sets of shorter planks with short breaks in between.
  • Add weight: To make your planks more challenging you can try placing a weight plate or sandbag on your back or hips. Just be sure to choose a weight that's suitable for you. Not heavy and not too light.
  • Add movement: You have the option to raise either one arm or one leg, from the ground. You can switch between them. Additionally you can also move your arms or legs in directions, like forwards backwards, sideways or even diagonally.
  • Add instability: You can use an unstable surface or device to challenge your balance and stability while planking. For example, you can use a stability ball, a Bosu ball, a TRX suspension trainer, or a slide board.

How often should you plank?

Debates surrounding how frequently one should engage in plank exercises lack an indisputable answer as this aspect's determination is contingent upon multiple factors such as individualized fitness capacities, targeted goals for physical betterment or enhancement, along with personal inclinations towards particular workouts. The frequency with which an individual should incorporate planks into their regime varies considerably - from performing them on a daily basis to engaging in them once or twice throughout each week.

However, given the exertion involved in planking, it is crucial never to surpass one's limits while bearing heavy loads on one's muscles continually. Employing sufficient intervals for recovery and muscle fortification is paramount; otherwise, one might be susceptible to occurrences of injuries or hitting stagnant periods within their fitness journey. A prevailing consensus endorsed by experts involves fusing plank exercises into a comprehensive workout routine at least two or three times per week - alongside other exercises catering holistically towards diverse bodily aspects. Observing this interval percentage not only thwarts routine-induced monotony but also intensifies fascination regarding various modalities incorporated under the umbrella term "plank."


Indubitably, planking stands as a premier modality for heightening core strength alongside bolstering one's overall physical condition – all integral components underpinning improved healthiness in general. Alas! Nevertheless! One must calibrate precisely how long to maintain a plank stance, predicated upon an array of crucial considerations: current fitness levels, desired aspirations, and individual predilections all demand one's thoughtful examination.

Foremost among these priorities remains the maintenance of optimal posture during each planking exercise; resolutely challenging oneself looms equally weighty in significance, though never shall it come at the risk of sustaining preventable trauma. Maximizing the manifold benefits afforded by this exercise mandates progressively surpassing previous benchmarks – be it through elongating time spent in a plank pose; integrating additional resistance or gestures into one's approach; or introducing asymmetry deliberately into the equation. Equally important remains wisely taking sufficient breaks for recovery amidst subsequent planking sessions. Fitness enthusiasts who adhere to this succinct road map will discover all the benefits of planking.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.