The plank is one of the most challenging exercises you can do. It’s also one of the most important for your core, arms, and legs. Incorporating planks into your routine will strengthen your abs, lower back, and thighs—all key areas as you begin strengthening your entire body.
When done correctly, an exercise like the plank should be a mix of both aerobic and anaerobic energy system involvement. So how does it rate on that spectrum? And more importantly, how many reps should you perform?
Is plank exercise an aerobic or anaerobic workout? If you’re wondering whether the plank exercise is an aerobic or anaerobic workout, keep reading this article to get more insight.
The answer depends on your fitness level, the duration of your exercise routine, and the intensity with which you perform the activities. So what is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise? And why are they both important? Let’s take a look…
You might also like:
- Top 4 Gym Equipment for Core Strength
- Review: The DEDAYL Hydraulic Power Twister
- Fitlaya Fitness Ab Machine
What Is Aerobic Exercise?
Aerobic exercise is any workout that raises your heart rate and results in increased blood flow. This is because the heart pumps more blood, and more blood is pumped to all parts of your body, including your muscles.
Aerobic exercise is different from anaerobic exercise because aerobic exercise involves prolonged breathing exercises, which are believed to improve lung function and lung capacity.
Aerobic exercise is also known as “aerobic” because it occurs under aerobic conditions – usually in a room with a temperature of 20-23°C/68-73°F. Aerobic exercises are typically lower intensity compared to anaerobic exercises. This means that you can comfortably perform them for longer.
You’ll also find aerobic exercises in almost all types of programs, such as the gym, the swimming pool, the outdoor track, or the tennis court.
Benefits of Doing an Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercises are great for increasing endurance and stamina, as well as for burning calories. They also improve flexibility and balance and can relieve stress and tension.
Aerobic exercises are also effective for reducing risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and overweight or obesity.
People at any age can benefit from aerobic exercise, including pregnant women and those who are older or have chronic health conditions.
There are many different types of aerobic exercises that can be done to meet individual needs and goals. Examples include running, walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, using an elliptical machine or stair climber, playing tennis or racquetball, riding a horse or other type of bike or scooter, using weights equipment such as a treadmill or weight bench, etc.
What Is Anaerobic Exercise?
Anaerobic exercise is any workout that is performed without much air being used by the muscles. Such a workout is also called “lactate-threshold” exercise because “anaerobic” refers to the absence of oxygen.
In order to perform such an exercise, the muscles must rely primarily on the byproducts of metabolism (carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions) generated by the body itself. The byproducts produced during anaerobic exercise are also the cause of fatigue, but you can perform them for a shorter duration before feeling them.
There are many examples of anaerobic exercises, such as weightlifting, running, swimming, and martial arts. However, the plank exercise is often regarded as anaerobic because there is no need for air.
Benefits of Doing Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise is the type of exercise that causes your body to produce lactic acid. Lactic acid has a number of benefits for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, including:
Anaerobic exercise is a great way to improve your endurance, strength, and stamina. It builds lean muscle mass, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day.
Anaerobic exercise also helps you burn fat. The build-up of lactic acid makes your muscles use up more energy as they work harder. This results in a decrease in body fat.
Lactic acid can also have anti-aging effects on the body. It can help reduce inflammation, which contributes to skin wrinkling and other forms of aging. By reducing inflammation, anaerobic exercise can help boost collagen production, which can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises
Given that aerobic exercise involves breathing, it’s no surprise that it’s also referred to as aerobic exercise. The same goes for anaerobic exercise. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises are important for fitness and health. The key to successful fitness is to know the difference between the two, and which type of exercise suits you more.
On the one hand, aerobic exercises are low-intensity and longer in duration. In addition, these exercises are usually performed in a room with a relative temperature of 20-23°C/68-73°F. Finally, they are often performed on a regular basis, such as five days a week.
On the other hand, anaerobic exercise can be high-intensity, is shorter in duration, and is performed in an environment without oxygen. Anaerobic exercises can include weightlifting, running, and other sports.
Is Plank Exercise an Aerobic or Anaerobic Workout?
As you can see, the plank exercise can fall under the category of either aerobic or anaerobic exercise. However, experts generally agree that the plank is anaerobic.
That’s because your body’s energy source is nothing but the byproducts of metabolism in the form of carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions, and it doesn’t need to use any oxygen for their production. That’s why the plank exercise is considered anaerobic exercise.
And since the heart doesn’t need oxygen, it can work harder and deliver even more oxygenated blood to your muscles. The plank exercise is a low-intensity, high-impact exercise, so it’s best suited for your cardiovascular system.
That’s why plank exercise is often touted as a cardio workout for beginners.
How to Tell If Your Plank Workout Is Anaerobic or Aerobic
The plank exercise is considered anaerobic because it relies on the production of carbon dioxide and hydrogen ions, instead of oxygen. These ions are also responsible for fatigue, so you can see them when performing intense workouts.
Additionally, when your heart pumps more blood, you can feel it in your muscles. That’s why most people feel the plank exercise is a type of cardio workout.
There are no set guidelines when it comes to exactly how long to perform a plank workout, though most trainers recommend holding the position for at least 30 seconds, working up to one minute over time.
To determine if your planks are aerobic or anaerobic, you can check your heart rate. If it stays consistent throughout the entire workout, you’re probably doing aerobics; if it spikes up during plank holds and then drops back down after a few seconds, you’re probably doing anaerobic exercises.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I hold a plank for?
Unlike most other types of exercise, there is no definite answer to this question. The duration depends on your fitness level and the intensity with which you perform the plank exercise. If you’re just starting a fitness program, perform a plank for two minutes. If you’re more advanced, hold it for four minutes. Expect to get tired when performing a plank exercise, so don’t exert yourself during your plank workout.
Does breathing while holding a plank help do the exercise more efficiently?
While breathing helps you hold a plank longer and makes the exercise more difficult, it’s not required. You can perform a plank exercise without breathing. However, it will be a less intense workout and you won’t get as much cardiovascular benefit.
What are the best ways to improve my plank?
Try increasing the length of your plank with each plank. You can also try using a push-up bar or a wall to help you hold a plank.
How can I make my plank more challenging?
You can make your plank more challenging by increasing your body’s angle to the ground. This will put more of your body weight on the muscles you are using to hold a plank. To increase your angle, try performing a side plank or a reverse plank.
Can I do a forearm plank while pregnant?
Yes, but only if recommended by your doctor or physical therapist. Some women find that their balance is off during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, which makes them more prone to falling when doing exercises like a forearm plank. In addition, some women find that their abdominal muscles become weaker during pregnancy. If you have a history of back pain or if your back hurts during pregnancy, check with your doctor before performing this exercise.
Aerobic exercise is a workout that requires oxygen and increases your heart rate. Anaerobic exercise is a workout that doesn’t require oxygen and doesn’t increase your heart rate.
Plank exercises are great for both types of workouts. You can use the plank position to recover after an intense workout, or you can use it as a warm-up before an intense workout.
Either way, you’re using the plank as part of your exercise routine to improve your health and lose weight.
- 10 Aerobic Exercise Examples: How to, Benefits, and More: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/aerobic-exercise-examples
- Lactate Threshold: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactate_threshold