Fat around the belly is stubborn fat. For many individuals, most of the excess weight is situated in this area and this is what they exactly want to shed when they plan to lose weight. However, it is really difficult to lose belly fat. The plank is a type of exercise that strengthens your core by working the transverses abdominis muscle. But can it help in losing belly fat?
Can Planks Burn Belly Fat?
While aerobic exercises and balanced diet are important to reduce belly fat, planks also prove beneficial in trimming the waistline. You entire body is challenged in the plank position, with a special emphasis on the abdominal muscles. Variation of plank exercises help in building lean muscle mass. Your body burns more calories and fat if there is more lean muscle present. This leads to reduced belly fat. You should do the plank exercises mentioned below 2-3 times in a week. Do a couple of minutes of warm up exercise initially.
- Plank Shift: It involves subtle movement, which gives noticeable results. Start in plank position with the wrists placed directly under your shoulders. The legs should be straight behind and you should balance on balls of feet. Maintain a neutral position of spine; shift your position forward so that the shoulders pass over the fingers. Rock back to the starting position; do for 10 repetitions. Start with 1 set and as your strength and stamina improves, increase to 3 sets.
- Side Plank: Can planks burn belly fat? Yes. Start facing sideways with the right hand under the shoulder, left leg put on top of right leg, the body balanced on side of right foot. The body should be kept in a straight diagonal line. Stay in this position for at least 10-15 seconds. Repeat on opposite side. Do 2-3 repetitions on both sides.
- Low Plank to High Plank: Start in low plank, balanced on forearms with elbows beneath shoulders and legs extended behind. Straighten right arm, activating the muscles of your abdomen and place hand on ground. Straighten left arm and reach in full plank position. Now bend right elbow, then left elbow and come back to low plank position. Alternate between low and high plank for 10 repetitions.
- Single-leg Plank: Start in plank position, feet placed wider than hips. Lift right leg, not higher than bottom, without lifting hips. Stay in this position for 10 seconds. Repeat with left leg. You can increase challenge by extending the opposite arm in the forward direction while the leg is up. Do 5 repetitions on each leg.
More Exercises to Burn Belly Fat
After answering the question "Can planks burn belly fat?" let’s discuss more exercises to burn belly fat.
Follow the tips mentioned below to get more effect from your yoga or Pilates moves that are focused on your core:
- Whenever you make a twisting move, make sure you move from your waist, keeping the hips still.
- During every move, you must get a feeling of tightening, which is similar to wearing a pair of very tight jeans, from your hip bone of one side to other side.
- To strengthen the abs and to protect the lower back, make sure to exhale deeply with every move.
1. Bridge Opposite Arm-Leg Reach
- Keep lying with face up, left knee bent and left foot placed flat on floor. Extend right leg towards the ceiling. Extend left arm towards the ceiling. Keep right arm by the side.
- Move raised arm to left and raised leg to right, without moving shoulders or hips.
- Now, concentrate on your abs and return raised arm and leg to the center. Do 10-13 repetitions. Repeat after switching sides.
2. Low-Belly Leg Reach
- Lie on back with knees at 90 degrees. Keep hands behind head and contract your abs. Lift your shoulders, crunch up and inhale. Hold in this position for three to five seconds.
- Exhale; extend legs to 45 degrees. Stay in the position for three to five seconds while you squeeze your belly. Do two sets of 10-16 repetitions.
- Lie face up with knees bent at 90 degrees, feet lifted. Tighten your abs while you inhale. Lift arms up and then take them back over your head.
- Exhale and bring your arms forward, straightening legs so that your body is in the form of a V.
- Slowly roll down, bending the knees and bringing your arms overhead. Perform 15 repetitions.
4. Donkey Kickbacks
- Kneel on your all 4’s with toes tucked in. Your back should be in a neutral position. Contract the abs while lifting your knees off the ground (around 2”).
- Keeping abs contracted, bring right knee to the nose. Then squeeze your butt and kick right leg straight behind you.
- Repeat eight times. Repeat on the other leg.
5. Advanced Leg Crunches
- Lie with your face up, knees bent. Keep a 3-pound dumbbell in between your feet. Put hands, palms down under your hips.
- Use lower abs to bring the knees towards chest while at the same time lifting slightly your hips, head and shoulders. Return to starting position; this is one repetition.
- Perform 15-30 repetitions three to four times in a week.
6. Ana Caban's Belly Blaster
- Lie face up with knees bent towards chest. Hold a three pound dumbbell in both hands.
- Extend left leg to 45 degrees; the right knee is bent. Lift shoulders and head, moving dumbbell to outside of right knee, doing a crunch with a twist.
- Bend left leg and extend your hands with weight towards the ceiling. Your shoulders and head will remain elevated. Repeat step two; however, this time your left knee will be bent and right leg will be extended. This is one repetition.
- Perform eight repetitions four times a week.
7. Boat Pose
- Sit with knees bent, feet placed on floor and hands under your knees to provide support. Keep your shoulders, back and chest lifted, contract your abs and raise lower legs till they become parallel to floor. You should be balancing on sitting bones.
- If you are comfortable in this position, straighten legs and stretch arms forward. Stay in this position for 6-15 breaths and release. Repeat five times.
8. Body-Weight Squat
- Stand keeping feet at hip width, knees should be bent slightly and hands must be crossed over your chest. Squat down, making sure your feet point straight ahead. Your knees should be over toes; bum should be tucked. Return to standing position.
- Perform five sets of five repetitions.
9. Swan Dive
- Lie flat on stomach, stretching arms overhead. Lift legs and arms around six inches off ground. Stay in this position of one count while imagining that your legs are being pulled out away from hips.
- Circle arm out to sides and behind yourself. Exhale and pull your arms in the direction of your toes with your palms facing in. Stay in this position of one count.
- Bring your arms to the starting position. Relax your entire body to the ground. Repeat six to eight times.