For a (thankfully) hot minute, planks reached viral status when everyone tried to "plank" on ridiculous surfaces. In fitness, planks are a legit ab exercise, but there's no need to treat them as the "one ab exercise to rule them all." You might be better off with push-ups, which are basically leveled-up planks.
Image by CCFoodTravel.com.
Planks are effective for activating many of your ab muscles and challenging your overall stability, but Adam Bornstein at Born Fitness puts the ever-popular ab exercise on blast: he essentially echoes the sentiments of many fitness coaches that if your goal is magazine-cover abs, planks alone won't get you there. They're not always included in a person's workouts for the right reason, he notes.
Martin Rooney, another well-respected strength coach, contributed to the discussion, suggesting that planks aren't as effective or challenging as they could be. He goes on to say:
Everywhere I go in the world, when I have people do push-ups, which is essentially a plank with more muscle recruitment of the upper body, people sag at the waist and can't use the most important piece of equipment they have: their own body.
So, instead of mindlessly holding a plank for a few minutes, why not try to bang out push-ups for the same time instead? You get the same core work while also building some strength, burning more calories, increasing mental toughness and creating the confidence that comes along with it at the same time...
In other words, you can get more "bang for your buck" with the push-up: work on your core recruitment and improve upper body strength.
Are Planks Overrated? [Born Fitness]