Are You Holding Your Plank Too Long?

Plank exercises are a great way to tone and strengthen your entire body. They can help develop your core stability, while also engaging your quads and glutes. However, engaging in planks the wrong way can end up doing more harm than good (via Livestrong). In fact, one of the most common mistakes people make when planking is holding the position for too long.

Despite the lengthy plank challenges circulating on social media, there is no added benefit to holding your plank for longer increments of time. It won't help you burn more calories and it can actually lead to fatigue, which can cause your form to break down. "Forcing yourself to hold a plank for an excessive amount of time can put a lot of strain on your lower back," Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer, told Women's Health. "As fatigue sets in, the lower back may start to arch. This is where you put yourself at risk for injury."

How long should you hold a plank?

You now know why it's important to avoid holding your plank longer than necessary — but just exactly how long should you be holding it? While the precise amount of time you can hold a plank will depend on your strength and skill level, the goal is to hold it long enough to challenge yourself without breaking your form (via Byrdie). For most people, this is around 1-2 minutes.

"So, with a regular plank, there's a limit to how much we can accomplish in terms of strength since we're maxed out with just our body weight," Jenni Tarma, a yoga medicine therapeutic specialist and teacher on Yoga Medicine Online, told Byrdie. "Once you're holding a well-aligned plank for more than one-to-two minutes, you're arguably building endurance rather than strength specifically."

If this is too difficult for you, however, you can start off with shorter intervals, holding your plank for 20 to 30 seconds at a time until you can build up enough strength and endurance to hold them for longer periods. You may experience some soreness at first if you're just starting out, but this should fade with time and practice.