Why Does My Belly Hang When I Do Planking Exercise?

The primary cause of stomach overhang is excess fat gathered in the area around the midriff. If you wish to remove this fat, you need to reduce the fat both on the surface.

By: Gretchen Reynolds, Published on: 2023-11-20, Last Updated: 03-08-24

Reviewed by: Adam Wright

Table of Contents


Planking is an exercise many people talk about and try, especially when they want to strengthen their core muscles. But have you ever noticed your belly hanging down while doing a plank? If yes, you're not alone. Many people face this, and there can be a few reasons for it. This blog aims to shed light on why this might happen and offer solutions to address it. Whether you're new to planking or have been doing it for a while, this guide will help you understand the exercise better and how to get the most out of it.

What is Planking?

Planking is a type of exercise where you hold your body in a position similar to a push-up for a set amount of time. Instead of moving up and down like in a push-up, in a plank, you stay in one place. The key is to keep your body straight, like a wooden plank, and hold it using your arm and leg muscles.

What are the Benefits of Planking?

Planking is more than just a trendy exercise. It offers many benefits:

Strengthens Your Core: The main muscles you use in planking are in your core, which includes your stomach and lower back. A strong core can help with balance and everyday activities.

Improves Posture: When you do planks regularly, you can sit and stand straighter because your back and core muscles become stronger.

Enhances Flexibility: Holding a plank stretches and strengthens your shoulder, collarbone, and foot muscles, making you more flexible.

Builds Endurance: As you hold the plank for longer and longer times, your endurance improves. This means you can do activities for longer without getting tired.

Why Does Your Belly Hang When You Do Planking Exercise?

Seeing your belly hang during a plank might be puzzling, especially if you're trying to strengthen that area. Let's explore some of the reasons this might happen:

1. You May have Weak Core Muscles

Our body relies on strong core muscles to hold a plank position well. If your core muscles aren't strong enough yet, your belly might sag. It's a sign that you need to work on strengthening these muscles.

2. You May Have Excess Belly Fat

Sometimes, it's not just about muscle strength. If there's extra fat in the belly area, it might hang down during a plank. Reducing this fat can help improve the appearance and form of your plank.

3. You May Have Poor Posture

If you've developed a habit of slouching or not standing straight, this can impact your plank form. A good posture ensures that all your muscles are aligned properly during the exercise.

4. You May be Doing the Plank Incorrectly

Planking seems simple, but there's a right and wrong way to do it. If not done correctly, it can result in your belly hanging down.

5. Do Other Core Exercises Besides Planking

Mix in exercises like crunches, sit-ups, and leg raises. These exercises focus on different parts of your core, giving you a well-rounded workout.

6. Use a Resistance Band or Weight Machine

Adding resistance to your core exercises can make them more challenging, helping to build strength faster.

7. Focus on Engaging your Core Muscles During all of your Workouts

Whether you're lifting weights, doing cardio, or even just walking, think about tightening and engaging your core. This can turn almost any activity into a core-strengthening one!

How to Reduce Belly Fat

While planking is a great exercise to strengthen the core, reducing belly fat requires a more holistic approach. Here are some effective steps to help you on this journey:

1. Eat a Healthy Diet and Create a Calorie Deficit

The food you eat plays a crucial role in how your body looks and feels. Prioritize whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods, sugary snacks, and sodas. Remember, to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This is known as creating a calorie deficit.

2. Do Regular Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercises, like jogging, swimming, cycling, or even brisk walking, can help burn calories and reduce overall body fat. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week. You can also use the tool to calculate calories and maintain your weight.

3. Strength Train your Entire Body

While it's essential to focus on the core, working out all your muscle groups is equally important. This not only helps in burning more calories but also gives a balanced and toned look to your entire body.

How to Improve Your Posture

A good posture can make a significant difference in how you look and feel, especially when doing exercises like planking. Here's how to work on it:

1. Stand up Straight with your Shoulders Back and your Head Held High

Think of a string pulling you up from the top of your head. This visualization can help maintain a straight posture.

2. Avoid Slouching or Hunching Over

When sitting, especially at a desk or computer, be mindful of your posture. Use chairs that support your lower back and keep your feet flat on the ground.

3. Do Exercises to Strengthen your Back and Shoulder Muscles

Exercises like rows, pull-ups, and shoulder presses can help strengthen the muscles that support a good posture.

How to Do the Plank Correctly

Executing the plank with proper form is crucial not only for the best results but also to prevent injuries. Here's a step-by-step guide:

1. Start in a Push-up Position With your Forearms on the Ground

Place your forearms parallel to each other and directly underneath your shoulders. Your hands can be flat on the ground or clasped together.

2. Make Sure your Body Forms a Straight Line From your Head to your Heels

Avoid letting your hips sag down or push up too high. Your body should be as straight as a board.

3. Engage your Core Muscles and Hold the Position for as Long as you can

Imagine pulling your belly button towards your spine. This activates the core muscles, ensuring that you get the maximum benefit from the exercise. Remember, it's not about how long you can hold it, but how well you can maintain the right form.


Planking is an outstanding exercise for building core strength and endurance. But like all exercises, its effectiveness depends on proper execution and understanding the associated factors. Whether your belly hangs due to weak core muscles, excess belly fat, poor posture, or incorrect technique, there are actionable steps you can take to improve. 

By strengthening your core, reducing belly fat, practicing good posture, and ensuring correct plank form, you're on your way to mastering this beneficial exercise.

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