Crunches are one of the most common workouts for the abdomen. However, crunches might not be the best way to strengthen the core as well as build muscles. Core training is not only about having a body that’s ideal for the beach.
When you work out your core in an effective manner, you tend to maintain your body’s mobility, bring down injuries, and boost the overall stability of your physique. In case you are focusing more on sit-ups and crunches, hoping to develop a six-pack, it might prove to be futile. So what’s the way out? Go for planks. Planks can be a great substitute for crunches and help you achieve better stability and core strength. How? Read on to know in detail.
How Should You Perform Planks?
Performing a plank is not tough. However, holding your body at a fixed position is not a cakewalk at all. While you are performing a high plank, initiate from a pushup position. Make sure that you keep your toes and palms fixed on the ground. Also, don’t forget to keep your core tight and your back straight.
If your back or bottom is saggy while you are doing a plank, your lower back might have to bear the pain after you are done. Never fail to put your body in the right position always. Never allow your head to sag. As for the low plank, lower your body down to the level of your forearms and maintain an identical position and form, just like in a high plank.
Planks Tend To Activate Muscles
Why are planks more effective than crunches? A primary reason might be the fact that crunches and sit-ups can put your back under pressure. When your spine is being pushed against the floor while you are performing crunches, it is pretty normal for you to get lower back pain in the later stages.
In addition to that, planks do not put only your core to work. It pushes your entire body to function. Right from your arms, abs, to your legs, almost every part of your body gets to work while you do planks. Therefore, planks can be an all-encompassing exercise that is beneficial for the body.
Planks Improve The Body’s Posture
If you sit continuously for hours at your workplace, the chances are that you will get back pain. But, you need not worry, as planks can help you heal. Planks strengthen your back, shoulders, neck, chest, and abs.
Therefore, it becomes easy for you to keep the shoulders in a backward position and place your lower back in a neutral position, standing or sitting. This is what a good posture is all about. Planks accentuate the isometric strength of the core muscles. This keeps you away from hunching while you sit or stand for a longer duration. Hunching is a very common trait in people who cannot mobilize their bodies while working for a long time.
Planks Increase Flexibility
You might not feel it, but planks are indeed very effective in stretching your body’s lower half. When you hold your body at a fixed position for a considerable period, your hamstrings and feet’ arches lengthen automatically. That makes this workout a dual strength and stretch one. When you perform side planks, you focus on your sides, thus stretching them.
Planks Can Be Modified
The classic plank is one of the most effective workouts. However, you can modify the planks according to the requirement of your body. When you drop to the forearms while performing planks, it is a modification. If you increase the duration, you stay in that position. You are maximizing the workout.
Start holding the pose initially for 15 to 30 seconds, and then slowly increase the duration with time. The maximum time limit is preferably 2 minutes. In case you wish to maximize your athletic performance, repeated holds of 10 seconds might be best for you.
Side planks, arm and leg extensions, and knee touches are all different kinds of planks that you can try out to boost the core strength. You can incorporate them into your daily workout regime. However, make it a point to have a professional guide you always. That way, you could avoid getting into accidents or pulling a muscle. Remember, workouts can do more harm than good if you do not do it right!