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Using this planks for beginners challenge as an addition to your weight loss plan is a great way to target different muscle groups in a short amount of time. One common mistake women over 40 make when losing weight is not using strength training to burn more calories.

One thing all women have in common is wanting to get rid of belly fat. Using plank variations like the ones in this challenge will help you to lose your belly fat by toning ab muscles.

Nutrition such as a keto diet (can be done short term for fast, sustainable weight loss) like this 21 day keto challenge is great for losing fat, but the other part of looking and feeling great after 40 is toning muscles. Toned muscles are what gives your body a firmer, more slimming and younger look.

So, let’s get started with your planks for beginners challenge!

woman doing planks for beginners challenge

Do planks burn belly fat?

There are a couple of different aspects of your belly fat. Muscles and fat.

When you gained weight, your muscles grew to accommodate your larger belly. When you lose weight, your muscles need time to shorten and adjust to your new size.

Even though you have changed your nutrition to burn fat such as the Keto diet, which is designed to help you burn fat stored in your body, you can’t target specific areas.

Your body is going to burn fat wherever it can find it, so if you want to increase the shape and size of your stomach, then you should look at exercises that engage your core. Core exercises will tone and help to reshape your abs to the slimmer look you desire.

Do Planks Burn Calories for Weight Loss?

How many calories does planking burn? The short answer to that is not very many.

However, the goal for bodyweight exercises like plans is not to burn calories, but instead to strengthen muscles. It is much more complex than just thinking planks for weight loss as the goal. Planks for beginners is a great way to jumpstart your goals. 

If you are looking to burn fat and increase your weight loss, adding a plank routine is a great idea! Will it burn fat on it’s own? No. Will it tone your muscles and increase the effectiveness of a good workout routine? Yes.

I often say nutrition and workouts together is the complete package. You can’t get fit and healthy by choosing just one of them.

The fastest way to a tighter tummy, improved posture, and increased flexibility is to incorporate plank exercises into your daily routine. When you plank, you target your core muscles as well as so many other muscles all throughout your body.

The core muscles include all of your ab muscles, your glutes, your hips, and the muscles on the sides of your abs that stretch to your back. A plank will target all of these muscles at once.

The great news is you can plank for less than a few minutes a day to see results in these areas! 

Within the first few days and weeks, you will begin to notice more definition and strength without a lot of muscle bulk.

While planking will help these muscles, you will not see the effect you are looking for without proper diet changes and increasing your cardio.

The Keto diet and a good regular cardio workout routine will give your planks the boost they need to be highly effective in toning your tummy and the surrounding areas.

Getting Started with Planks for Beginners

If you are ready to get started with planking, I have an excellent plank challenge for beginners printable chart that will help get you started.

It will likely feel difficult at first, but if you start off slowly, your muscles will begin to recognize what you are expecting as you begin to add more time onto the plank. I remember the first time I started planking – my arms shook and 15 seconds felt like an eternity. The results are worth it though! 

If you have back pain or have had back pain in the past, definitely take it easy. I have an awful back (6 deteriorated discs at different degrees of bulging and even torn) and if I have taken too long of a break, my back gets weak. Once I get back to exercising, the plank is my first exercise since it targets that area so efficiently. However, it also is the most vulnerable to injury. 

Take this exercise as slow as you can, and stop the instant you feel the pain. Do not ever push through the pain when dealing with back pain. You can end up hurting yourself a lot worse in the long run if you don’t listen to your body and take a break when you need it.

You can start a plank on your knees if you need modifications. Starting where you are in a plank position you can handle will help prevent injury and demotivation.  Eventually, you will work up enough strength to do a full plank. For optimal efficiency, adding three reps of planks a day will help you achieve the look you want.

For optimal fat burning, try incorporating planks into your daily workout routine. If you don’t have a routine yet, something like this fasted cardio workout is ideal.

You are already increasing the fat oxidation (burning fat for body fuel) in your body, and adding your plank onto your cardio is a good combination when working out. The goal of a plank is tone, not build, muscles. 

woman doing plank on track for a challenge

Plank Workout Challenge for Beginners

When working to increase core strength, it’s important to remember there are several muscles that make up our core. Using plank variations will help to target different muscles in your upper body that together make up your core.

Below you will see different examples of planks to alternate daily. I would recommend starting off a few seconds with each one if you are able. One plank mistake to avoid is poor form. It would be better to do fewer variations with proper form than risk injury. Pop over to this post for full details on proper plank form. 

Modified Arm Plank for Beginners

A great way to start your plank challenge. Be sure to print the challenge tracker to visually see your progress! Feel free to do this as a forearm plank on your knees also.

 

woman doing a modified plank on knees

 

Side Plank

Definitely a more advanced plank, but a great one to target obliques, your core muscles on your sides. This image is shown in full arm plank but can be modified by using your forearm and bending your outside knee to use your foot to help keep your hips elevated. Even doing this for a few seconds at a time is beneficial and will strengthen your muscles over time.

woman on beach doing side arm plank

 

Planks for beginners challenge is a great way to increase your fitness level and see results fast. By just following the challenge worksheet, and following a healthy diet, you will see and feel better in just a few weeks.