Harvard Doctors Say Planks Are Better Than Sit-ups

Harvard Doctors Say Planks Are Better Than Sit-ups

Sit-ups are so 2017.

If you're looking to tone your entire core and work your way to six-pack abs, the plank is the one move you should nail, the physicians at Harvard Medical School say. So the next time you get ready to roll out a yoga mat and lie on your back, take the reverse approach and hold yourself on your hands and toes in a pre-push-up position.

Unlike crunches, which target only your abdominal muscles, planks recruit several groups of muscles along your sides, front, and back. And if you want a strong core — especially the kind that would give you six-pack-like definition across your abs — you need to challenge all of these muscles, researchers said in a Harvard Medical School health report called "Core Exercises."

"Sit-ups or crunches strengthen just a few muscle groups," according to Harvard's Healthbeat newsletter, which summarizes the report's takeaways. "Through dynamic patterns of movement, a good core workout helps strengthen the entire set of core muscles you use every day."

Why planks are superior for core strength

plank woman fitness gym exercise workout

Though sit-ups are a good basic move to help tone your abdominal muscles, planks are less likely to cause injury and are better for building a stronger core.

When you lie down to do a sit-up, your back gets pushed against the floor. When you pull your body up into a crunch, you're also putting strain on a group of muscles called the hip flexors, which run from your thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in your lower back. When they get tight, they can yank on your lower spine, causing pain or discomfort in your lower back.

And just like crunches, planks don't require a single piece of equipment, meaning you can do them virtually anywhere...

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Content is written by Erin Brodwin

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