Core Work – Sit Ups Vs Planks

Recently all of us at HealthChek have noticed a shift away from the traditional sit up exercises that have dominated the fitness industry for the last 15 years or so towards more plank type of exercises. But what is the reason for this and why are so many of the top coaches switching from exercises that flex the spine to variations of the plank?

The reason goes back to the days when scientists learnt about the body by examining corpses. Through their analysis of these corpses they concluded that the purpose of our core muscles was to flex the spine. This is exactly what you do when you do a sit up or any other type of movement that rounds your low back and as a result these exercises were said to be the most effective way to condition your abdominal muscles.

However, your core muscles play a far more critical role than merely flexing your spine. The main job of your core muscles is to stabilize your spine so your abs are actually designed to do the opposite of what happens when you do sit up, crunches, etc prevent flexion of your spine.

So what we have learnt is that if you want better results from your core workout focus on stability through different plank variations rather than performing endless sit ups and crunches.

Here is a sample core workout that all of us at HealthChek have found really effective

Please note that before attempting a stability workout like this you should have full strength in your lower abs, obliques and upper abs. If you suffer from low back pain or you have had abdominal surgery. This workout is NOT for you! Consult a C.H.E.K Practitioner who can accurately assess your core strength and develop an effective core program to improve the co ordination and strength of your abdominals which will progress you safely to this workout.

Tags: core conditioning, fitness tips, Guernsey Personal Training

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