The 16 Best Exercises to Burn Belly Fat
Having a flat tummy isn’t just about the look—abdominal fat is linked to some serious health concerns. Thankfully, you don’t need a gym to shrink your waistline. You can improve your health and your appearance from the comfort of your own home.
Of course, there’s no quick and easy fix for stubborn belly fat, and only doing ab exercises won’t help you slim down. Spot-reduction is a myth—studies have shown that whole-body exercises are much more effective at reducing belly fat than exercises that target only your abdominal muscles.
The good news is that there are plenty of exercises that can help you shed the pounds!
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Whatever exercises you choose to do, the HIIT method—short but intense bursts of cardio with short rests in between—will help your workouts be more effective.
When you start a new interval, switch to an exercise that works a different muscle group than the last one. That way, your muscles can recover (reducing the risk of strain) while you still burn through calories.
2. Sumo Squats
1. Spread your feet more than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed outward at a 45-degree angle.
2. Squat like you will sit in a chair, without your knees going past your toes.
3. Hold, then return to your original position and repeat.
3. Sprinter Sit-Ups
1. Lie on your back with your arms straight by your sides.
2. Quickly and fluidly, sit up as you bring your left knee to your chest and pump your right arm up to your shoulder like you’re running.
3. Lie down and repeat with the opposite limbs.
1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, your knees comfortably bent, and your arms crossed over your chest. (Placing your hands behind your head can increase the risk of injuring your neck.)
2. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor using your abdomen, keeping your hips on the floor and your neck straight.
3. Hold briefly before easing back down.
5. Bicycle Crunches
1. Lie on your back with your fingertips behind your head and your elbows pointing outward.
2. Lift your left leg so your thigh is perpendicular to the ground and your calf is parallel, while also lifting your shoulders and twisting your core to bring your right elbow towards your raised knee.
3. Extend your left leg without touching the ground while pulling your right leg in and twisting your core to bring your left elbow towards your right knee.
4. Extend your right leg while drawing in your left to continue the cycling motion.
6. Russian Twists
1. Hold a medicine ball at chest-height a few inches away from yourself while sitting up straight with your feet off the floor and your knees bent.
2. Lean back at a 45-degree angle, keeping your spine straight.
3. Twist your core to the left (using your abs to move, not your shoulders), then tighten your left abdominal muscles for a few seconds.
4. Repeat on the right.
1. Lie flat on your chest with your feet together and the balls of your feet touching the ground.
2. Brace your hands under your shoulders, then raise and lower your body without letting your buttocks rise at an angle.
8. Forearm Planks
1. Lie on your chest with your forearms flat on the ground and your elbows beneath your shoulders.
2. Push yourself up so that your forearms and the balls of your feet bear your weight.
3. Hold the position for 30 seconds (gradually increasing as you grow stronger).
9. Mountain Climbers
1. Hold a plank with your arms straight and your hands beneath your shoulders.
2. Keep your core tight and pull your right knee to your chest.
3. Return to your original position, then repeat with your left knee.
10. BOSU Ball Planks
1. Place a BOSU ball on its rubber side and grip the edges of the flat surface with your hands under your shoulders.
2. Push into a plank and hold the position for 30 seconds (gradually increasing as you get stronger).
11. Overhead Medicine Ball Slams
1. Plant your feet hip-width apart, stand straight, and hold a medicine ball overhead with both arms fully extended.
2. Slam the ball into the ground, gently bending your knees.
3. Squat to pick up the ball and stand straight again as you lift it overhead.
12. Side-to-Side Medicine Ball Slams
1. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
2. Raise the medicine ball above your head as you rotate your core to one side, then slam the ball a few inches outside your foot.
3. Catch the ball, straighten and tighten your core, and twist to slam on the other side.
1. Squat with your feet shoulder-width apart and put your palms flat on the ground under your shoulders.
2. Brace yourself with your arms and hop your feet back into a high plank.
3. Jump back into the squat, then stand up straight and jump.
1. Begin a normal burpee, but when you jump back into a plank, lower your body to touch the ground.
2. Push into the plank again, then jump back into the squat to finish the burpee.
15. Medicine Ball Burpees
1. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, lift a medicine ball overhead, and slam it to the ground as you squat.
2. Put your palms on the ground beneath your shoulders and jump your feet back into a high plank.
3. Jump back into the squat, grab the ball, and press it overhead as you stand up.
16. Basic Cardio
While it’s easy to get caught up in specific moves, never underestimate the power of a good, full cardio workout. Swimming, jumping rope, dancing, and even walking can help you burn stubborn belly fat. One hour of brisk walking each day can burn up to one pound of fat a week. As long as you are consistent and put in the effort with your chosen exercises, you can make a difference in your weight, metabolism, and health.