Have you ever wondered how long it takes to hold a plank and get results? Without having to stay in the pose for longer than you have to? We do too. We’ll get into the details, but let’s not forget the important part: There are some factors you need to take into consideration. First: This is why core exercises should be performed with the classic move.
Why Core Strength is Key
The American Council on Exercise states that the core muscles are the erector Spinae (or your back extenders), the internal and external obliques, obliques, and obliques. These muscles help you bend to one side and the transverse abdominis.
According to Annie Mulgrew a founding instructor of CityROW in New York City as well as a NASM-certified personal coach, core muscle strength is crucial for proper body function.
She explains that core strength is a source of stability and balance. It also improves one’s ability to perform everyday tasks. Your core strength will allow you to move better, breathe better, and perform at a higher level.
A 2019 study found that core training was effective in improving runners’ balance and endurance. and other studies have also found that core strengthening is a key factor in chronic back pain reduction. Mulgrew says, “The more strong your core, the less strain [your] lower back and knees will put on your shoulders.”
The Benefits of Planks
It doesn’t matter if you do sit-ups or crunches; it all comes down to which form of core-strengthening suits you best. Mulgrew says so. Planks are still her favorite for one reason: They provide the best bang for your buck.
She explains that planking is more of a total-body exercise than a crunch that focuses mainly on the rectus abdominals. Planking works the hips, hips, and glutes as well as the legs and upper back. It is an isometric exercise that works the deep stabilizing muscles. Sit-ups engage the same muscles (hips, lower back, and glutes) but not as heavily as planking.
Additionally, if you have an injury to your lower back or neck, crunches and sit-ups can cause more damage. A plank, however, can strengthen these muscles without adding strain.
Mulgrew points out that there are many abdominal-focused exercises. Mulgrew says that you could compare a crunch, sit-up, or deadlift to a biceps curl (an isolated exercise) and a plank or plank to a deadlift or squat a compound exercise.