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The Plank vs. Pushups

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I just found out about The Plank for exercising abs. Why is it better than a simple pushup? Most Plank pictures seem to show people resting on their forearms. Is this better than a frozen, extended pushup position?

I'm trying to figure out whether or not The Plank needs to be incorporated into my normal routine of 20 to 30 traditional pushups every morning.
post #2 of 15
The plank is more of a core exercise whereas push ups are more for the chest and triceps.
post #3 of 15
the plank has nothing to do with your arms, its for your core. if you want to do it for you core, then go ahead, but it wont do anything for your chest, shoulders, triceps.
post #4 of 15
Grab something heavy and move it across your body--from shoulder to hip--then back again. keep your torso still. Much more effective than planks.
post #5 of 15
Isn't plank one of those stretches chicks do after every low-intensity cardio / circuit training session? Sounds mad gimmicky to me.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by whacked View Post
Isn't plank one of those stretches chicks do after every low-intensity cardio / circuit training session? Sounds mad gimmicky to me.

It's suppose to be a very effective exercise for those with lower back problems to help improve lower back endurance.
post #7 of 15
There are much better ways to exercise the core than the plank. Doing lots of pullups and pushups correctly actually require that you have pretty decent core strength. I suggest lots of crunches, burpees, and mat exercises. The medicine ball is also pretty good, as is any martial arts exercise involving a weighted staff weapon. Or maybe learn to use a hula hoop.

Honestly, the plank is a waste of time except to show how some pretty muscular guys really need to work on core. (Actually, weak core is one of the main reasons that a lot of gym rats can't do any sports worth crap). At my old gym, for some stupid reason, they had a "plank" contest. After 10 minutes, I called it quits, because it was cutting into my workout. One other dude planked for 12 minutes before he decided that he had to start his run. he won a spa kit

Pushups, on the other hand, are a great exercise. They engage the core as well as the shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps, at different levels depending on what type of pushups you are doing.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks. This all kind of confirms what I was thinking, that if you are doing pushups correctly, you are basically incorporating the good things about the plank.

I started reading about the plank on the internet, about how great it is and how hard it is when you first try it, and tried it. After a few minutes, I got bored. I wished I had put a book on the floor in front of me! It was too easy; and I don't consider myself to be in super good shape. I thought I had misunderstood the directions. I felt like my time would have been better spend doing more pushups. Think I'll pass on the plank.
post #9 of 15
LA Guy, im interested in your opinion on push ups.
i used to do alot, but since i started going to the gym ive stopped, since non restistance work out seems so.. meaningless. I can do 40-50 regular push ups with decent form without too much sweat... so, is it worth it? What different kinds are there?
post #10 of 15
You guys are underrating the plank. It's a great gateway exercise. Supermans, criss-cross plank, and a host of others. Plus, it makes a killer superset/triset addition. LA - I'm sorry, but anybody who can hold a proper plank for 12 minutes isn't doing it properly. Bobo - They're very worth it. Have you tried different hand positions? How about elevating your feet up on a flat bench? A great benchmark is 20 pushups with a 25-lb plate between your shoulder blades and your feet on a flat bench.
post #11 of 15
Bobo, just work on going inverted and doing a free standing hand stand pushup. Now that's impressive.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by adversity04 View Post
Bobo, just work on going inverted and doing a free standing hand stand pushup. Now that's impressive.


In addition to just regular push ups I started to try hand stand pups.

However, when I started (putting my feet against a wall for support), I couldn't even do one! Those things are effing hard! At this point, I'm just trying to hold a hand stand for an extended period of time.


*calling Chuck Norris for help*
post #13 of 15
I did a class at the gym yesterday called 'basic conditioning'. This word 'Basic' undersells my pain. It was over two hours of basically every bodyweight exercise known to man, performed very very very very very sloooowly. I have spent most of today in my room because nothing in the world is worth the pain that walking up and down my stairs inflicts on me. Highly recommended.
post #14 of 15
Planks are awesome if you continue progressing them. A favourite is an "active" plank, where for each half of the time in the plank (1 minute plus) you lift an arm while minimizing the amount you shift your shoulders and hips for compensation. When you get strong enough core, you will not have to shift your weight at all when you raise an arm. P.S. For abs, there's a million things but my favourite thing for the pain are 20/40/20 bicycles, where the 20s are performed VERY SLOWLY and the 40 done very quickly. The last 20 will be the longest few secondes of your life.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambo View Post

LA - I'm sorry, but anybody who can hold a proper plank for 12 minutes isn't doing it properly.

Bobo - They're very worth it. Have you tried different hand positions? How about elevating your feet up on a flat bench? A great benchmark is 20 pushups with a 25-lb plate between your shoulder blades and your feet on a flat bench.

Maybe you are right, but there were a half dozen personal trainers watching us and thinking that we must be beasts (full disclosure compels me to say that I am reasonably athletic, but not a beast by any standard.) There were plenty of much more muscular/fit looking dudes who couldn't hold the pose for more than a couple of minutes, though, do maybe people are just different. The last 3 minutes or so (out of the 10 I did) were pretty hard, and my arms were starting to shake, but I just kept on counting off the time, and I am pretty sure that I could have lasted a fair bit longer.

Yeah, Superbobo, try the pushup above. It is considerably tougher. I do those, but with a 35 lb plate, or a 45 lb plate for a set of 10. You are a lot bigger than I am, and even though I have pretty long arms for my height (I have an "ape factor" of 4 inches (wingspan is 5" longer than my height) you look like you may have really long arms), so this may be more difficult for you than for me. I also do 10 pullup, 20 pushup sets, which really get the heartrate up as a bonus.
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