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Straight talk on planking

November 13, 2019

About the Author

photo of Matthew Solan

Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Matthew Solan is the executive editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. He previously served as executive editor for UCLA Health’s Healthy Years and as a contributor to Duke Medicine’s Health News and Weill Cornell Medical College’s … See Full Bio
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November 26, 2019

Is there anyone who should not plank? Any certain spine conditions? Thanks

November 25, 2019

Mixing a set of normal planks with side planks adds an extra dimension to the workout. This has been good for my lower back issues. M

Kathy Schroth
November 25, 2019

I got costochondritis (inflammation of rib cartilage that can mimic a heart attack) from too much planking-especially side plank versions, so don’t push too hard if you are carrying any extra weight. Women are especially prone to this condition, and cartilage can’t be strengthened.

Neil Wolkodoff, PhD
November 25, 2019

While I feel the plank is a beneficial exercise, there is more to core health than this one exercise.

Successful core training should involve static movements (like the plank), basic exercises like an oblique crunch on a fitball and functional movements like medicine ball tosses. Those reflect the demands on our core in a much more balanced way. If you rotate through these types of exercises for the core, your program will yield amazing results

Brock Murdoch
November 25, 2019

I do planks for about a minute and a half. Also, a terrific stomach exercise is to lie on your back. lift your legs about six inches off the floor, and hold your legs up for a minute or a little longer.

H.J. Hannah
November 15, 2019

For many years, the plank has been my go to exercise. I am a caregiver and time is limited. I can sneak in a plank without changing into workout clothes. I am a Health and Wellness Professional and staying active is vital to our health.
Sometimes, if I am heating water for tea, the microwave becomes my timer.
I love the feeling when I am finished. I feel stronger.
Thanks for the encouragement.

November 15, 2019

good use of your time!

November 14, 2019

I started planking and find it effective.
However, now I can easily plank for more than two minutes and I am not feeling any effectiveness.
What is the total time one should plank everyday.

Poul Winther
November 16, 2019

There is no correct time. The problem is the misconception that planking is an excercise in the first place. It is not, it’s static and I strongly recommend doing some real exercise instead. Even if you only do a variety of push-up hand positions you are still planking at tge same time, but at least you are elevating your pulse rate too instead of just wasting your time.

November 26, 2019

A trainer reminded me that you must really engage your core and one way to do that is to draw your feet and elbows towards each other. Don’t move them, but apply pressure and you will find that this creates more engagement in the plank.

November 14, 2019

If forearm planks with leg lifts In proper form become too easy, how do you increase the challenge further, other than extending the hold time, which you indicated should be up to only 2 minutes.

November 25, 2019

Elevate your feet (using a bench or chair). Can also rock back and forth using your toes as a pivot point and this seems to engage the core muscles more effectively

November 14, 2019

Very informative. Didn’t know about not going beyond 2 min. Do you recommend one 2 min set which I do now or several shorter duration sets back to back?

George d. Kurie
November 14, 2019

Which is better: forearm plank or push up position? I always thought the push up position was ‘harder’, but you seem to imply the opposite.

Jose Luksamana Jr
November 13, 2019

I like this core exercises to prevent my back pain from coming back. When doing my yoga practice, I do boat pose, straight arm plank, side planks and back plank, 15 breaths each.

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