If you think that sit-ups are the fastest way to get a six pack, the doctors at Harvard Medical School have news for you: this classic exercise is not as effective as you think.
They recommend to make “planks” instead of “belly presses”. In a plank position, you are supporting the ground with your hands and feet, as if you were making a support. You can find more details about the research at the Harvard Medical School Health Report called “Core Exercises” .
Unlike sit-ups, which only claim your abdominal muscles, Planks not only train belly but also back muscles. If you want to train your core (the stabilization of the body center) – especially the muscles that give you a six pack – you must claim all these muscles.
“Sit-ups or crunches only require a few muscle groups,” writes the authors of the Harvard Healthbeat newsletter, which summarizes the most important results. “Through dynamic movement patterns, a good core training helps to train all the muscles that you use every day.”
Ordinary crunches may also overstretch your body, including your back, which is pressed against the ground. And when you move your body up into the sit-up position, certain back muscles, the so-called hip flexors, work. If these are too much stress, they can cause pain in the lower spine.
Are you ready to try Planks?
In the next step you should tighten your belly muscles and put on your toes to tighten and lift your body. Keep your arms on the ground. From head to toe, your body must be a straight line. Hold this position for one minute.
You can increase the duration the longer you train. At some point, you should not lean on your forearms but on your hands (as in the photo). I wish you success!