Crunches vs Plank Exercises

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Crunch versus Plank exercises
The effect of Core-Stability and the advantages of it for runners, cyclists and other athletes are well known. It still amazes me that when in need of time most athletes skip these workouts. I wonder why…. It only takes you 10 to 15 minutes to get a proper workout. I am sure you can find 15 minutes somewhere. Core-Stability is all about your core; abs and back exercises. Or as I tend to tell my athletes all your muscles between head and hips. Exercises like plank, side plank, push ups etc are the basics of Core Stability. Still a lot of athletes are performing 20, 30 to 100 crunches, but are they effective? I agree it all depends on how well you perform these crunches and your focus…. but yes there are more effective exercises than crunches. A study of Pennsylvania State University, that recently was published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, shows if you want to get a strong core you better replace your crunches and perform exercises as the plank.

Planks and crunches both work core muscles, however, the plank uses more muscles overall than the crunch does. These two core exercises use different types of muscle contractions which can shape the muscle differently. The plank is superior to the crunch in that it uses more muscle groups. This is true if you perform it correctly. Perform the plank on the balls of your feet and with your pelvis tilted downward to actively solicit 20 muscles in an isometric contraction. In isometric exercise, the muscles are held in contraction without motion in your joints. The benefit of isometric contractions is that you tone without bulking. This exercise provides you with strength in your legs, buttocks, back, stomach, shoulders, and chest. Most importantly, strengthening your core stabilizes your spine, and your spine's health is vital to your health.

Crunches solicit only six main core muscles of the abdomen and legs, seven if you are able to scoop your navel to your spine...
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