If you have been tirelessly doing your daily ab exercises but still aren’t getting the results you desire you’ll be glad to know that experts have figured out the optimal time to hold a plank for to get that six-pack you’ve been dreaming of.
According to Doug Sklar, founder of PhilanthroFIT in New York City and a certified personal trainer, holding a plank for 60 seconds three times is the ideal amount of time in order to reap the biggest rewards.
If you haven’t yet incorporated planking into your regular exercise regime and find holding it for a full minute is too challenging, it’s OK to start with shorter sets and work your way up 60 seconds.
There is a risk of injuring yourself if you push to hard to begin with. According to Sklar,
“Forcing yourself to hold a plank for an excessive amount of time can put a lot of strain on your lower back. As fatigue sets in, the lower back may start to arch. This is where you put yourself at risk for injury.”
So if one minute is too challenging, you can hold it for 10 seconds, take 5 to 10 seconds to relax and then, re-engage for 10 seconds. Repeat each set three to six times.
Doing this can still amount to a good workout and will get you well on your way to being able to hold it for a minute. Sklar explained,
“You receive very similar strengthening benefits because you are engaging your muscles for the same amount of total time as if you just held the plank for 30 to 60 seconds without stopping”
But what if you can already hold a plank for 60 seconds easily? Well you’re doing well if you can, and you can start to pay more attention to the muscles you’re engaging while carrying out the exercise. You can make the exercise more intense and beneficial by contracting your abs while also squeezing your glutes and quads throughout.
Be aware of your form and if you feel that you can no longer hold the correct position then you should take a short rest and come back to it. Form should be the top priority and you should only hold a plank for as long as you can keep perfect form.
So there you have it! It only takes a few minutes of your day to carry out one of the most effective exercises to flatten your belly and get you on your way to having that six-pack.
Watch the video below a short tutorial showing you how to do a perfect plank a long with some variations.