When we see fitness instructors conducting the perfect plank in their workout videos, they’re often not the best example if you’re trying to get a realistic picture of home exercise.
With super buff arms, rippled backs, and tight cores, they seem almost otherworldly. Perhaps recently when you’ve been in the middle of planking, you’ve noticed that unlike the instructors in these videos, yours tends to hang down, away from your core.
If this is the case, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is something that a lot of people experience whilst performing the plank position, especially if you’ve been on a weight loss journey.
We’ve compiled this handy guide to help you figure out all there is to know about planking, including why your belly hangs in this position.
To find out more, simply keep reading below, as we take a closer look.
What Is Planking?
Now, before we jump straight in and answer all of your questions regarding planking, first, let’s take a closer look at what planking really is, for those who don’t already know.
The plank position is a kind of core exercise that can help to strengthen and tighten your abdominal muscles.
It’s an easy one to figure out (although not always so easy to sustain), and involves lying on the floor with either your hands and elbows supporting your weight. You then lift yourself up, so that your feet are also holding you upwards, with your toes positioned closely together.
It’s a great position if you’re looking for a full body exercise, purely because it engages so many muscles that aren’t just limited to your core. Planking also engages your obliques, your shoulders, and your glutes.
The goal of planking is to be able to hold the position for as long as possible. You can support yourself with your arms, and see how long you can stay this way without having to give in and lie on the floor. The longer your practice, the more adept you’ll become at planking.
Why Does My Belly Hang When I Do The Planking Exercise?
So, why don’t we just jump straight in and answer the titular question? Why exactly, does your belly hang down in the middle of a planking position? Well, first of all, we’d like to point out that this is incredibly normal, and is experienced by many when adopting this position.
The key reason why this may be happening is because you’re not fully engaging the muscles in your core. Because the goal of the planking position is to get your spine to fall completely flat, you must contract your abdominal muscles in order to do this. Check out your posture in the mirror, and see if you’re adequately squeezing your muscles.
Alternatively, if you’ve recently been on a weight loss journey, you may also feel as though your belly hangs during the planking exercise. This isn’t always the case though, because if you’ve lost a lot of weight, chances are that you’ve got some extra skin in places.
Rather than your actual stomach hanging down in this position, you might just be feeling the extra skin gravitating downward.
Additionally, if you’re somebody who is currently overweight, then this might cause your stomach to hang, purely because of the gravitational pull.
If you’re holding yourself correctly, with your back straightened, elbows under your shoulders, and your core engaged, and this is still occurring, then don’t worry, because this is completely normal.
What Are Some Of The Key Benefits Of Planking?
Now that we’ve covered why your belly might be hanging when you perform a planking position, we can move on to discuss some of the key benefits of planking.
As we mentioned briefly above, this is a position that engages many different areas of your body, not just your core, so it can be highly beneficial when you’re trying to find a full body exercise to perform.
- Improved Posture – One of the key benefits of planking is that it can actually help to improve your posture over time. Because you’re training your back to rest in a completely flat position, this will help to strengthen and engage those specific muscles.
- No Equipment – Another major benefit of planking is that you don’t need any equipment in order to perform this type of exercise. You can literally drop down and perform this exercise anytime and anywhere. Experts recommend performing a set of 30 second planks each morning when you first wake up.
- Gateway Exercise – Another great thing about planking is that it’s a great gateway exercise for being able to perform a number of different, more complex exercises. For example, if you need to perform something such as a deadlift, you’ll need that strong core granted by your plank exercises.
To sum up, planking is a fantastic way to engage your arms, core, obliques, and your back. If you notice that your stomach hangs down when you perform this exercise, it may be because you’re not contracting your muscles effectively enough, or your back is not completely straight.
It could also be because you’re overweight, or perhaps you’ve recently been on a weight loss journey, and this is actually extra skin, rather than your stomach hanging down.