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I understand that for any given exercise, the rep range for power is 1-3, strength is around 5, hypertrophy is around 8, and 12+ is for endurance. How does this related to planks?

E.g. how long should I be able to hold a plank position before adding weights? 30 seconds? 1 minute? 2 minutes?

4 Answers 4

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First off, you're referring to reps, but the plank is an isometric exercise. For that reason, a single plank might better be seen as a set.

Another view I'd like to offer is that the actual time you do the plank might be more suited to be likened to reps. Rough example of what I mean:

  • 120s bodyweight plank would improve mainly endurance -> low intensity (like high reps, low weight)
  • 10s plank with 30kg of weight would improve mainly strength -> high intensity (like low reps, high weight)

So since you're going for looks/hypertrophy you should probably be able to hold the plank for ~1min before you add weight. Otherwise you'd train more for short-term strength.

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If you can do a standard plank for 1 minute. It's time to make it harder. Move to a Swiss ball. Put your feet on an upside down bosu. Lots of options...

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The standard measurement for fitness is 60 - 90 seconds. If you can consistently perform plank (with good form) for this duration without breaking a sweat, it's time to increase the pressure.

If you can really perform 120 seconds without breaking a sweat, it's time to bring out the big guns:

  • Adding weights.
  • Using instability balls.
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I've seen the minute figure pretty consistently. What to do next depends on who you talk to, but a lot of people seem to be suggesting dynamic plank techniques where you start in a plank or plank-like position and transition back and forth using different movements.

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