This is how to make planking more effective (Stock)
This is how to make planking more effective (Stock)

Shorter planks are more effective, according to experts

Holding a plank for longer than a minute is unnecessary 

Chelsea Ritschel
Saturday 01 January 2022 12:26

Planking can be incredible for your core - but just how long do you have to hold the muscle-blasting pose for it to be effective?

According to professor and spine specialist Stuart McGill, PhD, the answer is just 10 seconds.

Speaking to The Telegraph, McGill said: “There’s no utility to this kind of activity other than claiming a record.”

Rather, McGill suggests that those looking to benefit from planking will see greater results if they rely on three 10-second intervals, rather than longer holds, or the "Big 3" - which includes curl-ups, side planks, and bird dog exercises.

However, personal trainers seem to disagree.

Read more: How to stay motivated while working out from home

Benji Tiger, a personal trainer at Orange Theory in Florida told The Independent: “You should be holding a plank for 30 seconds to a minute.”

And she doesn’t believe that 10-second planks would be effective, but if you were to do planking intervals, “holding for 20 seconds each time would be better.”

Rob Arreaga, a personal trainer at Equinox in New York City, agreed. He told us: “Ideally, planks should be held for a minute to see results.”

Despite the varying opinions on how long you should hold the position, most agree that the most important part of planking comes down to form.

As long as your back isn’t sagging, which can put unnecessary pressure and stress on your joints, a plank will engage your muscles, according to Max Lowery, who said planks are the “exercise he most often sees people doing incorrectly at the gym.”

But even Lowery holds his own planks for about 30 seconds, as anything longer than that gets “boring.”

The good news is planking for longer than one minute is not recommended - as there are no added benefits to holding the pose for extended periods of time except to show off.

This article was originally published in 2018

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in