I wish someone would’ve taught me how to do this basic exercise long ago. It seems easy, but the subtleties are important, and planks are often performed incorrectly. When executed with proper form, they’ll be the only core exercise you’ll need. In fact, the only time I use situps or crunches with clients is if they are an athlete of a specific sport. (For example, an MMA fighter can often find himself on his back, working against aggressive resistance, and crunches can be useful in that kind of training.)
But most of us need to train our core as an anti-flexor, anti-extender and anti-rotator—a stabilizer, in other words. Planks are excellent for this—and better yet, you can do them anywhere, because all you need is your body weight. Dialing in your form and holding it perfectly for 2 minutes will help your posture and aid you in your other lifts. Staying tight and stabilizing is a critical part of lifting weights.
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