That bit of stomach that ‘overhangs’ when you do planks. It sounds like something made up, but believe me – it’s not at all unusual for me to get questions about this.

When you do planks or push-ups, you rest on your elbows or hands and knees or toes. You contract your abdominal muscles (pulling your navel in towards your spine and keeping your pelvis neutral) throughout the exercise, and if you don’t, you will feel it in your lower back (very common with planking – DON’T push through the pain). When you do a plank, you HAVE TO engage your core almost automatically – it is pretty much impossible to do a plank and not squeeze your abdominal muscles.

So, back to that ‘overhang’ that some people worry about. 

Get into a plank position, pull your navel in and hold, firm and strong – now look at your stomach. Do you see an overhang?

If yes – congratulations! You are normal.

When you perform planks or push-ups, you are working against gravity. Gravity sucks in a lot of ways (especially as you get older). Lie on your back and your stomach will be flat. And you will immediately feel better. It’s just like all those people on Instagram who show off their abs while lying down. How many of them have you seen in plank position? None. Right?

If you’ve had children, been overweight but lost weight, have stubborn belly fat or a combination of all three, your stomach will sag. It’s natural. Skin stretches with pregnancy and the older you get, the looser your skin becomes.

What to think about: How many people see you in this position? Probably VERY few people. So why worry about it? Get on with doing your planks and push-ups!