Effects of High Intensity Plank Exercise on Physical Fitness and Immunocyte Function in a Middle-Aged Man: A Case Report

Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 Aug 20;57(8):845. doi: 10.3390/medicina57080845.


Background and Objectives: Although the plank exercise is difficult to perform for untrained people, it does not require money, special equipment, or much space. However, it is not known how plank exercises affect physical fitness and immunocyte function. This study analyzed the changes in physical fitness and immune cells of a middle-aged man after performing 4 weeks of elbow plank exercise. Materials and Methods: Elbow plank exercise was performed for approximately 20 min (resting time, around 10 min) a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks. The intensity was checked daily with ratings of perceived exertion (RPE). When the participant reached an intensity of RPE 15, RPE 16, and RPE 17 of the RPE 20 scale, 1 min of rest was given before repeating the process. Results: Compared with the pre-values, (1) all the physical fitness factors (muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and cardiopulmonary fitness) were increased after 4 weeks; (2) body weight, skeletal muscle mass, and the basal metabolic rate were increased, whereas body fat mass and fat percentage were decreased; and (3) although the variables of complete blood count were changed positively, some were not. Specifically, CD3, CD8, and CD56 were increased, whereas CD4, CD4/CD8, and cytotoxicity were decreased. These results show that elbow plank exercise can improve all factors of physical fitness and improve some of the immunocyte functions of a middle-aged man. Conclusions: This study confirmed that, although the elbow plank exercise of vigorous intensity for 4 weeks improved physical fitness, it was not effective in improving some immunocyte functions. Therefore, the exercise intensity of plank exercises for improving immunocyte functions should be reconsidered.

Keywords: CD56; cytotoxicity; muscle mass; physical fitness; plank exercise.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Physical Fitness*