Here's How Long You Actually Need To Hold Your Plank

The primary benefit of planking is a stronger core, including your stomach, back, hips, pelvis, and butt. A weak core can cause a slew of health problems, including back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as poor posture. You may even experience sore hips and knees (via Harvard Health Publishing). Planks are a great exercise you can do every day if you want to. Work breaks are also a great time to squeeze in a plank. 

There's a lot of information out there about how good planks are for you — but how long should you hold a plank? Doug Sklar, a certified personal trainer, told The Healthy that holding a plank for 60 seconds three different times is best and will help you reap the most rewards. But you have to have good form. If you can't hold the plank that long, that's okay. You can work up to it — it does take practice. 

How to do a plank with proper form

Avoid injuring yourself by practicing proper form during a plank. Poor form when planking, like dropping your hips, can cause back pain, says Doug Sklar. Essentially, you'll want to imagine a straight line from your head to your ankles.

Start by lying face down with your forearms on your mat. Keep your feet together with your legs extended and toes on the mat. Push yourself off of the mat, so just your forearms and toes are holding you up. Engage your abs. You can have your hands together or palms down. Keep your body in a straight line. Don't let your hips sag or come up too high. Focus on a spot in front of you and hold for 60 seconds or as long as you can. Don't forget to breathe! Take steady breaths throughout the plank. Work toward a total of three 60-second planks.