All the struggles you see people putting themselves through at the gym might be geared towards reducing the readings at the BMI chart, but if you look keenly or ask, you will find that the underlying reason for the pain is abs.
Abs will bring out the sexiness in you, but most importantly, abs are a measure of your strength.
Most of the people with abs are said to have the strongest of cores, and overall incredible strength exuded from other parts of the body. And the abs/ strong core will only be seen once you’ve burned belly fat.
So, which is the best exercise for burning belly fat?
Is there an ultimate plan for burning and losing belly fat? What is the secret to losing belly fat?
If you’ve asked the internet and your friends all or one of the questions above innumerable times, you understand just how hard it is to lose fat around your mid-section.
In fact, belly fat and generally fat around the middle section is the hardest and the toughest body fat to shed.
The sadder bit is that as you age, people, especially women, tend to have a lot more fat accumulated around the abdomen area.
The accumulation of the belly fat seems to somehow happen overnight, and most people will tell you that they never really saw it coming.
Even with the early signs of flabbiness, they never expected to see themselves where they are currently.
These rapid changes in women result from estrogen, and research from the Translational Research Institute reveals that the belly fat is often from the redistribution of fat in the abdomen and not fat gains.
Even so, the struggle with belly fat remains one of the most painful struggled, and even though you have the option of blaming estrogen, it’s time to work on a solution that would help deal with belly fat effectively.
Now, there are numerous diet and exercise regimens that have been recommended as the best in burning belly fat, but before we look at these options, an understanding of belly fat is important.
About Belly Fat
Abdominal fat is either subcutaneous or the visible kind that lies right under your skin or visceral fat, which is often embedded deep in your abdomen, wrapping itself comfortably around your organs.
Between the two, subcutaneous fat is quite easy to get rid of, but losing visceral fat is tougher, and it also poses a great risk to your health.
As a result, losing visceral fat is quite hard, and it’s the reason why we all struggle to lose fat.
But fat is not all bad.
Contrary to the belief that belly fat is all bad and that you need to work on getting rid of that whole mess, some of the fat depots in the body have a specialized function and they are not storage bins for calories all the time.
Fat, just like your muscle, is metabolically active, and it produces several chemicals, which include hormones that will signal your brain when you are either hungry or sated.
Scientists now regard some of the visceral fat as endocrine organs that release important hormones.
However, the good that the fat tissues/ organs do is not reason enough for us to keep flabby bellies all around, and let’s not forget that you would never be able to burn all the fat from the body.
Your intention should be to burn off all the extra fats that would pose a great risk to your health.
To do that, you need the right workout regimen, exercise, and a diet that promotes fat burning or, rather, one that reduces the chances of more fat deposits.
So, which is the best exercise for burning belly fat?
While any exercise that would raise your metabolism would result in fat burning, one exercise is regarded as the ultimate exercise for burning belly fat. We are talking about planks.
Planks for Burning Belly Fat?
Even though some experts are against the primary use of planks for burning belly fat, the plank is one of the most powerful exercises when it comes to sculpting the abdominal area.
As mentioned above, sculpting your belly area will be the toughest challenge you ever put up for yourself.
The good news, however, is that it is quite possible for you to sculpt your stomach even if you currently have the flabbiest of tummies. When used along with other exercises, planks are extremely effective.
What does planking do?
Planking focuses on the anterior stability of your body, and it prevents the lumbar extension of your spine, also called the spinal arch. Planking strengthens the traverse abdominis, the deepest of your core muscles.
Although this is not your best move when it comes to burning fat because it’s a spot-reduction focused exercise, it helps a great deal when done along with other exercises.
Planks work the anterior core; these are the core muscles that make up the front section of your core, for example, the rectus abdominis, which is responsible for that six-pack you are chasing.
As an anterior stability exercise that stabilizes the traverse abdominis, planking would easily be the best exercise to do for a stabilized pelvis and spine.
What it all means is that while the planks will not burn belly fat on their own – planks cause spot reduction, and spot reduction doesn’t really help with fat burning.
So, if you are wondering if planking would burn belly fat on its own, the answer is no, not really.
A plank is effective in strengthening your core muscles – strong and actively used muscles encourage fat burning for energy, and when used along with other exercises, you will lose belly fat.
To lose belly fat, you must focus on specific movements that call for additional energy for their effectiveness.
In short, the key to burning fat with more ease is to engage in a series of compound exercises – exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at once, meaning a higher rate of burning fats.
And in as much as a minute spent in the planking position could be your longest minute as your arms collapse under the weight of the body and you breathing so hard you think your heart and lungs would pop, there is very minimal energy/ calorie expenditure from planks.
Why do planks?
If it doesn’t burn fats, why should you torture your body with planks?
Well, it might not lead to much in terms of energy expenditure; planking is the most effective exercise for strengthening and toning the core.
