The 14 best exercises to lose belly fat

14 Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat Fast, According to Science

Searching for the best exercises to lose belly fat and get a flat stomach? 

Losing excess belly fat and getting a flat, toned stomach is a good weight loss goal. 

It’s not just for aesthetic reasons, but also your health. Research finds that a larger waist size is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even some cancers (1).

Losing the deep visceral fat in the abdomen is an effective way to lower your health risks and will feel great inside and out. 

Unfortunately, belly fat isn’t something you can lose independently. 

There is no such thing as spot reduction. Performing countless abdominal exercises aiming to tone your abdominal muscles isn’t effective in losing excess belly fat. 

When you burn fat, fat loss happens throughout your entire body.

This makes workouts that burn the most fat the best exercises to lose belly fat. 

An example of that would be exercises that work your whole body.

Let’s get to the best exercises to lose belly fat. 

Types of Abdominal Fat

Types of Abdominal Fat
Types of Abdominal Fat

Too much fat in our midsection is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a higher risk of insulin resistance.

This obesity is also the main cause of the metabolic syndrome. A higher BMI can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other associated conditions.

There are 2 types of abdominal fat: subcutaneous and visceral.

Subcutaneous Fat

This is the type of belly fat that you can feel in your abdomen. It’s located right under the skin. While moderate amounts do not dramatically increase your risk of disease, it’s the most obvious to see on your body.

Visceral Fat

Visceral fat is the type of fat located in the abdominal cavity and surrounds your internal organs. It’s considered the most dangerous of the two.

It activates certain hormones and releases compounds that influence disease-released processes in your body.

14 Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

The Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

Warming up is imperative to any workout routine. Take at least 10 minutes to prepare your body for the upcoming exercise routine. Start with 10 minutes of jumping jacks before starting any of these exercises.

Take a 10 to 20 seconds rest break between exercises.

Full-body Workout to Lose Belly Fat

As you know, the best exercises to reduce belly fat work your entire body. These exercises overall will burn calories and fat. Below are six options to add to your belly fat-burning workouts. These will maximize your fat loss.

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1. Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing is a challenging but fun full-body workout that burns fat not only during the workout but after too! It’s called the “afterburn effect” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC for short.

Your metabolic rate will increase with intense exercise. When you finish, your body will continue to burn calories even after your cooldown!

The kettlebell swing is a core exercise that will build your stamina and improve your endurance.

Kettlebell Swing Exercise

How to do:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, gripping the kettlebell with both hands between your legs.
  • Hinge forward allowing the kettlebell to dip between your legs.
  • Push your hips forward and squeeze your glutes as you stand. This will create a force to raise the kettlebell higher and higher.
  • Gain momentum as you continue the motion until the kettlebell is reaching chest height for every rep. Perform for 30 to 60 seconds.

2. Burpees

Burpees are a full-body exercise that combines cardio and strength training into one challenging move. It consists of three parts, a squat, a plank, and a push-up. As you move through these three parts, focus on form. As you become more comfortable, you can increase the pace to amp up your heart rate.

Burpees exercises to lose belly fat

How to do:

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. With control, bend your knees through a squat, placing your hands on the ground under your shoulders.
  • Hop your feet back while straightening your legs, landing softly in a plank position.
  • Complete a push-up. (or more!)
  • Hop your feet to the top of the mat, framing your hands, returning back to the squat position.
  • Jump as high as you can, reaching your arms overhead. Land softly. That is 1 rep.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps.

3. Dumbbell Squat to Shoulder Press

Develop strength in your lower body muscle group, shoulders, and arms with the dumbbell squat to shoulder press. This exercise will engage virtually all of your abdominal muscles.

Dumbbell Squat to Shoulder Press - Exercises to lose belly fat

How to do:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding evenly weighted dumbbells in each hand. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height. Gaze ahead.
  • On an inhale, bend at your hips and knees into a squat. Your knees will stay in line with your toes until your quads are parallel with the floor.
  • On your exhale, press through your heels and extend through your legs back to the starting position.
  • As you reach the top, extend your arms, pressing the dumbbells overhead. Keep your arms in line with your ears.
  • Inhale return to the starting position. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps. Add heavier weights with experience.

4. Squat Jumps

Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise that targets your glutes, quads, and hamstrings while simultaneously increasing your heart rate. Note that this exercise can stress your knee and ankle joints. Be mindful of your body.

Squat Jumps

How to do:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Lower through a squat until your thighs are just a bit higher than your knees.
  • Press through the balls of your feet to jump while you straighten your legs. Lift your feet off the ground.
  • Land softly on the balls of your feet returning to a squat position.

5. Medicine Ball Lunge With Twist

Kick your lunges up a notch with the medicine ball lunge with a twist. This exercise will work not only your quads and hamstrings but with the twist, your abs, and glutes. It will improve both your balance and proprioception.

