Daily Dose of Coach #243: Planks and Apples

You've heard the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Could the word "plank" be substituted for apple?

One of my clients sent me this article the other day and asked if I agreed. The article is, If You Can't Hold This Pose For 50 Seconds, You Might Be Prone To Serious Health Problems, by Dr. Jamie Schwandt.

Though the article was filled with many generalities about the "core" and planks. But, I did write back my client saying I agreed with 50 seconds as being a good baseline for a healthy individual to hold a plank. I also use the 2-minute full plank assessment I learned from Dan John as another plank baseline.

A plank is one of those exercises that is never going out of style. It's boring, just like an apple. But, the health and strength benefits make them worth doing on a consistent basis.

There's really no need to do these for more than a minute. Holding the plank for ridiculous times like 3-5 minutes is similar to adding plates to a box jump. It's just a pointless way to show off. In fact, 45 seconds is usually as high as I go in a training session unless I'm using it as an assessment.

Dr. Stuart Mcgill, author of The Back Mechanic , likes planks and side planks as non-negotiable exercises for those with low back pain. These exercises are "superior for their ability to spare the back while building muscular fitness and maintaining stability and control. They are able to prevent painful joint micro-movements for several hours. They also build endurance, an essential component in adding activities back into your lifestyle that previously caused pain."

Give it a try, see if you can hold a plank (with proper form) for 50 seconds. If not, adding these to your daily training regimen may improve you health, fitness and performance.