Let me be the first person to say….I am not a big fan of planking challenges or any routine that asks to hold a plank for anything longer than 45 seconds.
A couple reasons being:
1) You can benefit greatly from holding a plank for less time with more intensity.
2) It is boring. There are too many great variations of planks to challenge you in different ways to simply just work on holding a plank for minutes on end.
If you are holding a plank for more than 45 seconds and feel like you could hang out forever in that position, notice if you are putting more pressure on your shoulder joints, elbows, toes, and taking less focus off the core (the abdomen, low back, glutes). Training in a neutral spine (aka plank) is one of the safest ways to increase core stability, where you are neither flexing, extending or rotating the spine you are just working to resist movement .
However I think you can bump up the intensity with the following tips, and plank in a much more efficient and effective way.
Right now, get on the floor and hold the plank shown in the picture for 15 seconds. If for any reason it hurts do not do it. Then rest.
Now try it again and think of the following.
—-> Don’t move at all in your plank but think of your elbows and toes pulling toward one another. Keep a neutral spine. If you feel a little shaking, you are doing it right.
—->Pull your shoulder blades back and down slightly. This often helps take tension out of the neck and shoulders.
—>Think of your core “bracing.” Bracing as if someone is punching you in the stomach and it automatically tightens. You are neither pulling the belly button in nor coming out of neutral alignment.
—->Engage your butt. Squeeze those butt cheeks. This will help take pressure off the low back.
Try incorporating these tips and holding a plank for 15 seconds and resting for 15 seconds for 2 minutes. Once you build your endurance (which is usually fairly quickly) you can progress to 30 seconds.
How to challenge yourself more?
Instead of holding your plank longer, reduce your base of support as shown below.
These are just a couple options you can use to increase the challenge of a plank without holding it longer. Always choose good form over how long you can hold a plank.