Belly fat, also known as stomach fat or abdominal fat is fat tissue usually found in the midriff area of the human body, surrounding the abdominal organs. Though most people are focused on getting rid of belly fat because of vanity reasons, it is also very important to eliminate excess abdominal fat as a way of managing and/or preventing heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, some cancers and early death which are all linked to high amounts of fat in that area.
Basically, to get rid of belly fat, workouts have to be of high intensity and should involve functional exercises that involve the core/abdominals in order to burn more calories at a higher rate. The muscle group referred to as the ‘abdominals’ is actually made up of many interconnected muscles that run across the back and go down the butt and the thighs both the front and inner thighs. A good example of such an exercise is the plank.
The plank is an isometric exercise that involves holding your body up in a position close to a push-up for as long as possible/maximum time. Planks not only strengthen your core but also involves the main muscles in the lower and upper body providing a full body work out meaning more calories are burnt at a higher rate. No equipment is needed for this exercise, but enough workout area space is key.
How to perform ‘the Plank’ exercise
1. Begin in a press up position
2. Elbows should be bent to 90 degrees, directly below your shoulders, body weight resting on your forearms, as opposed to your hands in a usual push up.
3. Your body should then be aligned in a straight line from your head to your shoulders to your feet.
4. Involve your core muscles by sucking in your belly and avoid touching the ground.
5. Hold this position for the maximum time or the recommended time.
The resiliency to injury of one’s lower back improves, the longer one can hold the plank for. This exercise will also help your abs look better as fat is burned off them with its continuous and perfect execution. Performing it severally throughout the day, trying to increase the holding time is a good way to practice it.
If you are a beginner or simply do not have the core strength yet to perform the basic plank, you can start off with a bent-knee plank before you build up to the regular one. If a regular plank gets too easy for you, that is if you can hold it for more than two minutes easily, you can consider looking into other tougher variations, for example, lifting one leg up or lifting one arm up.
In summary, the plank exercise can be used as part of a nutrition plan to help tighten and tone the belly muscles, ultimately reducing belly fat and defining the shape of your abdomen muscles beneath your skin. Though this exercise strengthens the core, it works best and hand in hand with eating healthy and watching your calories to ensure the best results.