Medicine Ball Lunge With Twist

How to do:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a medicine ball with both hands at chest height. Extend your arms in front of you.
  • Engage your core. Take a step forward with your right foot. Lower your body until both knees reach a 90-degree angle. As you’re lowering, twist to the left so the medicine ball travels over your left leg.
  • Return to center and straighten both legs. Step back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, stepping your left foot forward and twisting to the right. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8 – 10 reps.

6. Medicine Ball Slam

This full-body exercise targets your abdominals, shoulders, lats, and hips by loading and slamming a medicine ball. The slamming motion will tax both your muscles and your cardiovascular system.

Overhead Medicine Ball Slams

How to do:

  • Again, start standing. Have a slight bend in your knees and hold the medicine ball overhead, arms extended.
  • Hinge forward at the waist and tap into your core muscles to slam the ball into the floor a foot in front of you. Follow through with your arms to maintain your balance.
  • Catch the ball on its way back up.
  • Repeat 3 sets of 10 – 15 slams.

Ab Workouts to Lose Belly Fat

Ab workouts to lose belly fat
Ab Workouts to Lose Belly Fat

Naturally, your abs will become stronger and more muscular with exercise. Reducing your belly fat, specifically the subcutaneous fat in your midsection, will allow that six-pack to peek through.

To reduce fat in your belly area, add these exercises to your routine.

7. Plank Jacks

Plank jacks combine core and cardio! It strengthens and stabilizes dozens of muscles in your core muscle group, upper and lower body, burns calories, and helps reduce excess fat.

Plank jacks
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How to do:

  • Begin in the basic plank position. Plant your hands under your shoulders, arms extended. For this exercise, start with your feet together. There should be a straight line from the tip of your head to your heels. Engage your core.
  • Jump your feet out wide as if you were doing a jumping jack. Then immediately jump your feet back together.
  • Continue jumping in and out from a plank position. Your upper body stays stationary, hips down.
  • Perform for 30 – 60 seconds. Increase speed for an added challenge.

8. Leg Raises

Leg raises are a simple strength exercise that works your lower abs and hip muscles. They strengthen your core muscles and can even help prevent some low back pain.

Leg raises workouts to lose belly fat

How to do:

  • Lie face-up on a mat. Place your hands under your sacrum for stability. Lift only your feet off of the floor, engaging your core and gazing at the ceiling.
  • With control, slowly raise both of your legs to a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower back to the starting position.
  • Do not let your heels touch the floor. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 2 sets of 15 reps.

9. Crunches

Build your core muscles by isolating your abdominals. They also strengthen your lower back muscles and obliques.

Crunches workout to lose belly fat

How to do:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head, do not interlace your fingers.
  • Be mindful of your neck as you lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat on an exhale.
  • Inhale back to the starting position.
  • Complete 2 sets of 12 reps.

10. Bicycle Crunches

Add a twist to the basic crunch with bicycle crunches. The twist works your waistline oblique muscles and your rectus abdominis to burn abdominal fat.

Crunches – The best exercise to lose abdominal fat” class=”wp-image-520022″/>

How to do:

  • Begin in the basic position however you lift your feet off the floor, shins parallel to the ground.
  • Place your fingertips behind each ear, elbows out.
  • On an exhale, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat, twisting through your torso to connect your right elbow to your left knee. Straighten your right leg, hovering your heel over the ground.
  • Inhale back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, connecting your left elbow to your right knee as you straighten your left leg. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 2 sets of 12 reps.

11. Sit-Ups

Sit-ups hit the same muscles as the crunch in addition to your hip flexors, chest, and neck. They also promote good posture through your lower back muscles and glutes. It’s a larger range of motion so to reduce the risk of injury, focus on proper form and control. (Simonsezit)

Sit-ups workout to lose belly fat

How to do:

  • Lie on your back, planting your feet on the floor. Place your hands behind your ears.
  • On an exhale, use your core to lift your torso, bringing your chest towards your knees.
  • On an inhale, return to the starting position. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 2 sets of 12 reps.

12. Russian Twist

Build your core strength, balance, and strength with the Russian Twist. The rotational movement mimics motion necessary for many sports and even everyday life!

Russian twists exercise to lose belly fat

How to do:

  • Start in a seated position, firmly rooting your sit bones in the ground.
  • Bend your knees as you lift your legs and feet until your shins are parallel with the mat. Don’t let your feet drop.
  • Lean back to a 45-degree angle, think Navasana or boat pose in yoga.
  • Straighten your arms and interlace your fingers in front of your chest.
  • On an exhale, use your abs to twist to the right. Inhale back to center and repeat on the left.
  • This is 1 repetition. Complete 2 sets of 12 reps.

13. Crossbody Mountain Climbers

The cross-body mountain climber is a challenging exercise that targets your entire core. The twist engages your obliques and hip flexors while building upper body strength (chest, shoulders, and triceps) and stability.

