No, we’re not talking about planking… that’d just be ridiculous. What we’re referencing are those planks you probably did in gym class back in high school.
Crunches and sit-ups are the basis of nearly everyone’s workout. Generally, people feel the need to supplement their workout with these exercises because everyone wants toned abs, a six-pack or to lose a few inches off the waist. Now, working out for core is vital, but it might just be time to ditch those played-out moves in favor of the plank.
Both Harvard University and the US Navy are saying that sit-ups and crunches should be done away with because the plank “more accurately measures core strength and because it’s done by holding the body arrow straight while resting only on the toes and forearms it does not subject muscles to strain by motion.”
Crunches and sit-ups are pretty bad for your lower back. That’s because these movements involve spinal flexion (rounding your lower back to allow you to bend forward at the waist). And its this movement that can cause a herniated disc in your lower back. We’re not suggesting that crunches and sit-ups will definitely result in a herniated disc, but the mechanism they invoke can lead to one.
That’s just part of the reason why you should switch to planking… again, not the one that could make you go viral. Planks give you more of a workout by targeting more muscle groups without straining your lower back or spine. Planks are more natural for your body, whereas sit-ups and crunches force the spine into positions that it shouldn’t naturally be conditioned for.
Push-ups are another great alternative to sit-ups and crunches, as they mimic natural movement and alignment without harming your lower back. We put enough strain on that muscle group as it is with all the sitting we do at work, so do yourself a favor and plank for your good health.
And just remember, this isn’t me as a pirate chatting shit. This is Harvard and the US Navy, among others, giving you actual evidence as to why you should change up your routine.
The more you know!