Level Up Your Plank Workout: 11 Planks to Build Core Strength

When you were a kid, you probably did sit-ups for an ab workout. But is the sit-up the best ab exercise?

Source: Level Up Your Plank Workout: 11 New Planks That Build Core Strength

A lot of it is just variations that keep you in the same position – arm raises to the side or in front, the effect on the body is the same.

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Stop Doing Sit-Ups or Crunches and Do Planks Instead

…the sit-up (as well as the modified crunch) which is perhaps the longest-standing myth of health and physique. In some ways it makes sense: this thing we call ‘exercise’ is a relatively new phenomenon. For most of history our ancestors moved as part of their daily existence. Relegating movement to something we do for a concentrated hour or two a few times a week is still in its early phases—and, to be honest, will hopefully disappear if we’re able to better integrate movement into our lives, not just at the gym. There was bound to be a lot of trial and error. The crunch is an error.

Yet it persists. I can understand why: it burns, and people often confuse working out with burning. Ripping through a hundred sit-ups feels like it does something. In fact it does: it greatly increases your chance of a back injury.

Source: Why Are We Still Doing Crunches?

I guess there’s a reason there aren’t crunches or sit-ups in yoga? 😉

Planks Aren’t All That, So You Might As Well Do Push-Ups

Back in 2008 I was doing research for a story in Men’s Health when I came across a particular journal article that helped influence how many people train now their abs. The study revealed that planks activate significantly more of  your rectus abdominus (the six-pack muscles) than crunches. In fact, this particular study (which was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research) found that planks cause 100 percent activation of your six-pack, whereas crunches only led to 64 percent activation.

Source: Are Planks Overrated?

What? No Variety?

From the contents of the article it almost seems as though people who are fully capable of utilizing their abdominals for a proper plank ought to continue what they are doing…

The entire premise seems hinged on the anecdotal observation that people lack core abdominal strength. What really bothers me though is that rather than address the actual problem this coach is suggesting people just do push-ups instead.  Done correctly a push-up can be an excellent abdominal workout; but only if you’re able to engage your abdominals while you do them. …so essentially this person’s advice to people who lack strong abdominal strength is to do another workout that (to do properly) requires abdominal strength.  All they are going to get out of the push-up are some vanity muscles.

Another aspect that irritates me is the idea of picking specific yoga postures, considering that vinyasa/sun salutations incorporates a tricep pushup.  They could do with a little less cherry picking and ego for those who don’t want to be associated with yoga.

What to Do If Push-Ups Hurt Your Wrists

It’s hard to get stronger by doing planks and push-ups if your wrists can’t comfortably support your weight. Here are some strategies to work around those tight wrists and eventually improve your strength in them.

Source: What to Do If Push-Ups Hurt Your Wrists

Using something as a handle – kettle bell/etc – can really help.