The 'Secret to a Flat Stomach' Workout – The Plank!

One of the leading questions I get from women, especially any woman who has ever had a baby, is, "How the heck can you achieve a tight flat toned stomach?"

If you’ve been doing thousands of crunches day after day, month after month, with NO results, it doesn’t mean you are hopeless. I’m telling you right now, crunches will NOT get you 6-pack abs! So, how can you get washboard abs?  Let me introduce you to plank exercises. Performing planks is one of the most effective core exercises!


Before I get into the details of planks, it’s important to discuss why I’m not advocating crunches.  The first thing to note is that you can’t spot reduce belly fat by performing crunches or any other exercise.  You have to lose enough body fat through high intensity exercising and a strong diet before you have any chance of seeing your abs (see some high intensity workouts HERE).

More importantly, crunches don’t really qualify as an effective abdominal exercise.  Abs are part of core muscles that are meant to stabilize your body and keep your spine straight.  Crunches involve the exact opposite movement, whereby you flex your spine and “crunch” at your back’s weakest point.  This puts more strain on your lower back and your posture suffers.


Plank exercises not only work your abdominals, they work your entire core.  By forcing your body to stabilize itself in one position, planks work both your abdominal muscles as well as your back muscles, and as busy people we love the multi-tasking elements of planks.  A significant advantage of planks in terms of developing better looking abs is that they work the transverse abdominus (that holds in the rectus abdominus), while crunches focus on the rectus abdominus alone.  What will happen with crunches alone (aside from back pain) is that your abs will stick out when viewed from the side (not exactly the look you’re going for;).

So enough talk! Hopefully you have a clear understanding of why planks are better than crunches.

Now it’s time for our PLANK WORKOUT!

Basic Plank – 30 Seconds

10 sec break

Plank with Leg Lifts – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Plank with Arm Lift – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Side Plank Twists (right) – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Side Plank Twists (left) – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Side Plank Hip Drop (right) – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Side Plank Hip Drop (left) – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Front Plank Shoulder-Ups – 30 seconds

10 sec break

Plank V-Jumps – 1 min

Total Workout Time: 5 Minutes!

Abs on fire??? I know the first few times through this is VERY tough and you may be tempted to quit. Fight the urge, try to make it through, you can do anything for 30 seconds – do this for yourself! It’s like anything, you need to start somewhere – whether it means modifying the positions, taking longer breaks, whatever gets you through it. So drop and plank NOW! 

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