Have you been performing endless crunches and sit-ups in hopes of slimming down your waist and aren't noticing results? We understand the frustration. Unfortunately, ab exercises aren't the best moves to get rid of abdominal fat. Instead, your main focus should be on core stability exercises, such as plank and plank variations. In honor of that, we've curated five of the best plank exercises to help lose five inches of belly fat. Planks are ultra-effective in helping build up your core, which will improve your performance in other strength exercises and allow you to build muscle and burn more fat.
When compared to fat on your thighs or hips, having fat in the midsection can lead to major health risks. And it doesn't matter what your body shape is; carrying around extra fat just isn't healthy. According to Harvard Health Publishing, location is really everything when speaking of excess fat. Too much belly fat—aka visceral fat—can cause asthma, dementia, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer.
In order to get that belly of yours back into shape, we're here with some productive suggestions. Although planks alone may not help you lose five inches of belly fat, when combined with a healthy diet and a solid strength training regimen, you'll be on your way to reaching the fat loss goal you desire. Add the below exercises to your workout pronto, and your waistline will be so glad you did! Perform them either one at a time or back to back in a giant circuit fashion.
Plank Touch Reach
The first of these exercises to lose five inches of belly fat is the Plank Touch Reach. To set up, assume a classic pushup with your feet positioned wide. Reach one of your hands to the opposite toe. Once you touch your foot, slide back into the plank as you fully stretch out your working arm. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps on one side before switching to the other.
Next up, it's time for Plank Jacks. Get into a pushup position with both of your feet together. With your hands firmly placed on the floor, jump both feet out into a wide position, then bring them back in. Be sure to keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the exercise. Continue moving until all reps are completed. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps.
Plank to Pushup
Plank to Pushup starts out in a forearm plank position with your back and core tight and your glutes squeezed. Push yourself up with one hand, and then finish with the other to get into a pushup. Return to the plank position, and then start the movement with the other arm, alternating between your planks and pushups. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 3 to 5 reps for each arm.
Plank Shoulder Taps
Plank Shoulder Taps have you getting into a pushup position with your shoulders in line with your wrists and your hips high. Keep your core tight as you take one hand and reach for the opposite shoulder. Touch your shoulder, then bring your hand back to the starting position and reach with the other. While you're performing this movement, keep your glutes squeezed and your back as straight as possible. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps for each arm.
Long Lever Plank
The Long Lever Plank is the same as a regular plank but your elbows are further out. This makes the position much tougher to hold. When performing this exercise, you want to make absolutely sure your core is tight and your glutes are squeezed. Maintain tension in your abs the entire time. Aim for 3 to 4 sets of holding your plank for 20 to 30 seconds.