Hold That Yoga Plank Position for Good Core Strength

There is a lot of talk about the need for good core strength. But what are the norms for core strength so that you can compare yourself and know you are progressing. One study has attempted to set a marker.

Adequate strength of core musculature is a critical component in physical performance and postural control. Although there has been lots of talk about this importance there are currently no standards for core musculature strength and stability. This study sought to determine normative fitness measurements of core musculature endurance using the plank exercise.

Participants were 102 collegiate male and female participants (18-25 years of age, self-described athletes). Participants were instructed in plank positioning; elbows bent at 90° directly below the shoulders, feet placed hip width apart with ankles at 90° and pelvis tilted in the neutral position. After a 5 min warm-up, participants were told to maintain the plank position as long as possible until complete fatigue was reached. The test was terminated if proper form was broken. The total time held in proper plank position was recorded.


They found that the mean time held in the plank position was about 2 minutes for both females and males. 

In each of my yoga classes, I give my students a challenge pose. I decided to test this out with them. My students are not self described athletes. They are normal everyday people doing yoga. After one minute of being a plank pose, most could not continue. What this means is that a 2 minute in plank pose may be a reasonable marker as a goal for good core strength.


Chase, KA; Brigham, CE; Peterson, JT FACSM; and Coste, SC (2014) “FITNESS NORMS FOR THE PLANK EXERCISE,” International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8: Iss. 2, Article 14.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss2/14

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