Regarding a fit body and an hourglass figure, belly fat is the most common obstacle. You gain these fats so easily but they are too hard to lose. In addition to disfiguring your physique, belly fat has other side effects as well.
However, an excessive amount of belly fat makes you prone to chronic diseases including fatty liver disease, chronic heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Thus, belly fat is a common concern for people of all ages.
So what to do when you have stubborn belly fat? You must have thought of diet. Although it works wonders for belly fat, diet is not easy to maintain which results in post-diet weight gain. Then comes exercise as the most effective method of losing belly fat.
One of the highly efficient exercises to get rid of belly fat is the plank. Here, we are going to introduce you to the concept of belly fat, planks, and how to lose belly fat with planks.
How Do We Get Belly Fats
There are mainly two types of abdominal fats, visceral fat that surrounds the internal organs, and subcutaneous fat that lies just under the skin. The major factor resulting in a fat belly is an unhealthy lifestyle. Fast food, sugary drinks, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise, physical inactivity, stress, low fiber diet, and reduced protein intake are some lifestyle changes resulting in an unpleasant-looking physique.
Improper diet increases appetite and thus increased calorie intake and fat accumulation. Trans fats cause inflammation and insulin resistance resulting in reduced fat utilization. Sedentary lifestyles and overeating lead to weight gain.
Lastly, proteins induce a sense of satiety and fibers make the bulk of the food. They together make you feel full, balance hunger hormones and manage the amount of food intake. A deficient intake of these macronutrients causes the collection of fats in your body.
Do Planks Help in Belly Fat Loss
Planks are superb for belly fat loss. Planks engage the whole body’s muscles in exercise at once, induce the burning of calories, strengthen the core of the body, and ultimately reduce belly fat.
Additionally, planks improve body posture, tone abdominal muscles, and enhance flexibility. Consequently, your belly appears flat and it also helps in fighting belly bulges caused by fat or fluid accumulation. So, planks are a must-have set of your routine exercise.
Plank Regime to Lose Belly Fat
Planks only work well when done right. Overdoing or undergoing with planks can prove to be more harmful than helpful. So, it is advised to do a few second sets of planks at first and then gradually increase the time duration. Here is a feasible plank regime you can follow to lose belly fat.
For the First Week
When your body is not used to workout, especially one involving multiple muscles, the first step is to slowly adapt it to exercising. So, start from a 20-second plank and increase the duration to 60 seconds in the first week.
For the Second Week
Here, your body becomes used to planks. So, you can increase the time duration from 60 seconds to 90 seconds.
Beyond Second Week
In the third week, 90-120 second planks can do a great job of burning belly fat.
For Optimum Results
60-second plank set thrice every day can produce significant results. You can lose 2-4 inches from your belly and waistline within 1 month by following this routine.
Method to Do Planks to Lose Belly Fat
Spread an exercise mat over a hard surface. Do not try planks on your bed or sofa.
Place your forearms and elbows under your shoulders on the mat and elevate your thorax. Make sure your hands are not too close or too distant from each other.
Now bring your toes together and form a position where your body is in a straight line from head to toe. Also, tighten your thighs and glutes muscles.
Bring your belly button in and up. This will engage your core muscles.
Keep your next neck relaxed and head straight.
This is the proper planking position. Try to hold it for as long as you can.
Plank Exercises To Lose Belly Fat
There is a variety of planking positions for you to choose the one you find the easiest. These are the 4 most feasible and effective positions for losing belly fat.
1. Standard Planks
Here, you go in a push-up position by keeping your palms on the ground, arms straight, and feet together on the ground. It is the easiest planking position.
2. Forearm Plank
The forearm plank is the most common position for losing belly fat. Here, you keep your elbows and forearms on the ground and raise your upper body and legs in a way that feet touch the ground and your body comes in a line.
3. Alternate Knee and Elbow Plank
Alternate knee and elbow plank involves moving your body instead of holding it in one position. Here you go in a standard or forearm planking position, then move your legs one by one in a way that your knees touch your chest.
This position relaxes your muscles in addition to burning a greater amount of calories.
4. Side Planks
If you want to focus more on your oblique muscles, a side plank is for you. Here, you lie on your side, keep your elbow and forearm on the ground, raise your body, keep the other arm on your waist, touch the floor with your knees, and stack your legs. Then hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
There are many other variations of a side plank as well. You can raise your other arm in the air, lift yourself from the feet instead of knees, or support your body with your palm instead of the elbow.
Dos and Don’ts of Planks
When it comes to any type of exercise, the most important thing is to protect yourself from injuries while working on the target muscles. Let us know some dos and don’ts of planks so that you gain desired results with no mistakes.
The most important thing in a plank is the right position and holding it for a bearable duration.
Proper Planking Position
For a proper planking position, your body must be in a straight line with your legs lengthened, your quads and glutes tightened, your core engaged, and your arms under the shoulders. Also, make sure you are breathing adequately to provide your muscles with the oxygen they need.
Using a Mirror to Check Position
It is difficult to guess if your body is in the proper position and if it is maintaining that position. So, try to plank in front of the mirror to monitor your position. Moreover, you can use your phone’s front camera if there is no mirror nearby.
Slowly Increasing Planking Duration
The optimum time for planking is 60+ seconds. However, it is not achievable in one go. So, it is better to set 60 seconds as a goal and gradually work towards it.
After dos, you must know what should not be done during planking.
Do Not Keep Your Buttocks Too High or Too Low
Do not try to lift up your buttocks or sag them towards the ground when you are tired. Just let it go, wait for a few seconds, and do another plank. Because the goal is to strengthen your body and lose belly fat, not make a record of how long you can hold a plank. A 30-60 second plank is enough as long as your position is right.
Do Not Arch Your Back
As you are working your belly muscles, do not arch your back or dip your head down. Because by doing so, you will lose your abdominal muscle engagement. Moreover, it can strain your neck.
Do Not Hold Your Breath
You must have seen breath-in and breath-out exercises. Regarding planks, breathing adequately is important. So, do not forget to breathe while you are focusing on the correct position or you will pass out.
Do Not Hold a Plank for a Long Duration
As we already said, 60 seconds is enough. A time duration of more than that can loosen your belly muscles, and you might also fall injuring yourself.
If you want to get rid of belly fat, get your dream body, and prevent lifestyle diseases, plank could be the right exercise for you. And if you have been looking for a guide that explains all about plank, this one is dedicated to you. Above we have explained how fat accumulates over your belly, and how plank is effective in treating them.
Moreover, we provided information about the correct plank position, plank duration, and its variations. So, you will lose your belly fat as long as you are consistent with exercise no matter which position you choose and how long you can hold a plank.
Lastly, it is important to know what to do and what to avoid while doing a plank. Because you want to lose weight, not your bone. Good luck with planking! We hope you get a thin waistline soon.