K. A.Chase, C. E. Brigham, J. T. Peterson FACSM & S. C. Coste

Linfield College, McMinnville, OR

PURPOSE: Adequate strength of core musculature is critical for optimal physical performance and postural control. Currently, standards for core musculature strength and stability have not been established. This study sought to determine normative fitness measurements of core musculature endurance using the plank exercise. METHODS: 102 collegiate male and female participants (18-25 years of age, self-described athletes) were recruited. Participants were instructed in plank positioning; elbows bent at 90° directly below the shoulders, hands unclasped, 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. RESULTS: The mean time held in the plank position was 106.15 ± 49.52 and 117.66 ± 53.49 seconds for females and males, respectively. For females, quartiles showed that the 25th percentile was 73.5 seconds, the 50th percentile was 95 seconds, while the 75th percentile was 122.5 seconds. Quartiles for males were 84 seconds, 110 seconds and 135 seconds for the 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study provides normative values for the plank exercise that can be added to current fitness appraisal protocols to assess core muscular endurance. These data suggest that 1.58 min in females and 1.83 min in males (50th percentile values) could be considered average duration of the plank exercise for this age group. Future testing to include other age groups and levels of fitness will be undertaken to broaden the range of normative values available for fitness testing.

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