Best Exercises for Belly Fat Loss: 6 Core Workouts to Try

Looking to lose belly fat? These exercises can help strengthen your core as well as build and tone surrounding muscles.


Nicolle Monico
Updated 19 January 2022
Best Exercises for Belly Fat Loss: 6 Core Workouts to Try
Sections on this page
  1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for Belly Fat Loss
  2. Burpees for Belly Fat Loss
  3. Mountain Climbers for Belly Fat  Loss
  4. Planks for Belly Fat Loss
  5. Overhead Medicine Ball Slams for Belly Fat Loss
  6. Russian Twists for Belly Fat Loss
  7. Bicycle Crunches for Belly Fat Loss
  8. Frequently Asked Questions

No matter your age, body composition, or fitness level—the abdomen is one of the hardest areas to lose belly fat. While you may want to slim down to be more comfortable in your clothing, belly fat loss can also decrease your risk of more serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure.

But whatever your motivation, we put together a list of the best exercises for belly fat loss as recommended by trainers. Keep in mind that to lose belly fat, you’ll need to reduce your whole body’s fat percentage since you have no real control over where you'll lose the fat first.

Additionally, these exercises should be used as complements to a healthy and balanced eating plan to really see results.

 

Types of Belly Fat

  • Subcutaneous fat: This is the soft, or jiggly, layer of fat that sits directly under the skin that you can grab with your hands. This type of fat is generally harmless and may even protect against some diseases.
  • Visceral fat: This is the stuff you can’t see and the most dangerous type of fat. Visceral fat surrounds your body’s organs and is associated with a number of diseases.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for Belly Fat Loss

Research shows that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) significantly reduces visceral fat around the whole body, but is an especially useful exercise for burning belly fat. HIIT includes exercise routines that use intense exercises in short bursts followed by lower intensity moves and rest periods.

For example, this might look like:

  1. 20 seconds all-out (go as hard as you can)
  2. 30-second rest
  3. Repeat for 4:00 minutes

Typically, HIIT workouts are around 10-30 minutes long or 4-6 reps per set depending on the activity and your intensity level.

How to Get Started

  • If you’re new to HIIT, make sure you start with an exercise, intensity level, and impact level that you’re already comfortable with, especially if you are rehabbing from an injury.
  • Make sure your rest periods are equal to or longer than your workout periods.
  • If you are doing an activity for 20 seconds, rest for 20-30 seconds before jumping back into it.
  • Keep active periods to under 30 seconds; remember, you’re going all out for these, and it can be harder to sustain this level of intensity for longer periods.
  • Only incorporate a few HIIT cycles per week in your exercise routine. This shouldn’t be your main form of physical activity because it can be very taxing on your body.

Burpees for Belly Fat Loss

Burpees are a great way to work out not only your core, but also your full body. It also uses plyometrics to get your heart rate up which is great for burning belly fat. Typically, most people can do around 20 burpees a minute, which burns around 10-15 calories depending on your weight.

How to do Burpees

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart
  2. Get into a low squat by pushing your hips back as you lower your body toward the ground
  3. Place both hands in front of your feet and hop your feet back as your chest touches the ground
  4. Lift your body into a plank position by pressing your hands into the ground while lifting your body up
  5. Jump your feet forward toward your hands and put your weight in your heels
  6. Explosively jump up into the air raising your arms over head
  7. Return to starting position to complete 1 rep 

exercises for belly fat loss

Mountain Climbers for Belly Fat  Loss

One of the best exercises to burn belly fat is mountain climbers. These work your entire body and are great for strengthening your abdominals and lower back. Mountain climbers combine both cardio and muscle endurance while improving your stamina and performance.

With these, the more speed you add and the more you concentrate on keeping your abs tight, the better your chances of firming up your belly.

How to do Mountain Climbers

  1. Get into a high-plank position, putting your wrists directly under your shoulders
  2. Focus on tightening your core by drawing your belly button in toward your spine
  3. Drive your left knee toward your chest and then set it back down into plank position
  4. Repeat step 3 on your right side
  5. Return to starting position to complete 1 rep
  6. Continue alternating sides depending on the number of reps you want to complete 

 

Planks for Belly Fat Loss

A full body workout, planks are one of the best exercises for belly fat loss and a great calorie burner. It looks easy enough, but planks are deceivingly hard. Holding a plank position can also help improve posture and flexibility. For the best results, try to hold your plank for at least 60 seconds and repeat three times.

