One of the most common questions I get from gym-goers is what are the best exercises to lose belly fat?
What I always tell them is that the best exercise to burn belly fat is the one that’ll help you lose fat all over your body.
Research shows you can’t spot reduce where you lose fat. This is whether your problem areas are the stomach, arms, or legs.
So when you are trying to lose belly fat, the goal should always be fat loss. And to lose fat, you need to be doing both aerobic exercise and strength training regularly.
The aim is at least 150 minutes of exercise per week as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You can split up your minutes between aerobic exercises and strength training to maximize fat loss.
Cardio, especially intense cardio is effective in burning calories in increasing overall fat loss.
Strength training is what helps you shape up and build lean muscles including your abs. The more lean muscles you have, the more your body burns calories too, so it’s a productive cycle.
Together, they help reach your fitness goal, which is to lose belly fat.
In addition to working out to lose fat, it is also important that you’re eating at a calorie deficit. Otherwise, you can exercise all you want, you won’t lose weight or belly fat.
With that said, If you’ve been working out consistently, and you want a few abdominal exercises to add to your routine, here are the best three to go with.
Below, I will share 3 exercises you can add to your routine that’ll help you will belly fat loss.
1. Bicycle Crunches
When done correctly, the bicycle crunch works both your abdominals and obliques.
It’s one of the most effective ab workouts according to the American Council on Exercise. This core workout strengthens the rectus abdominus ( the muscle that makes up the visible “six-pack abs”).
Through each rep, you should feel your core working without pulling your head. Also, resist the use of momentum.
Here’s how to do a bicycle crunch properly
- Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat as wide as your hips on the ground.
- With your hands behind your head and your elbows bent out to the sides, contract your abs to lift your both shoulder blades and legs off the ground.
- Start by bringing your right knee to meet your left elbow. As you bring your right knee in, straighten your leg reaching out in front of you 45-degree angle.
- Repeat on the opposite side, bringing your left knee to your right elbow and straightening the right leg.
- Continue alternating from side to side using your abs and core.
- Do 12-15 reps per side to complete a set.
2. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a great full-body cardio exercise that helps you burn calories and lose fat. In just 30 minutes of jumping rope, you can burn as much as 300-500 calories depending on your weight.
In addition to burning calories, jump rope also improves your cardio fitness and heart health. Not to mention, it’s a great workout for your arms, legs, and abs. Aim for 6 sets of 5 minutes at a moderate pace.
3. Side Planks
The last one on the list is the side plank. It’s an oblique exercise that strengthens and stabilizes your core muscles. As with the plank, this side plank is also a static exercise that requires you to hold and keep the tension.
Here is how to perform the side plank
- Lie on one side with your legs fully extended. Stack your feet and keep your elbow tucked right under your shoulder.
- Adjust your feet and head, so your whole body is in one straight line. Engage your abs and core and hold for 30 – 60 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
To lose belly fat, you need to lose weight as a whole, not by parts. This is because you can’t spot-reduce fat.
But the exercises listed can help strengthen your core and tone your abdominals. They also help create definitions and leanness in the abdomen areas once the fat layer is off.
The key is to think of abs exercises as a supplement to your strength training.
The focus should not be just one area of your body, but your whole body. Only then, you’ll be able to lose belly fat and see more definitions or the tones you are after.
And don’t forget to pair your belly fat workout with a healthy diet to see results.