Ask Levi: Should I Stop Exercising If I Start Shaking?

Today’s question is about exercising and what to do if you get worn out or start shaking during an exercise…

I’m really proud of myself for sticking to exercising; especially the plank. I started at 3 times a day for 30 seconds each and I’ve now moved up to 5 times a day and for a minute each. This exercise is very demanding of my body, but not too strenuous. I get to the point where my body is shaking and then I stop. I’ve read on the Internet that you should stop if your body is shaking. Is that true? I’ve always heard the cliche “no pain, no gain” and figured it applied to this situation.

Shaky Stan

Hi Stan,

Good job with the plank progressions! Stick with it and you should see continued progress.

With most isometric holds (plank, chair, etc.,) you may shake a bit. It’s natural.

In the case of the plank, a little shaking is a good thing. It shows that you’re pushing yourself. As long as you are maintaining proper form, there is no reason to stop.

Now, if you’re shaking and your hips are dropping to the floor and you’re grinding your teeth, that’s a different story! In that case, you need to stop immediately. But if you can hold the position for a little while longer after you start shaking a bit, you’ll make more progress.

The key to any exercise is to stop working before your form deteriorates. If you continue to exercise but with bad form, at best you’ll develop bad habits, and at worst, you’ll seriously injure yourself. (This applies to weight lifting as well as running and cycling.)

For example, let’s say your arms start shaking while you’re doing a bench press or shoulder press. Stop! If your arms give out, you could drop the weight on your neck! That’s not something you want!

If you’re doing the plank and you start shaking too much, you just kneel down. No biggie.

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