The Plank Fitness Test
The Plank Test, also known as the Prone Bridge Test, is a simple fitness test of core muscle strength, and can also be used as a fitness exercise for improving core strength. The aim of this test is to hold an elevated plank position for as long as possible.
purpose: The plank test measures the control and endurance of the back/core stabilizing muscles.
equipment required: flat and clean surface, stopwatch, recording sheets, pen.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender and test conditions. Perform a standard warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: The aim of this test is to hold an elevated position for as long as possible. Start with the upper body supported off the ground by the elbows and forearms, and the legs straight with the weight taken by the toes. The hip is lifted off the floor creating a straight line from head to toe. As soon as the subject is in the correct position, the stopwatch is started. The head should be facing towards the ground and not looking forwards. The test is over when the subject is unable to hold the back straight and the hip is lowered.
scoring: The score is the total time completed. The table below is just a rough guide to scores for both males and females created by Topend Sports. See the references below for more detailed norms. In 2020, 62-year-old former US Marine George Hood set the world planking record with a time of eight hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds.
|Excellent||> 6 minutes|
|Very Good||4-6 minutes|
|above average||2-4 minutes|
|below average||30-60 seconds|
|very poor||< 15 seconds|
advantages: this test is simple to perform, with minimal costs and can be self-administered.
disadvantages: the determination of when failure occurs is a subjective measurement.
- Strand, S. L., Hjelm, J., Shoepe, T. C., & Fajardo, M. A. (2014). Norms for an isometric muscle endurance test. Journal of human kinetics, 40, 93–102.
- Bohannon RW, Steffl M, Glenney SS, Green M, Cashwell L, Prajerova K, Bunn J. The prone bridge test: Performance, validity, and reliability among older and younger adults. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018 Apr;22(2):385-389.
- Side Ramp fitness test — hold the side-ramp position for as long as you can.
- Isometric Push-Up Hold Test — hold the lowered 'down' push-up position for as long as possible.
- Isometric Push-Up Test — hold the raised push-up position for up to 40 seconds.
- Isometric Back Strength test — hold a horizontal position while hanging over the edge of a bench for a set time period.
- Trunk Stability Push-Up Test — push up from the ground while keeping the body straight with no sagging.
- Push-Up (Seated) — extend the arms and raise the body out of a chair, and hold this position for as long as possible (part of the Brockport Protocol).
- There is a similar fitness exercise called the Plank and the Side Bridge
- Other Strength Endurance Tests