Exercises derived from a plank position challenge total body strength.
While a balanced diet and aerobic exercise are key components for reducing belly fat, plank exercises are also beneficial for trimming your waistline. The plank position challenges your entire body, with a particular emphasis on your abdominal muscles. Exercise variations of the plank build lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more fat and calories your body is able to burn, which contributes to a decrease in belly fat. Practice the series of plank exercises two to three times per week for best results. Be sure to do a few minutes of light cardio to warm your muscles first.
The plank shift is a subtle movement that yields noticeable results. Begin in a plank position with your wrists directly beneath your shoulders and your legs straight behind you while you balance on the balls of your feet. While maintaining a neutral spine, shift forward so your shoulders pass over your fingers, then rock back to your starting position. Continue with the forward-and-back shifting motion for 10 repetitions. Begin with one set and increase to three sets as your strength improves.
Slim your belly and challenge your balance with side planks. Begin facing sideways with your right hand under your shoulder, your left leg stacked on top of your right leg while balanced on the side of your right foot. Keep your body in one straight diagonal line. Hold your position for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat on your opposite side. Complete two to three repetitions on each side.
Low Plank to High Plank
Begin in a low plank, balanced on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders and your legs extended behind you. Activate your abdominal muscles as you straighten your right arm and place your hand on the ground. Repeat on the other side and straighten your left arm so you are in a full plank position. Bend your right elbow followed by your left and come back to your low plank position. Continue to alternate between high and low planks for 10 repetitions.
Begin in a plank position with your feet placed slightly wider than your hips. Without lifting your hips, lift your right leg in the air, no higher than your bottom. Hold for 10 seconds then lower and repeat with your left leg. For an additional challenge, extend the opposite arm forward while your leg is lifted. Complete five repetitions on each side.