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businessinsider - 1 month ago

What exercises burn belly fat, and how to do them at home

Core exercises that burn belly fat include side planks, hollow holds, and straight leg-toe touches. Full-body exercises like rowing, push-ups, and squats can also help burn belly fat. Here s how to do these exercises, with a full example workout that you can do at home or at the gym. This article was reviewed by Joey Thurman, CSCS, CPT, FNS, a Chicago-based fitness expert and MYX Fitness coach. Visit Insider s homepage for more stories. If firming up your midsection is on your to-do list, you re not alone. Getting rid of stubborn belly fat is one of the most common goals for people looking to lose weight and get fit. And while targeted fat loss or spot reduction does not work, you can tighten and tone this area along with the rest of your body by exercising and following a healthy diet. Belly fat is hard to eliminate Reducing belly fat is often more challenging than dropping inches from other parts of the body because doing so relies heavily on diet, says Caley Crawford, NASM CPT, and Director of Education for Row House. We often think if we do enough sit-ups, then we ll get a flatter s however, abs also happen in the kitchen, says Crawford. So, if you re looking to lose belly fat, it s crucial that you partner a strong and healthy diet with your exercise routine, she says. You ll also need to consider your age and genes. According to the Mayo Clinic, they can play a small role in where you store fat. That s why adhering to a healthy, balanced diet (with little or no processed carbohydrates) along with your exercise program is critical to get rid of stubborn belly fat. Full-body strengthening will fire up your core While it s true that core-specific exercises are a great way to fire-up your abs, performing strength training moves for your entire body may help you reach your goal of torching belly fat faster than if you just focus on abdominal exercises. Doing core-focused exercises like sit-ups and flutter kicks are always a great way to get some extra definition in your abdo however, functional, full-body movements strengthen and tone your core just as much, says Crawford. For example, doing a squat works your quads, but it also involves maintaining a stable trunk, which requires your abdominal muscles to contract. Other exercises like lunges, rows, and push-ups also require your abdominal muscles to work in a coordinated fashion with the other muscles you re stressing. So, in all, you re still getting a core exercise even though you may feel it more in the glutes, back, or chest. Exercises to help strengthen and tone your core Firm abs don t just happen by accident. In addition to full-body workouts, there are several ways to target your abdominal muscles. Three popular exercises to start with include side planks with a knee drive, hollow holds, and alternating straight-leg toe touches. Advanced fitness levels can swap out the alternating straight-leg toe touches for Turkish get-ups. Here s a core workout you can perform at home or at the gym, including moves that target your upper and lower body. How to do it: Crawford says to complete each exercise for the recommended amount of reps before moving to the next move. For a complete workout, do 3 rounds total. For an extra challenge, consider adding a set of dumbbells. Warm-up: 3 to 5 minutes of rowing without the foot straps (this fires up the core even more). Start slow, and be sure to keep your toes connected to the footplate. If you don t have access to a rowing machine, warm-up with a stationary bike, treadmill, or walking in place. Exercise 1: 15 to 20 reps of squats + arms reach up overhead Exercise 2: 10 to 15 reps of tempo push-ups (3 counts down, 1 count up) Exercise 3: 10 to 15 reps each leg of side plank + knee drives (In a side plank, bring the top knee to meet the elbow and lengthen) Exercise 4: 10 to 15 alternating straight-leg toe touches Exercise 5: 30 seconds of a hollow hold If you do this workout three times a week, Crawford says you should start to feel results in about six to eight weeks. You ll feel stronger first, then you ll start to see progress in your performance, and then you ll start to see results, says Crawford. If you re unfamiliar with these exercises, here s how to do them: Side plank + knee drive Lie on your left side. Press into the floor and push your body into a side plank position. Left forearm will be on the floor, elbow underneath your shoulder, hips and feet stacked. Keep your abs contracted and drive the top knee (right knee) to meet the elbow, then lengthen. Complete 10 to 15 reps before switching sides. Alternating straight-leg toe touches Lie on your back and lift one leg up to 90-degrees. The other leg will hover a few inches off the ground. Reach up and touch your toe three times with both hands. Make sure your shoulder blades are off the ground and keep your neck long. Complete 10 to 15 reps before switching sides. Hollow Hold Lie on your back with your legs straight, knees together, and your arms extended overhead. Press your low-back into the floor. Contract your abs. This will allow you to lift your shoulders and arms a few inches off the floor. Keep your knees together and lift your legs a few inches off the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Related stories about exercise: How long you should wait to exercise after eating I planked for a minute every day for a month and was surprised when I actually noticed a flatter stomach The 5 best pieces of gym etiquette advice that fitness aficionados want newbies to know I did yoga every day for a month, and I ve never gotten so many compliments on my skin and posture How to lower cholesterol with the right diet and exercise regimens Bro science debunked: You don t need to pound protein right after a workout to maximize muscle gains Join the conversation about this story NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world s highest-paid celebrity. Here s how she makes and spends her $360 million.

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