Elbow Plank vs Full Plank – The Counter-Argument

Last Updated: November 28, 2020
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The Home Gym Review Squad

Planks are making headlines everywhere as the best exercises for toning and training the entire body. The list of plank variations proven to tone and work the body is almost limitless. However, elbow plank vs full plank seems to be a major argument. 

Both plank variations can be performed from anywhere, with no time limitations. When full planks and elbow planks are set in a weighing scale, comparing similar features and benefits they carry, chances are high, the number of times the machine will hooray for the elbow planks will virtually equal the number it would for the full planks. 

That’s likely because of both plank variations equal in benefits and features. For further clarifications, let’s compare elbow plank vs full plank.

Full Plank Overview

Every other plank variation has its roots to full plank. The positioning and movements of every other plank are rooted in the mother of them all – full plank. Full plank was designed with the beginner needs in mind, thanks to its simplicity and accommodative nature.

The full plank works the core and exerts pressure on the entire body, shaping arms and shoulders. Every workout specialist will tell you that full planks offer baby movements to enable your body to accustom to more challenging plank variations.

Elbow Plank Overview

Favored and practiced globally by professionals and beginners alike, the elbow plank is among the most effective plank variations that challenge your body and activate your body for optimal success. Elbow plank goes deeper into even the smallest of your core muscles. 

In this type of plank variation, you have should place your shoulders over your entire body and elbows. Elbow plank can be paired with other exercises, including the traditional plank variation.

Elbow Plank vs Full Plank – Facts About Elbow and Full Planks

Elbow plank’s unique configuration makes them useful for toning the abdominal muscles. Weightlifters and bodybuilders use planks as warmups before they get engaged in more complex exercises.

Elbow planks don’t strain or stress the wrists. Those experiencing wrist pain or discomfort when doing full planks should consider elbow planks for a safer experience.

Full planks require maximum muscle balance for the elbow joints to be stabilized. When doing standard planks, act carefully not to hyperextend your elbow with the straight arm planking movements. Keep the arms straight for the most muscle groups to be worked.

What Many People Don’t Know About Elbow and Full Planks

The internet is packed with lots of blogs and articles on which planks work the shoulders harder, some of which bak elbow planks while others back full planks. Sadly, no conclusive answer has been given, as different specialists have contradicting views. 

However, based on the argument that full planks are more of an incline push-up that doesn’t stress the shoulders much, it’s possible elbow planks work the shoulder muscles more.

Elbow planks engage the triceps muscles more, making it a bit challenging for beginners. But once you’re used to these planks, you will be super good at it.

Most online resources claim that full planks reinforce and stabilize shoulder girdle more than elbow planks. And considering full planks are funnier and easier to implement, they are perfect for anyone looking to work their serratus anterior muscles, boxing muscles, and arm muscles. 

However, those looking for something rougher and more encompassing should opt for elbow planks as they tone most of your body muscle groups.

You could also read about straight arm plank vs bent arm plank.

Elbow Plank vs Full Plank – How Long Should You Hold Your Plank

Both elbow and full planks need almost the same plank holding time. Pro personal coaches recommend holding the plank for 20 to 30 seconds when you’re starting.  As you gain stamina and stability, you can hold the planks for about 60 seconds. 

Considering the demanding nature of planks, experts recommend doing three sets, four times every week. As long as you meet your weekly quota, results will start appearing several weeks after. When doing either full or elbow planks, don’t allow the hips or shoulder to drop. 

You shouldn’t place the hands close to each other to minimize shoulder joint instability and internal rotation. Maintain a healthy breathing routine while exercising, as holding on to breathe could hinder your progress.

Elbow Plank vs Full Plank – How to Optimize Results

Doing planks daily for few minutes kindles the body for optimal health and fitness. As full-body workouts, planks, no matter the variation, will add a scope of strength to your chest, shoulder, and back muscles. Optimizing planking results when doing either full planks or elbow planks need you to do the following.

Hold the planks Longer

Hold the planks the longest your body can support. Don’t just do the 2-second planks if you can hold for a minute. Avoid the clock if possible, and work out to your level best, as that’s the best way for you to enhance your endurance and increase your planking time.

Maintain the best posture

Fitness specialists advise keeping a good posture all through. You’re supposed to maintain the spine at a neutral position, the legs straight, and the back in a parallel pose to the floor. Use all positional forces to squeeze inwards from the two directions. That will shorten the distance from the elbows to the toes, creating enough tension for keeping the legs straight.

Increase the plank

The workout intensity depends on the size of the plank. Bigger planks go deeper into the muscles and core, enhancing the results. For more intense planking, you can add weights to your planking force. Weight vests and any other lifting equipment would do the magic.

Elbow Plank vs Full Plank – Conclusion

The showdown between elbow plank vs full plank is never going to end any time soon. Our bodies are different and respond to different exercises differently. That’s why you find some people who say full planks are the best and others who consider elbow planks favorite choices. The best thing about these two planking variations is that they can be interchanged. 

As you begin, you can play full planks and integrate elbow planks along the way as you gain more strength and stamina.

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