Like most fitness enthusiasts, you probably ask yourself questions like, “Can I bench press 300 pounds if I train hard enough?”
Similar to that question, we have a slightly more interesting one: 1-minute plank is equivalent to how many push-ups?
The short answer is that for every minute you can hold a plank, you should be able to do at least 15 regular push-ups.
However, the true value can vary because multiple factors play a role. Let’s look at them.
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Why the Answer Isn’t as Clear as We Would Like
While the high plank and classic push-up share a similar starting position, the two exercises are inherently different and have unique objectives.
The classic plank is an isometric exercise that forces you to maintain a challenging position and build whole-body stability and core strength.
In contrast, push-ups are a dynamic movement where trainees leverage their body weight to develop their chest, shoulders, triceps, and serratus anterior.
Even if you have a strong core and can hold the plank for a good time, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can do dozens of push-ups in one go. You still need chest, shoulder, and tricep strength for those.
The Benefits of Planks for the Push-Up
Planks are one of the most popular movements today for good reasons. First, the exercise develops core stability, which boosts your performance on many other movements, including bodyweight activities like pull-ups and push-ups.
A strong core makes it easier to maintain the correct position and keep your spine in a healthy, neutral position. In contrast, midsection weakness can lead to excessive lower back arching, which, over time, can lead to nagging aches.
Second, the plank strengthens the chest, shoulders, triceps, and serratus anterior to some degree. These muscles must still engage to keep you in position, even if you don’t move your body up and down. (1)
The only problem is that the plank doesn’t strengthen these muscles through a range of motion; it only prepares them to keep you in position at the top––when your arms are straight.
To strengthen the chest, shoulders, and triceps through the full range of motion, you need to do push-ups. Start with knee push-ups if regular ones feel too difficult and gradually progress to classic, decline, and even weighted push-ups.
Should You Do Planks If You Want to Boost Your Push-up Numbers?
Now that we’ve covered the main question of ‘1-minute plank is equivalent to how many push-ups?’, let’s look at another point of interest:
Can the plank boost your push-up numbers?
Well, yes and no. Yes, because the plank strengthens your core, which allows you to easily maintain the correct position and keep your spine neutral. A stable body improves power transfer, leading to better performance. (2)
No, because as discussed above, the plank doesn’t strengthen your chest, shoulders, triceps, and serratus anterior through the complete range of motion. For that, you need specificity in the form of push-ups and other ‘push’ movements like the bench press and shoulder press.
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- Anatomy, thorax, serratus anterior muscles – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.).
Neutral spine. Neutral Spine – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.).