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Planks Vs Crunches – Which Is More Effective For Core?

Madhura Mohan

Posted on November 06 2021

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n the year 2020, when there was an outbreak of a covid pandemic, the biggest challenge what fitness-conscious community faced was to hang on to fitness. Professionals who did work from home wrote their cry on our social media account to suggest some non-equipment-based simple workout routine for the bulgy bellies (that seemed like the most problematic area for most people then). And, we had you posted with 5 Core Exercises To Do Without Equipment. In that blog, we had mentioned the 2 popular core exercises, planks, and crunches. Today’s blog is much on the differentiation between the two workouts in terms of core muscle activation.

 

PLANK

Plank is an isometric exercise (exercise that involves muscle engagement without actual movement of the body). Planks look similar to the beginning of a pushup, but in plank, you use your arms only for stability purposes, it won’t involve bending of the arms.

 

HOW TO PERFORM PLANKS

Lie face down with your feet shoulder-width apart, and legs fully extended. Bend your elbows, have your forearms down, lift your knees off the mat.

Lift up your hips, squeeze your legs together, squeeze your glutes, draw your belly button in towards your spine and try to get a flat back.

Flatten out your body through the back, maintain a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 30-90 seconds.

 

PROPER FORM TECHNIQUE FOR DOING PLANKS

Your neck and head should be in line with the back, your elbows should be under shoulders, glutes squeezed.

The effectiveness of plank will be reduced if you keep your butt too high in the air. Don’t allow the midsection of your body to sink downward.

It’s important to watch out that your hands are in line with the shoulders.

 

MUSCLES TARGETED DURING PLANKS

Plank exercise targets muscles way beyond your abdominals. As you are squeezing in the hold and keeping yourself away from the floor, Planks works your core muscles, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, glutes, pectoralis major, erector spinae, hip flexors, quads, deltoids.

Plank exercise creates tension throughout the entire core as well as your legs and upper body.

 

PLANK BENEFITS

Helps achieve a higher level of muscle activation in the trunk.

Improves posture by strengthening the core and safeguarding the spinal position.

Improves muscle coordination, flexibility and trains your muscles to be more stable.

 

CRUNCHES

Crunches is a core workout, it’s basically a shortened sit-up, the movement is called crunch because you are essentially crunching your top abs into your bottom abs. The act involves the act of lifting your shoulder off the ground and squeezing your upper body in towards your legs.

 

HOW TO PERFORM CRUNCHES

Lie down on the floor facing up with your knees bent.

Put your hands behind your head, tighten abs, lift your upper body by pulling from your abs.

Your shoulders should be off the floor while crunching, return to the initial position.

 

    PROPER FORM & TECHNIQUE FOR DOING CRUNCHES

    If you place your hands behind your head, you may be tempted to pull forward on your head. To avoid this, keep your fingertips at your temples.

    Keep your chin tucked, your feet should be stationary during the entire move.

    Try to stay at 90-degree angle for as long as possible before going to the next step, and do not lay flat on the floor when you finish the move, your back should be arched a bit.

     

    MUSCLE TARGETED DURING CRUNCHES

    Crunches train your muscles in the pelvis, rectus abdominis, obliques, lower back.

     

    BENEFITS OF CRUNCHES

    Improves abdominal endurance.

    Effectively tones your abs and shreds the waistline.

     

    PLANKS VS CRUNCHES - DOES THE DIFFERENCE LIE ONLY IN THE FORM?

     

    Difference No.1 – Planks Vs Crunches

    Plank is an isometric workout which involves constant muscle activation and static holding of the spine (extension) during the exercise.

    Crunches involve dynamic movement of the body, active contraction of core muscles, and constant spine flexion.

     

    Difference No.2 – Planks Vs Crunches

    Planks target multiple groups of muscles in and around the core, stabilizing muscles in your hips and back.

    Crunches don’t highly engage the deep core muscles, it mainly engages the abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis, and the external obliques.

     

    Difference No. 3 – Planks Vs Crunches

    Planks are gentler on your back muscles, suitable for those with back pain and weak back. Not suitable for those who can’t take a lot of weight through their wrist or shoulders due to weakness, or injury.

     

    Crunches can add pressure to the lower spinal column and neck especially if not done correctly. Not suitable for those with back issues who want to improve their core muscles. If you have weak wrists or shoulders, training your core with crunches may be the best bet.

     

    Strengthening of muscles and toning the body requires variety, in this aspect both Planks & Crunches are clear winners…

     

    Both Planks and Crunches maintain tension, build strength and stability…just keep in mind that if you do the Crunches first, you’ll be pre exhausting your rectus abdominis which is going to make the Plank a bit more intense…

     

    Also read: Aerobic Vs Anaerobic Exercise - Know The Difference

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