The Trick To Nailing — & Holding — Your Plank

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
There's nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, right? A new study suggests that it might be just what you need to power through one of the most popular (and, well, draining) workout poses: the plank.

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In order to see how the influence of others affected workouts, researchers divided 68 participants into two groups. They were both told to hold a plank position for as long as they could, rest, then return to their plank. One group did this without interruption, while the other group was told during their rest that 80% of people with similar strength held their second plank for 20 more seconds than their first.

After timing the groups' second plank, researchers found that knowing about their peers' performance increased the second group's hold time by 5% — and many reported feeling more confident. Meanwhile, the group that hadn't been told anything actually held their second plank for less time than their first, with hold times dropping by 18%.

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The researchers clarified that more work needs to be done to see if comparing others' abilities to your own actually works for general workouts or healthy habits. But if you're trying to power the last few minutes of workout, it might be worth checking out the girl on the elliptical in front of you and saying to yourself, "I can outlast her for sure."

Click through to Shape for more clever workout tips.
(Shape)

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