What exercises can you do to get rid of unwanted belly fat? I hear this question a lot, and before we go any further, let me warn you it’s a little bit of a loaded question. That’s because exercise ALONE will NOT typically get you the results you want.
The secret to losing belly fat is that there is no secret. It’s well known and accepted that to lose fat you generally need to burn more calories than you consume while maintaining muscle mass. This process is 2-fold. First, you have eat properly. This is number one. Second, to maintain muscle mass you need to do strength / resistance training. This article will focus on this second element.
Before I get to the exercises, let me reiterate — you’re not going to get a six pack by doing these exercises alone. You need to eat properly, do your cardio, and strength train other areas of your body as well. Fat loss is not area specific. That being said, here are some of my favorite core exercises to help you get a flat and lean tummy.
Plank is my number one exercise to getting a lean midsection. Planks train the deep abdominal muscles that cinch in your waist and provide support and stability to your spine. This also helps transfer forces generated from exercise to reduce the risk of injury. Basically, plank is all around an awesome exercise, and there are literally tons of modifications for all fitness levels, as well as variations to challenge your body and prevent boredom.
2. Side plank
Side plank, like regular plank works the deep muscles of the abdomen that cinch in the waist and provide support and stability to your spine.
3. Curl up + variations
Curl ups strengthen your abdominal muscles without placing as much stress on your lower back as a full sit up. Some of my favorite variations include sitting on a stability ball or using a decline bench (advanced). If you’re super advanced, you can even do these inverted by hanging from a pull up bar. Super fun!
4. Oblique crunch + variations
Can’t forget about those obliques! Oblique crunches strengthen the oblique, or side abdominal, muscles. Some variations include bicycle crunches, upright bicycle crunches (intermediate), Russian twists (intermediate), and standing cable twists (more advanced).
5. Calisthenic exercises
Calisthenic, or bodyweight, exercises almost always require strong core activation. Some core-strengthening calisthenic exercises include squats, lunges, pushups, burpees, and running man. Most calisthenic exercises can be modified for almost all fitness levels.
6. Kettlebell exercises
Because of the weight distribution in kettlebell exercises, a lot of them will definitely give your core a run for it’s money! My two favorites are kettlebell swings and the Turkish get up. These exercises work multiple muscle groups for maximum engagement and calorie expenditure. Kettlebell exercises are advanced, and should not be done by beginners without proper guidance.
7. Balance exercises
Adding balance challenges to your workouts is another great way to work your core. You can do straight balancing exercises, for example, tree or warrior III yoga poses. You can also challenge your balance by progressing from sitting exercises (e.g., seated row or chest press) to standing exercises (e.g., standing cable row or chest press), or by changing your stance (e.g., wide stance to narrow stance) or standing on an unstable surface like a bosu.
What are your favorite core exercises? Let me know in the comments! If you liked this article and/or found it helpful, please feel free to like, comment on, and share it!