To Eliminate Belly Fat, Here Are the Best Plank Workouts

The best plank workouts for belly fat, according to trainers.

There’s a reason why planks are one of the most popular workouts and are incorporated into all different types of fitness classes: One of the biggest benefits of this exercise is building core strength and overall stability.

“Many people only think of the core as your abdominal muscles but the reality is your core is so much more than that,” says Alissa Tucker, AKT Master Trainer. “Your core consists of the abdominal complex as well as the back, hips and pelvis. These are also the muscles responsible for stabilizing the body. Planks help to improve stability by working all of these muscles at once.”

While the best way to lose belly fat is to eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and work to create a calorie deficit, planks can also help target belly fat as they work abdominal muscles. But not all plank workouts are created equal! Here are the top plank workouts that can reduce the look of belly fat. 

Best Plank Exercises for Belly Fat

1. Plank/semi-plank or hover hold

“This workout strengthens the abdominals, legs, arms and shoulders, and enhances shoulder stability,” says Portia Page, PT, NCPT, Balanced Body Master Instructor.

There are four levels.

  • All-Fours (level 1): Drop to all fours, taking the knees under the hips and the hands under the shoulders. Be sure that you have enough room between the hands and the knees to lengthen your torso to a neutral line. Press the hands firmly into the floor to activate the upper arms and roll the shoulders away from the ears while lifting the sternum to bring the head in line with the upper back and torso. Hold for 30 seconds and take a break and try again for another 30 seconds.

  • Semi-plank (level 2): Get into the all-fours position and walk both hands about 5-6 inches in front of your chest. Move the shoulders back over the hands and open (extend) the hips to make a long line from the shoulders to the hips. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

  • Plank (level 3): Follow the instructions for level 2. Once established in the semi-plank position, tuck the toes under and press into the feet while straightening the legs. Keep the torso long and straight and the hips in line with the shoulders. Hold for 30-90 seconds.

  • Hover (level 4 and modification for weak wrists): This position is also good for wrist issues or pain. From the semi-plank position, lower the elbows to the floor under the shoulders. Keep the hands in line with the shoulders or allow the hands to come toward one another to make a triangle of the forearms and hands. Either stay in this position for 30-90 seconds, or to further challenge the core and upper body, press into the forearms and reach back through the heels to lift the knees off the floor and create a long line from the back of the head through the legs and to the heels.

Related: How To Do the Perfect Plank—And 3 Variations to Try Once You Master the Move

“[These] plank series include moves on all planes of motion to target all the muscles of the core as well as cardio plank exercises to increase the heart rate,” Tucker states. “Turn on your favorite high-energy song and repeat the following moves. Try to stay in your plank for the entire song.”

Related: Here's How Often You Actually Have to Work Out Your Abs to See Results—and the Best Moves to Try

2. Knee drops

This is a great move to bring awareness to the deep core muscles. Activating your deep core muscles (transverse abdominis) can help to create that “flat ab” appearance.

How to do it:

  • Begin in your plank position

  • Bend the knees and lower to tap the floor

  • Straighten the legs back to your full plank.

3. Hip rainbows

This move really targets the obliques.

How to do it:

  • Begin in your plank position

  • Twist the hips bringing one hip toward the floor

  • Switch sides

4. Oblique knee pulls

This is another great oblique burner.

How to do it:

  • Begin in your plank with the leg externally rotated

  • Draw the knee up to meet the same side elbow. Try to actually make contact with your elbow.

  • Return to plank position

  • Switch sides.

5. Twisted mountain climbers

This one will get the heart rate up, burning calories while also working the obliques and rectus abdominis (six-pack muscles).

How to do it:

  • Begin in a plank

  • Bend one knee and draw it in and across the body to meet the opposite side elbow. Try to make contact with the elbow.

  • Return to the plank and repeat on the other side. Pick up the speed to increase your heart rate.

Next up: Want Your Strongest Core Ever? Try This Trainer-Approved 30-Day Plank Challenge


  • Alissa Tucker, AKT Master Trainer

  • Portia Page, PT, NCPT, Balanced Body Master Instructor