A plank is one of the best static exercises. Most people know it as an ab exercise but there are multiple muscle groups that are under tension while holding a plank. The shoulders, triceps, quads and lower back also are working to make a plank position possible. If your abs are stronger, one of these other muscles groups may fatigue before your abs. It is a good test of multiple muscle groups at one time.
Want to increase your plank time?
First, let’s get a base line. Find a timer and open space. Decide whether you want to do a Push-Up Position Plank or a Forearm Position Plank. Start the timer and hold as long as you can. Know that your “resistance” comes in waves. In the beginning, it will come then subside. The longer you hold, the waves will come faster and with more intensity. You know they are coming so don’t let the first set of waves surprise you. FIGHT THROUGH IT! Once you fall, record your time.
Push Up Position Plank – Eyes to the floor, Shoulder over your hands, Palms flat on the ground, straight line from your shoulders to your toes. Modified position – On your knees instead of your toes.
Forearm Position Plank – Eyes to the floor, Shoulders over your elbows, Hands/Fists on the ground, Straight line from your shoulders to toes. Modified position – On your knees instead of your toes.
Now let’s increase your plank time!
Now that you have a base line, let’s beat it! We are going to use the interval method to increase your plank time. Start with a 30 seconds ACTIVE/15 seconds REST interval. We’re also going to use a Double Time approach. If you held a plank for under 30 secs, you will be ACTIVE for at least 1 minute. Always round up to the nearest 30 seconds. So your intervals will be 30 secs ACTIVE/15 secs REST for 2 Rounds.
0 seconds – 30 secs plank – 30 secs ACTIVE/15 secs REST for 2 Rounds
:31 secs – 1 minute plank – 4 Rounds
1:01 min – 1:30 min plank – 6 Rounds
1:31 min – 2 min plank – 8 Rounds
2:01 min – 2:30 min plank – 10 Rounds
2:31 min – 3 min plank – 12 Rounds
3:01 min – 3:30 min plank – 14 Rounds
3:31 min – 4 min plank – 16 Rounds
4:01 min – 4:30 min plank – 18 Rounds
4:31 min – 5 min plank – 20 Rounds
If the intervals are too long, go to a 20 seconds ACTIVE/10 seconds REST interval, but keep your overall active time near the same. Run your intervals 2-3 times a week for 2 weeks. Be sure to warm up and stretch for 2-3 minutes before attempting your intervals. After 2 weeks, run a plank test again…and watch your plank time INCREASE!