Plank is one of those exercises in which everyone likes to keep a personal record.
Since not only this exercise helps in toning abdominal muscles, but it also helps in targeting almost all the major muscle groups in the body. That’s why plank is always on the list of abdominal exercises you should never skip.
And sticking to this timeless workout principle, I always perform plank and include it in every workout session that targeted abdominal muscles. My longest plank record is around 3 minutes, and I am proud of it.
However, experts say differently on how long this exercise should be performed.
In this article, you will find out how long you should hold a plank, the benefit of doing a plank for just 1-2 minutes, and how to do a plank properly:
Ideal Duration For Reaping The Benefits
According to experts, performing 2-3 sets of the plank while holding a plank for 30-60 seconds in each set is enough to reap the benefits.
Moreover, Holding the plank for any more than 1 minute is also argued to be pointless. However, it’s crucial that you are holding the plank in proper form.
Speaking to Global News, Personal trainer Amanda Thebe said “By simply holding a plank position without creating adequate tension throughout the whole body, they are not getting the full plank benefits.”
She adds the plank itself is performed under total tension. “That means from the top of your head to the tips of your toes,” she says. “What is sometimes referred to as a hard-style plank, your body should tremble under the tension you are creating, so that it is basically impossible to hold this for more than 15 to 20 seconds.”
According to professor and spine specialist Stuart McGill, Ph.D., the ideal duration to hold a plank for, is just 10 seconds.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor Stuart McGill, said: “There’s no utility to this kind of activity other than claiming a record.”
Benji Tiger, a personal trainer told The Independent: “You should be holding a plank for 30 seconds to a minute.”
So, When it comes down to holding a plank, It’s better if you keep your form in check while holding it for 3×30 seconds, rather than beating your previous record.
You are holding a plank for just 3×30 seconds( < 2 minutes). However, assuming your form is also proper, you are doing this exercise to its utmost perfection.
Benefits If You Plank Every Day For 2 Minutes
Since just 2 minutes are enough to properly perform this exercise, one can argue that it won’t produce many results, as it’s too easy to do.
However, the list of benefits this particular exercise will give you is long despite being easier to do in comparison to other core exercises.
If you plank every day for just 2 minutes (3 sets of 30-second hold):
- Your core strength will increase: Plank engages and strengthens all major core muscle groups (the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, multifidus, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm)
- Your posture will improve significantly: By holding a plank regularly, your abdominal muscles will strengthen, which will improve your balance (a strong core helps in keeping you stable and upright). Improved balance and strong abdominal muscles will improve your overall posture. A good posture will make you appear more confident and healthy.
- Improved Mood: If you have a desk job, you may know how it feels when you have completed a long shift, spending multiple hours at the same desk looking at the screen; Your back is hurting from all the hunching, your legs feel stiff, and all there is left is just tension covering every inch of your body. However, by doing a plank, you can strengthen and target all these muscle groups helping you release stress and tension, which will improve your mood.
- Boost in Metabolism: By doing a plank every day for 2 minutes, you will burn more calories doing plank than any other abdominal exercise. You will also be targeting some of the largest muscles in the body, which will translate into a faster metabolism, helping you burn even more calories.
Is Plank Enough to Lose Belly Fat?
Performing a plank for 1-2 minutes is enough to strengthen your core muscles and target some of the largest muscles in the body. However, By performing just plank, you are not burning enough calories to lose belly fat.
If you are trying to lose belly fat, you need a more vigorous workout routine and a strict diet plan. Depending upon how much weight you need to lose, your diet and training routine will vary.
If you need to drop more than 10-20 pounds, then you should consider performing cardio and a few more abdominal exercises along with following the keto diet.
If everything else has failed for you, chances are keto can help you out. Last year (2020), I managed to lose around 24.5 pounds in 47 days using keto.
For those who don’t know what keto is, It’s a low-carb diet with a moderate amount of protein(75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs). The diet works by depleting the body of its sugar reserves which result in the breakdown of fats for energy.
Molecules called ketones are formed in the body as fuel. When the body burns fat, it results in weight loss. The effectiveness of keto has been proven in a lot of studies.
A study on the ketogenic diet even suggests that people who followed the keto diet lost 2.2 times more weight than people on a low-calorie and low-fat diet.
Moreover, Multiple studies and anecdotal evidence verify the effectiveness of a low-carb and ketogenic diet for fat loss, particularly in the abdominal section.
And yes, it will work perfectly for you even if you are over 40. On the flip side, You may be surprised to know that keto is considered one of the best diets for adults due to its unique health benefits.
To follow keto, you have to plan your meals by dividing your calories in such a way that you consume 5-10% calories from carbs, 20-30% calories from protein, and 60-70% calories from fat.
By dividing your calories in this way, you will get into ketosis within the first few days. If you’re not in ketosis within 1-2 weeks then, chances are your diet plan contains hidden carbs. In that case, this article on how to get into ketosis fast can help.
Beginners most often commit small mistakes while creating their meal plans that harm their health and results. So, stay extra vigilant while creating your meal plan.
However, The best & fastest way to lose weight with the keto diet is under the guidance of a nutritionist as they can help you in planning your meals, avoiding nutrient deficiencies, and maintaining ketosis properly.
So, for best results, I would recommend you to consult a nutritionist, or If you are like me and consider visiting a nutritionist an unnecessary hassle, then you can get a custom keto diet meal plan from here.
This diet plan will be tailored to your weight loss goals. It will help you in avoiding nutrient deficiencies, maintaining ketosis, losing weight, and preparing healthy meals.
Moreover, This custom diet plan will also respect your food preferences and will be created based on the expertise of certified nutritionists, personal trainers, and chefs.
How to Do a Plank?
- Start in a push-up position
- Bend your elbows until your forearms are on the floor with your shoulder is aligned with your elbow and your arms are parallel to your body.
- While keeping your abs tight, Hold the position for 30-60 seconds
The best thing about this exercise is that you don’t have to spend much time performing it. Just a few minutes/day can translate into extraordinary core strength and muscle growth.
However, you need to make sure that you are performing the plank with the proper form. And if you have back injuries, you should consult a physician before attempting it.
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