When it comes to fitness routines, core workouts are highly dreaded and often valued for all the wrong reasons. Visions of a superhero six-pack might inspire you to start doing crunches, but it’s not long before the effort and burn might persuade you to just wear a T-shirt to the beach instead. Core training shouldn’t be done just to get screen ready abs — which, let’s be honest, even the actors in movies don’t really have.
Core exercises help your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen get stronger and work together, leading to better balance and stability. These aren’t areas most people even think about, but without balance and stability, even walking becomes a challenge. It’s easy to overlook the importance of balance until you don’t have it anymore. This is why it’s crucial to start your core training now, and not after you’ve taken your first fall at age 70.
What’s the most effective ab workout?
When it’s time to work on that core strength, you have two options: planks or crunches. These are the most popular core training moves, and while both are beneficial, they don’t produce the same results.
• Planks: A static hold that targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, erector spinae, glutes, hip flexors, quads, and deltoids.
• Crunches: A dynamic move that engages the rectus abdominis and the obliques, providing isolated conditioning.
As stated above, both crunches and planks are valuable assets in core training, but research from the Les Mills fitness program found that when you compare the moves, planks offer greater muscle activation. This means if you want to see the best results for sports performance, rehab, or overall fitness, planks are your best friend. The exercise is simple, which also means that you can do planks anywhere, including in your office after lunch or while binge-watching Netflix on the weekends.
This doesn’t mean you should stop doing crunches or that crunches can’t help anymore. If you have weak wrists or shoulders, crunches are a good alternative to planks. However, if you have to choose one and you’re looking for the best method to increase balance, stability, and strength, you can’t go wrong with planks.
Thanks for reading,
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