Exercise of The Month: The Plank

For a long time this has been one of my favorite exercises. It’s one of those that you see someone doing in the gym and you think to yourself, “Yeah that looks pretty easy!” Of course in reality its a lot harder than it looks, but what does it do? Put simply it’s a core exercise designed to improve strength and tone in the stomach and lower back. It’s particularly favored by both serious athletes and newbies alike. Even post-natal moms are often advised to do the plank as static stomach exercises place less aggressive stress on your stomach muscles following child-birth.

Performing the Plank
First bend your elbows at 90 degress, forearms on the floor, elbows beneath your shoulders. Your body should be straight like a plank of wood from your head to your feet. This is important. Many newbies will lift their bum up in the air so they look more like a hump-back bridge! This is not a plank. For those who are struggling with the plank then a modified plank with your knees on the floor will make it a lot easier.

plank-exercise
Whats a Good Time For The Plank?
I’ve always been able to hold the plank for a reasonable while. I remember in my early 30’s being able to hold for 3 minutes. Nowadays I can do about 2 minutes. The plank is an exercise that with practise you can greatly improve your own time. In fact the best way to develop your strength is to do the plank in steps, 30 seconds and then a pause for 10 (or however long you need) and so on.

Plank Variations
The great think about the plank is that there are plenty of variations and tweaks you can make to vary things up a little, from one foot off the floor to even one arm off the floor (what I call hitch-hiker planks).
one-leg-plank

The World Record for the Abdominal Plank is 1 hour and 5 minutes…ouch! I wince just thinking about that!

If you’ve tried it, how long can you hold the plank for?

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14 thoughts on “Exercise of The Month: The Plank

  1. I could probably go for a minute and a bit with a lot of wobbling and cursing by the time I cross 60 seconds …but I think I’ll use your tip and try to improve my time!

  2. I think “the wobbles” are just part of doing the plank. My whole body begins shaking after a minute and I begin to feel it in my core and in my shoulders. But at this point I then try to block out any pain and just go somewhere else in my head. It’s amazing how much longer you can then go for! But yes, and hour and five minutes is frankly insane!

  3. really like your blog…lots of couls stuff. i’m new to blogging…been around fitness forever. hope we can share a lot of thoughts and ideas… thanks for following me…i’m doing the same.

  4. I can hold a standard plank for about 2 minutes, like you. But I usually try to do a 5-minute plank rotation, starting with the standard for a minute, moving to one side for 30 sec, then the other side, then back to standard, then maybe suicide planks, etc. Love ‘em!

  5. I love planks! I normally don’t time mine.. I just do one ’til exhaustion! But I can’t imagine doing it for over an hour! OUCH!

  6. When I trained in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) we would often do planks as part of the normal warm up drills and exercises. It is great for the core stabilization.

  7. The plank is a great exercise to use in a superset. Plank to push up is great alternative to make the exercise slightly harder.

    Great post Louise!

    Chris
    Fat Loss Classroom

    PS – Top marks on the blog design Louise! This has to be by far one of the nicest looking fitness blogs I have seen!

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