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While accepting her Icon award at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, 71-year-old Cher not only celebrated the fact that she’s been able to have a career spanning more than 50 years, but that “I can do a five-minute plank, okay?”

Cher plank

According to Women’s Health, Cher said in 2010 that getting older, for her, has meant getting more serious about her workouts.

“You have to work twice as hard,” she told E! “You have to be in the gym all the time.”

When I heard that the entertainer is out here holding planks longer than some athletes, I was very much impressed, and also feeling the need to step my game up (I can do about 90 seconds before I start feeling like my insides are going to explode). But I was also left wondering how long is good enough when it comes to a plank? And by good enough, I mean a good sign of one’s stability.

A man broke a world record for the longest plank by holding one for eight hours. But some experts say that if you can hold a plank for a really, really long time, there’s a chance your form may not be as good as you think.

Physiotherapist Sarah Connors told the UK’s The Guardian years ago that a proper plank is one with your elbows directly under your shoulders, fists clasped. Your head, neck, back and legs should all be in a straight line. “The Plank is a position you will find difficult to hold if your core stability is poor, because you need to activate these muscles to keep the spine supported and the body in a straight line,” she said.

Connors said that if you hold your position under 30 seconds, your core strength requires some work. If you can last between 30 and 60 seconds, you’ve approached the average time. If you can go above 60 seconds, you have good core strength. Anything longer than that is great, as Connors said, “The longer the better.” You don’t have to go overboard each and every time you hold one, though.

But more than trying to beat anyone’s plank time, including a 71-year-old Oscar winner, you should want to improve your personal time as planks build muscular strength of everything from your core and hamstrings to arms and glutes, help you work on your waistline and improve your overall posture. Test your strength seeing how long you can hold one, and then try to improve your time each opportunity you have during a workout. One minute, let alone five minutes, is something to pat yourself on the back about.

Image via WENN 

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