Crossbody Mountain Climbers

How to do:

  • Start in a push-up position with your wrists and elbows directly under your shoulders. Your head, back, and hips create a straight line and will stay this way through the entire exercise.
  • Lift your right foot and bend your right knee as you twist underneath, sending your knee to the back of your left arm.
  • Return to start and repeat on the opposite side, bringing your left knee to the back of your right arm. This is 1 rep.
  • Complete 2 sets of 20 repetitions.

14. Side Plank

The side plank is a great exercise that tones your abs, shoulders, obliques, and legs. It builds the deep muscles of your lower back.

Side plank belly fat exercise

How to do:

  • Lie on your right side with your feet stacked or the left foot in front of the right.
  • Place your right elbow under your right shoulder, forearm perpendicular with your body, fingers spread for stability. Bring your left hand to your waist.
  • Take a deep breath. On the exhale, lift your hips off the floor and hold for 30 – 60 secconds. Add time with experience. Be sure to hold for an even amount of time on both sides.
  • To amp it up, plant your right hand under your shoulder or lift your top leg.

Cardio Exercise

Cardio exercise to lose belly fat

In addition to using the 14 exercises above to target torching your belly fat, add 30 minutes of cardio to your routine.

Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, running, or jogging can reduce belly and liver fat. You can even utilize machines such as a spin bike or elliptical trainer.

HIIT or Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and general interval training are types of workouts that mix short, intense bouts of exercises with equal or shorter rest periods. HIIT can help control weight, fat burn and improve your physical body.

Resistance Training May Prevent Stomach Fat Accumulation as We Age

As we age, we need to focus on reducing the accumulation of belly fat in our midsections. High-intensity resistance training does just that! In fact, it is more effective than cardio alone, especially with a healthy diet. 

To take it even further, combining weight training with aerobic activity will give you the best results.

Workouts to Lose Belly Fat

Here are 2 suggested 15-minute total-body workouts (plus cardio) for you to add to your routine!

Workouts to lose belly fat

Don’t forget to warm up with light cardio prior and cool down with light stretching targeting your different muscle groups after. Complete each suggestion back to back with a 10 – 20 second rest between each for a HIIT workout. 

Belly Fat Workout 1:

  • Burpees
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Squat
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Side Plank
  • Elliptical trainer for 10 – 15 minutes

Belly Fat Workout 2:

  • Squat Jumps
  • Sit-ups
  • Medicine Ball Slam
  • Side Plank
  • Reverse crunch
  • Jog for 10 – 15 minutes

Tips to Lose Belly Fat for Good

Simple tips to lose belly fat according to Harvard health

In addition to adding multiple types of exercises to your routine, here are some other helpful tips that help you not only lose belly fat but maintain your weight loss for good.

Watch your calorie intake

Your body uses calories for energy. But consuming more calories than what your body is burning throughout the day can lead to weight gain and fat accumulation in your body.

Virtually all foods (and drinks!) contain calories, some more calorie-dense than others. Aim to consume your calories from healthy food sources.

Eat Right

Eating right is not all about caloric intake, it’s about the quality of the calories consumed. Calculating your macro and micronutrients is a great way to create a framework for your daily meals. Skip the fast food and too much alcohol.

Start with our: 7-Day Diet to Lose Belly Fat In A Week

Go Easy On Refined Carbs

While cutting out all carbs is not recommended, reducing sugars, starches and carbs can be a more sustainable diet. You don’t have to say goodbye to pasta, but it’s a good idea to consume in moderation. Try whole-grain breads instead.

Eat Healthy fats

Examples such as olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish are not to be shied away from. Create each meal with a protein source, healthy fat, complex carbs, and vegetables.

Drink Water

Water is imperative for all of your body’s functions but it can also aid in suppressing your appetite and consuming less calories. Drink a glass of water before each meal (2).

Say No To Sugar

Skip the added sugar, especially in soft drinks, sweets, and fruit juice. These empty calories are not useful to your body or blood sugar levels.

Increase Intake Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C isn’t just for avoiding colds. It plays a part in your body’s secretion of carnitine which converts your body’s fat into energy. Another health benefit is that it blocks the hormone, cortisol, aka the stress hormone (3).

Consume Foods That Burn Belly Fat

Certain foods can boost your metabolism to help burn fat. Consider adding garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon to your diet. Drink green tea.

Check out our list of 32 Foods That Burn Belly Fat

Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting can be an effective way to lose weight. It creates a pattern of alternating eating and fasting that you repeat in your daily routine.

It’s a good idea to continue to maintain a healthy diet. 

Get Enough Sleep

Lastly, get enough sleep! It’s imperative for weight management. The general rule is six to eight hours of sleep per night. Too much or not enough can lead to weight gain.

The Takeaway on The Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

As you can see, losing belly fat (both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat) takes time and lifestyle changes.

The best way is to combine aerobic exercises with resistance training and incorporate the best exercise tips covered above.

This will have you well on your way to a smaller belly and slimmer waistline!

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