Lifestyle

Are planks better than crunches to cut belly fat?

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A bulging belly is a problematic area for most people, especially those who spend most of the day sitting in front of a laptop.


Physical inactivity leads to the accumulation of visceral fat in the abdomen area, which increases the risk of heart diseases and other metabolic syndromes.

While many exercises help to target the muscles of this region, two that always top the list have to be crunches and planks.

Both engage the muscles of your abdomen, help you burn calories and shed extra fat from the mid-section.

Crunches and planks both find a place in workout routines specially designed for targeting the core muscles. But is one of them more effective than the other? Let’s find out!

Muscles targeted in crunches and benefits

Crunches are popular and an exercise which is much like sit ups. Only it is simpler to perform and can be done easily even by a beginner. This core exercise works specifically on your rectus abdominis and obliques the muscles along the sides of your stomach. If you want to particularly target your midsection, then this is one of the best exercises.

Performing this exercise regularly can help to flex your shoulders. Being core-centric exercise crunches provides stability to the body.

Muscles targeted in planks and benefits

Planks are an isometric exercise, but it engages the muscles of your entire body. Holding the plank pose activates everything from your abs and obliques to your glutes and shoulders. The longer you can hold the pose without compromising your posture, the better it is for you. In the beginning, it is difficult to stay in the pose for even 30 seconds. With time you can increase the number.

Planks help to strengthen the core, burn overall fat and also help to correct your posture. It improves stability and reduces the risk of injury.

Which one is better?

These two exercises are very different from each other and have a different set of health benefits. Both of them work on your abdominal muscles and reduce fat, but plank works on other muscles as well, while crunches target only your abs. According to a 2013 study, plank with hand reach can target 20 per cent more rectus abdominis compared to a crunch. A plank with a knee lift to the opposite side of the chest activates rectus abdominis activation by 30 per cent and oblique by 20 per cent as compared to crunches. The clear winner, in this case, is the plank.

However, a plank is a more complex exercise than crunches, so the risk of injury, in this case, can be high.

The bottom line

If you want to lose weight effectively, only performing exercises won’t help. To shed kilos you also need to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. Try to reduce stress and sleep on time. Do not opt for a workout routine or diet that promises a quick result.