How to do a Plank

  1. Begin by lying on your stomach
  2. Place your elbows underneath your shoulders and flex your toes
  3. Lift your whole body parallel to the floor
  4. Either keep your elbows and forearms on the ground for a low plank or raise up onto your hands for a full plank
  5. Keep your glutes tucked under and engage your core
  6. Hold for 60 seconds
    • If you can’t hold it for this long, start with 30 seconds and increase your time by 5-10 seconds each rep until you’re able to hold it for a minute
  7. Bring yourself down to the ground onto your stomach to complete 1 rep

exercises for belly fat

Overhead Medicine Ball Slams for Belly Fat Loss

While throwing a ball on the ground doesn’t seem like the best exercise for belly fat, overhead medicine ball slams are harder and more beneficial than they look. In fact, medicine ball slams target many muscle groups through dynamic and explosive metabolic exercises.

This workout works on your endurance as you lift the ball overhead each rep, increasing your heart rate and potentially bringing you to your fat-burning heart rate zone if done quickly enough.

How to do Overhead Medicine Ball Slams 

  1. Hold the medicine ball with both hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Fully extend your body by reaching both arms overhead
  3. Slam (throw) the ball forward and down toward the ground as hard as you can
  4. Extend your arms toward the ground while slamming the ball and bend your knees as you hinge
  5. Squat to pick the ball up and stand fully up
  6. Return to starting position to complete 1 rep 

Russian Twists for Belly Fat Loss

Russian twists are one of the best exercises for belly fat since it targets your obliques (the sides of your abs) and can help tone your stomach. They are also great calorie burners since you can up your intensity and/or add weights to make this workout even more challenging. Though this exercise alone won’t eliminate your love handles, it’s a great way to start shaping your waistline and start to minimize muffin tops. 

How to do Russian Twists 

  1. Sit down on the floor and press your feet into the ground
  2. Slowly tilt your torso backwards 45 degrees so that your legs begin to lift off the ground
  3. Angle your legs to 90 degrees with your sit bones planted on the ground or begin to straighten out your legs (if comfortable)
  4. Reach your arms straight out in front and clasp your hands together
  5. Keeping a straight spine, twist your arms to the left while keeping your abdominals tight
  6. From center, twist your arms to the right and then back to center to complete the rep

To make this workout more challenging, hold a weight in both hands as you twist from side-to-side and keep your legs elevated and straight.

exercises for belly fat

Bicycle Crunches for Belly Fat Loss

Bicycle crunches are one of the most effective exercises for strengthening your abdominal muscles, toning your stomach, and burning visceral fat. One researcher found that when compared with traditional crunches, adding the bicycle maneuver produces 148% more activity in the rectus abdominus.

And since this exercise requires you to move your entire body, it can also help engage other muscle groups as well.

How to do Bicycle Crunches 

  1. Start by lying on your back
  2. Interlace your hands and place them behind your neck with wide elbows
  3. Bend your knees and plant your back into the ground
  4. Bring your knees up and place your shins parallel to the floor while lifting your shoulder blades off the floor
  5. Straighten out your left leg at about a 45-degree angle, turn your upper body to the right, bringing left elbow toward right knee.
  6. You’ll want this movement to come from your rib cage instead of your elbows
  7. Return to center, keeping both knees bent and elbows wide
  8. Repeat on the right side
  9. Return to starting position to complete 1 rep

exercises for belly fat

Best Cardio Exercises to Burn Fat

On the hunt for more cardio workouts to pair with these exercises and get the most out of your fitness routine? These exercises will get your heart pumping and burn the most calories in under 30 minutes.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much daily physical activity do I need to burn belly fat?

To burn abdominal fat, the amount of physical activity needed to burn belly fat daily depends on your fitness goals. However, for most people, only about 20-30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity can really begin to make a difference.

What’s my fat-burning heart rate zone?

To lose belly fat, you'll want to work on getting into your fat-burning heart rate which is at about 70% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is the maximum number of beats your heart should be beating while exercising. To find this number, subtract your age from 220. Your fat-burning heart rate zone is then 70% of that number. 

What are the best exercises for belly fat loss?

There are a number of great exercises for belly fat loss but it's a good idea to focus on workouts that involve that whole body while targeting specific muscles within your abdominals. For example, some of the best exercises for belly fat are:

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