Is Planking Good For Abs?

Is Planking Good for Abs?

You might have wondered along your fitness journey, “Is planking good for abs?” So much is not know about planks and their effectiveness. Many fitness gurus focus too much on crunches and sit-ups, and overlook this powerhouse exercise.

The fact is that planking is one of the most efficient exercises at strengthening core muscles. And a strong, healthy core is critical for your overall physical well-being. If you have issues with your core, then it can be very debilitating. 

So when you think of planks, don’t limit the idea to simply developing your abs. Consider the overall benefits of a strong and healthy core.

Table of Contents

Planking Works Your Abs…And Your Entire Core

Unlike crunches, which mainly ignore most core muscles and target mainly the rectus abdominus, planking works on the deepest muscles of your core. It’s a diverse exercise with wide-ranging benefits.

Not to say that crunches or sit-ups should be ignored, as the rotating motion is ideal in targeting your 6-pack. But also including planks as part of your core and ab workout is a wise fitness decision! 

Planks Muscles Worked

And planking comes in various forms that recruit different muscle groups and keep the exercise challenging. The main variation to standard plank exercise is the side plank.

So while crunches and sit-ups are ideal for targeting your abs, think of planks as being more well-rounded. They engage more muscles, and work a wider area. 

Here are some of the muscles and body areas worked by planking:

  • Rectus abdominus (six-pack muscles)
  • Transverse abdominus
  • Internal and external obliques
  • Hips
  • Back Muscles

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles Worked 💪

  • Abs (Rectus Abdominus & Transverse Abdominus)
  • Obliques (Internal & External)

Secondary Muscles Worked 💪

  • Hips
  • Back

Some might be thinking that focusing solely on exercises that recruit the six-pack muscles yields faster results. While this way of thinking has some truth to it, the last thing you want is having ripped abs with a weak core. As your overall health is always a higher priority than your aesthetic appeal, although this is important as well.

In fact, and due to the diversity of the recruited muscles, planking will help improve of poor posture and back pain. So there are many ancillary benefits of plank exercise, and should be part of any overall fitness routine.

To add to the argument, planking burns more calories than sit-ups or crunches.

Plank Exercise for Abs

The Aim in Performing Planks

The primary goal of the plank exercise is to maintain a neutral spine. In your body’s effort to do this, it activates your core muscles to maintain your spine position against the force weighing it down (gravity). The idea is to hold the stable, solid position as long as possible to engage and activate your core muscles.

Planking is Good for Abs…and Lower Back

One of the reasons planks are popular with physical trainers, is that they are generally safe for people with low back pain. So whereas crunches or sit-ups might aggravate a sensitive lower back, planks are performed safely and effectively.

And planking comes in various forms that recruit different muscle groups and keep the exercise challenging. The main variation to standard plank exercise is the side plank. (1)

Planking Workout Good for Abs

The following is a simple plank workout to get started, and get a taste for planking. Once you start to include planks in your ab workout rotation, you’ll never want to let them go!

• Perform 3 regular planks back-to-back for 30-60 seconds each
• Rest 1 minute
• Then perform 2 regular planks for 30-60 seconds each
• Rest 1 minute
• Do 1 final regular plank for 30-60 seconds

As you progress and get comfortable, and can increase duration and the number of sets.

Click for a complete ab workout.

Proper Warm-up for Plank Workout

As with any workout, always do proper warm-up with dynamic stretching. It’s important to get your blood flowing and your muscles loose and supple. And since planking engages a variety of muscles, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for core exercise.

Planking is an excellent way to strengthen your core and shape your abs. It is better than most other exercises, which focus on limited muscle groups.
We hope that this short introduction conveyed the value of plank in building a strong core/abs.

So when you wonder “Is planking good for abs?” Planking is not only good for abs, it’s good for your core and your overall health and well-being.

Do you have a pull-up bar? Give these pull-up bar ab exercises a try to get better ab progress.Click to see more exercises for ripped abs.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Anne Asher, C. P. T. (2022, July 29). Learn to safely advance the side plank exercise. Verywell Fit.

Click to see our medical disclosure.