Abdominal exercises are the most demanded. Everybody wants a flat stomach but most don’t like crunches, despite their place in most abdominal workouts. Well there’s good news! You never have to do another crunch again.
The best move for flat, pulled-in abs is the plank. Here are three reasons a plank is more beneficial than a crunch:
1. The plank does more for your abdominal muscles.
To do a plank, get in push-up position and lower your arms so your elbows rest on the ground. Brace your abs in tight towards your back and engage your whole body by pressing your shoulders down your back and squeezing your legs together. Hold for 45 seconds and be careful not to arch your back or stick your butt in the air.
A plank is superior because it causes a natural bracing/engagement of all four of your abdominal muscles (the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques), whereas the crunch largely engages just one (rectus abdominis). In addition, the abdominals receive both strengthening as well as aspects of flexibility through the plank. The crunch is an isolated exercise, and it does its function well as a rectus abdominus strengthener. But it’s far from functional, and for most people, far from what is needed for a healthy balanced body.
2. The plank is a multi-tasking move.
Who does just one thing at time in life anymore? Why should your abs exercise be any different? A crunch only works your abdominal wall, while a plank is a total body exercise that also engages your core (abs & lower back), helps better your posture and works shoulder stabilization. Plus, you never know when you are going to need to support your own weight and lift yourself off the floor.
3. The plank better for your back and core.
A plank helps protect the back from problems that stem from sitting at a desk all day. It strengthens the abs and core, while crunches exacerbate lower back issues. Planks are ideal because they strengthen and stretch the body at the same time. With a lengthened back and engaged glutes, you are able to integrate your core stabilizers which are critical for a healthy back and core.