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Are Planks Better Than Crunches?

Skip the Crunches: This Trainer Has a Way More Effective Exercise For You

We get it — you hate crunches. But as it turns out, you might be onto something; they might not be the most effective use of your gym time. Trainer and owner of LEKfit Lauren Kleban told us that crunches are totally overrated, and she has a supereffective alternative for you to do instead.

"Planks are safer and way more effective than crunches," Lauren said. "They work the entire core, engaging your legs, arms, and bum (via the glutes), which means you can burn more calories!"

That all sounds great, but why are crunches not as good? She explained that crunches only work two muscle groups — the obliques and the rectus abdominis ("your six-pack!"). They also put you at more risk for injury in your back or neck "from holding your head incorrectly in a crunch."

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So crunches aren't bad for you — especially if you're doing them correctly — but to Lauren's point, if you want to make the most of your time, try planks instead. You'll work more muscle groups and burn more calories. You don't have to tell us twice! With that in mind, we'll be taking up this plank challenge . . . care to join us? You can also try our favorite crunchless ab workout, this on-the-floor, no-crunch ab workout, or a medicine-ball move.

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