I want to share with you why I believe The Plank is the best of exercises to lose belly fat. If you want to strengthen and flatten that core or to get that perfect 6 pack, then the plank in conjunction with good food habits is the best exercise for you.
I have been doing the plank for many years and not only will you lose belly fat but you will gain so many other great benefits too. This exercise is quick to perform once you get the technique right which is important. 30 seconds later and you are well on your way to losing belly fat.
Let me introduce you to The Plank and why this is The Best of Exercises To Lose Belly Fat and much more………..
5 Reasons Why The Plank Is The Best Exercise
The plank has for a long time been my favourite abdominal exercise and here are 5 reasons why you should add into your weekly workout or your daily routine.
1. Strengthens your Core Muscles which lie deep in your midsection.
These are used in everyday life from wakening up in the morning, to exercise and through to bedtime. Being stronger in your core will give you huge improvements on your ability to move better every day.
2. Stronger Spine as your abdominals support your back and spinal column.
Can help with lower back pain, lengthen your posture and help prevent injuries.
3. Great for toning your whole body.
What I call a “Great Value for Money Exercise” as you are not only working to strengthen your core muscles but also those of your legs, back, butt, arms, neck and toes. Main muscles used include Transverse & Rectus Abdominus, Gluteus Medius & Minimus, Adductors and Obliques. Secondary muscles Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps and Hamstrings.
4. Better Co Ordination.
As the plank strengthens so many muscles it teaches our body to operate as one unit so your muscles work in synergy, especially when we shift our weight or reach from one side to the other when we need to balance.
5. Burn Calories through an increased metabolic boost.
The plank challenges so many muscles throughout our entire body which means that you will burn calories not just throughout the exercise but will also set you up for the rest of the day.
The best part about the plank is that you can do so many variations. It is really important to first ensure that you have good posture from a basic level and then start to add varying challenges once a good strong base is established.
Example:- length of time or adding a balance element.
A great exercise to do every day to start to see amazing results.
How To Perform A Full Plank
1. Plant the hands directly under the shoulders and then take them out slightly wider.
2. Ground the toes into the floor pushing your heels down. At the same time squeeze the glutes and activate your core to stabilise your body. Your legs should be working in the move too so your stance should be strong careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.
3. Neutralise the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a metre in front of you. Your head should be in line with your back and nice long position head to toe.
4. Start by holding this position for about 30 seconds and then start to build up to 60 seconds or until you feel you are compromising on technique. Remember to breathe and lengthen your shoulders away from your ears especially as you start to fatigue.
Other Plank Variations
One of the most common ways to perform a plank and is slightly easier than holding the body up with just the hands. Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder width apart. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together in front. Your stance then will be the same as above trying to breathe and relax.
Knee Plank On Forearms
A great place to begin your plank journey and to start to get your body ready to go further. Rest your knees on the floor, brace your core and squeeze your glutes just as a normal plank. This variation will also take a little pressure off your back.
This variation better engages the obliques, or the side muscles of the core, than a standard plank. Lie on one side with the legs stacked on top of one another then prop the body up on the hand or elbow while keeping the feet stacked. Helps to think about pushing the hips up high. Modify the position by raising the opposing arm or leg in the air to make the plank more difficult or make the move easier by crossing the upper leg in front or behind the body for additional support.
Single Leg Plank
By removing one point of contact from the ground, this variation increases the demand on the core. Position the body into a basic plank, then lift one leg toward the ceiling as far as feels comfortable, without compromising your back. Keep your hips parallel to the floor, then alternate legs. Important to keep stable through the rest of your body with only your legs or arms lifting.
Medicine Ball Plank
Increase the intensity again by placing your hands on a medicine ball or stability ball, rather than on the floor. Stabilizing the body on an unstable surface adds a balancing component to the move, increasing the demand on the core and connecting through the brain. Follow the same steps for a normal plank but instead place the hands on the ball, directly under the shoulders.
These are just a few variations of the plank, but the list is endless. Technique as is always key to success of this exercise. As soon as you feel you have come out of form you MUST stop, or you risk injury as with any exercise. Also, do NOT move onto a more difficult form of the plank until you feel strong and uncompromised in technique in the basic plank.
It is so important to remember that the plank is an isometric exercise and works because all your muscles have switched on and they are strengthening. At the same time your heart and lungs are working so effectively helping you to burn calories.
A plank in general should be held for between 30 seconds to 1 minute. Rest and then you can repeat, as necessary. The rest is important so our muscles can relax and inflammation that might occur can subside. In my opinion I would rather you performed a good plank for 30/60 seconds then rest for 15/30 seconds and then repeat up to 3 times and this is highly effective with less risk of injury.
The Plank is a great exercise that I like to use for a foundation base to other exercises as it really helps with posture. When done correctly you will see improvements to your posture and breathing as you go around your day to day business. You will then really see it help with other exercise routines or sports activities.
Planks are a great connection of your muscles, breath, mind, and nerve integration so is a great exercise performed correctly.
Please leave any comments or questions below especially how you are getting on with this great exercise