Planks are the kind of exercise that work a lot of your body at once without being too strenuous. They are great exercise for people who don’t normally do exercise or who aren’t in great shape.
Planks can work your abdominals, arms, and legs. Because planks are so easy for most people do, a lot of people try to use them to help lose weight and flatten out their stomach. They use planks as a stepping stone to get to more intense exercises. How to do planks to flatten stomach?
Do Planks Make Your Stomach Flatter
We want to say up front that planks are not the best exercise for flattening your stomach, if you do them like most people do them. They’re certainly not a high intensity exercise, so you’re not going to burn a lot of fat by doing a few reps of planks.
They also don’t specifically target the abdominals, at least not to any appreciable degree. In other words, you’re not going to make a big impact on your stomach just by doing planks the normal way.
You will be mostly working your arms, with a little impact on your legs and very minor impact on your abdominals. Planks are a good way to start strength training and endurance training, and they are great exercise to work into a larger fitness routine to give your body some time to rest between more intense exercises.
Planks are often included in longer HIIT exercise regimens as a way to just slow down and allow muscles to recover slightly before going into a high impact exercise.
How to Flatten Your Stomach with Planks
If you want to use planks to make your stomach look flatter and to strengthen your abdominals, there are a few things you need to know about your form and method.
First of all, you want to keep a straight form. You may want to use a mirror at first or have someone check your form when you start out with planks. You’re not going to get the full benefits from planks if your form is not correct. You can also watch videos on how to do planks so that you can imitate the form of an experienced professional.
If your position is off and your form isn’t right, the plank won’t help you much at all. If your position is a little up or down from where it should be, you may not be getting any abdominal benefits from exercise at all.
The next thing you need to do is to draw your stomach muscles upward and inward. If you’re not doing this, you’re not making much an impact on your ab muscles. To tell the truth, planks are not the best way to build abdominal muscles and flatten a belly, but they are a simple and easy way that a lot of people can start out with.
It’s important that you hold the plank for a period of time before releasing from it and returning to a more comfortable position. You should hold the plank for about 60 seconds, if you can. This will be a great way to burn some fat, work your muscles, and eventually flatten your belly.
For people who are new to planks and who don’t exercise often, it can be difficult to hold the plank for a full 60 seconds. You don’t have to start out at the full minute-long plank. You can work your way up to there, starting out with something easier, like 20 or 30 seconds.
Once you can get up to holding the plank for a full 60 seconds, though, you can start to make some real progress. At that point, you’re really putting effort into the plank and getting a lot of benefit out of it. It’s much better to hold it for an extended period of time like a full 60 seconds rather than for a short half a minute or less. There’s not much point in doing a plank just for the sake of doing it. You’re not getting the benefits out of it that you could.
Starting out low and slow will help you work your way up to a more effective and beneficial plank.
How Many Planks to Do to Flatten Stomach
We talked about duration, but how about the number of reps needed to make an impact on your stomach? How many planks should you be doing if you want to really make progress on a flabby tummy and you want it to look flatter and fitter?
If you’re struggling with holding the plank for 60 seconds, you should start out at just doing anywhere from one to three of these each time. Once you can hold that 60-second plank comfortably, move up from three to five times for each session.
Now, you’ll be making an impact and burning calories using the plank exercise. This is what you want to work toward as you increase the number of planks you do and how long do you hold them for.
How to Master Planking
We talked about how to do planks, including your form and how you should be contracting your muscles. All of this is kind of beginner level stuff. If you want to move up to the more advanced level and get even more out of your planks, then you need to learn the master planking maneuver.
This requires that you do the normal plank with the right form and that you take a deep breath in when you start. Next, contract your ab muscles and clench the quads and glute muscles at the same time. If you’re doing all this, you’re going to be working more of your body, burning more calories.
You will be working not just the abs, but also your lower body, and you’ll be strengthening your core muscles. The pelvis and shoulder regions will become stronger and fitter as well.
One thing it’s important for you to keep in mind is that you can’t specifically target the abdominal fat. Flattening your tummy isn’t about just doing exercises that burn fat from that area of the body. It’s impossible to pick which area of the body fat is used from. What this means is that any kind of exercise you do that burns fat will help to pull fat from anywhere in the body. The more exercise you do, the more fat will be burned up from around your belly.
If you do planking exercises like what we’ve covered in this article, including the master planking method, you can expect to lose belly fat. However, that’s not the only area the body will be losing fat from. The reason you would want to do abdominal exercises like the plank is not just to burn fat specifically in that area.
You’ll be doing more than burning fat; you’ll also be developing ab muscles. So, your muscles can grow and become more defined.
Planks can help you to get the flatter belly you want, but they should not be the only exercise you do. You definitely want to try to work in some higher intensity exercises for faster results.
Most people won’t get the results they are wanting in a decent amount of time by just doing planks. Working in other exercises and pushing yourself with a regular, strenuous workout routine will produce powerful results quickly. You’ll be amazed at how fast you get a flatter belly.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://awellnessbody.com.