This isometric exercise performed in a static position involves the concerted efforts of the lower back, the glutes, abdominal muscles, pelvis, diaphragm, and the hips. The plank will also strengthen and tone the muscles in your arms and the legs.
Note that a plank will burn 2-5 calories each minute, although the total number of calories you burn from a plank will depend on other factors, for example, your body weight, rate of metabolism, and your muscle-to-fat ratio, among others.
If you want to buy more calories, put in more time. The catch, however, is that planking gets harder by the second, which is why it is better incorporated into your workout routine.
Correct Plank Position
If you are planking right, you will engage your rectus abdominis, the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and the external obliques. To target all these muscles, you need to maintain good form.
Keep in mind that doing a 20-second plank in the right position is more effective in muscle building than doing a 1-minute plank in the wrong position.
Here’s how you do a plank:
- Lie facing down on the mat
- Raise up your torso to rest on your forearms with your elbows right under the shoulders.
- Squeeze your glutes and inner thighs together
- Curl in your toes
- Draw the belly button all the way in and focus on engaging the core
- Raise your knees and keep the back straight and flat
- Hold your body in a straight line, neck relaxed, and your head’s crown stretched forward slightly
- Keep gazing down at the floor
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and increase the time as your endurance increases.
How to lose belly fat
First thing first – there is no one exercise that will help burn fats. You need a workout routine that incorporates several other exercises that target different muscle groups for you to lose all that abdominal fat and for a flat tummy.
If you already have an ab routine or if your instructor has you on an ab routine, you need to ensure that you throw planks into the mix.
Burning fats requires the concerted efforts of the compound exercises, including pushups and squats, all exercises designed to target different muscle groups and burn fats.
Here are some of the things that will help burn belly fat
Stop being a couch potato
Whether you wish to lose belly fat or fat in any other parts of the body, the first, most important thing you need to do is to get moving. Take a brisk walk for 45 minutes at least 5 times each week.
In addition to boosting your lung function, cardio reduces the inflammation of visceral fat, which is the cause of most of the lifestyle diseases we now grapple with.
Therefore, you need to do exercises that raise your heart rate significantly.
High-Intensity Interval Training is regarded as one of the most effective workouts when you are looking for great results fast.
The powerful energy bursts make use of fats as an energy source while the rests between the exercises encourage the body to flush out waster products accumulated in the muscles.
The coolest bit about HIIT exercises, however, is that they suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin.
For the best HIIT effects, you need to combine strength training workouts along with intervals to get your heart rate up and to get your heart rate pumping.
HIIT workouts torch calories, and they will effectively decrease belly fat. For even better results from HIIT exercises, target 45-60 minutes workouts.
The bottom line when it comes to working hard to burn belly fat is to mix strength and cardio exercises in ways that will offer the best results.
Mix the high with the low-intensity workouts and always engage your entire body. As long as you put in the work and eat right, you will be unrecognizable in months.
Pick up resistance training
If you are new to working out tirelessly, crying and sweating, you may not be ready to hear this, but when it comes to losing weight/ burning fats, resistance training has to be a good friend.
Resistance training is one of the most effective exercises for building muscle.
Now, muscle is your best friend when it comes to burning belly fats because having more muscle boosts your metabolism, which means more fat is burned and used as fuel.
For the best results, you need to consider lifting more weights, since weightlifting is seen to be more effective in burning fats than cardio workouts.
So, target at least 30-minute resistance training sessions 2/3 times each week before you switch up to the lower and the upper body exercises.
That said, the best exercises to help you lose belly fat include the best of core-stabilization exercises.
Planks do an incredible job at training your muscles because the planking moves stabilize your pelvis and the spine.
And the best part is that the planks will help in pain alleviation and the improvement of your posture.
Crunches will only work the muscles at the front and also the sides of the abdomen. But if you want to gain abs, you need to work all your muscle groups and the exercises recommended above will help you get there.
Embrace a healthy diet
You’ve heard that abs are made in the kitchen and revealed at the gym. Put simply, what you eat plays a significant role in determining whether you will burn the belly fat or not.
So, balance your meals, reduce your intake of carbohydrates, stack up on healthy snacks, go green – take green tea, and eat healthy foods with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids/ MUFAs to keep the belly fat at bay.
The Holistic Approach
And if you want to try or add something new and holistic, a practice with roots in ancient tribes in the villages of Nepal, The Flat Belly System might be a good option for you as well – this system focuses on the unobstructed flow of energy throughout your core, and it does more than crunches will ever do because it results in a natural state of balance.
The system will leave you feeling invigorated, with a flat tummy, and you’ll look years younger.
Conclusion – Do Planks Burn Belly Fat?
Planks are effective in the toning and strengthening of abdominal muscles.
They will help make the abs pronounced, but only if you incorporate planks into a strict workout regimen that combines strength, core, and resistance training, along with a healthy diet.
The calories burned by planking is too minimal to make much of a difference in belly fat. So, take up compound exercises to burn belly fat.