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15 Best Exercises To Reduce Belly Fat + Expert Advice

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
15 Best Exercises To Reduce Belly Fat + Expert Advice Hyderabd040-395603080 July 11, 2019

Belly fat is the most dangerous kind of fat. It is also the most difficult to get rid of.

The AARP warns that people with belly fat are at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers (1).

That’s why you must: (a) exercise, (b) learn from experts, and (c) change your lifestyle.

Not sure where to begin? Keep reading to know the 15 best belly exercises andthe most helpful advice from 8 experts in the fitness industry.

Put these to practice, and you will never worry about belly fat again. But first, let’s see what causes belly fat.

What Causes Belly Fat?

The most common cause of belly fat is a sedentary lifestyle (2).

Constantly sitting at one place, not working out, genetics, poor food habits, slow metabolism, and menopause are some other causes (3), (4), (5).

Surprisingly, scientists have also found that stress can also lead to fat accumulation in the belly region (6), (7).

What is so “dangerous” about belly fat? What really happens in your body? Let’s find out.

Why Is Belly Fat So Dangerous? 

Belly fat is dangerous because of the health risks it poses.

Medically termed as visceral fat, belly fat is a layer of fat between the subcutaneous fat (fat layer right below the skin) and the internal organs.

The Harvard Medical School states that visceral fat causes low-grade inflammation in the body. This, in turn, constricts the blood vessels and causes the blood pressure to rise and increases the risk of insulin resistance (8).

As a result, you will be more prone to hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and asthma.

Hence, take action before it’s too late. Start by measuring your belly fat, as shown in the next section.

How To Measure Belly Fat At Home

Belly fat can be measured using these two standard methods:

  • Waist Circumference – Stand straight and use a measuring tape to measure your waist circumference. Place the tape below your last rib and above your hip bones. Any reading over 35 inches is dangerous.
  • Waist To Hip Ratio – Stand straight and measure your waist circumference. Next, measure your hip circumference. Take two readings to arrive at an accurate reading. Divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference. Any ratio of over 0:86 is dangerous.

If you fall in the “danger” zone or somewhere close, your next step is to exercise. Also, workout your belly muscles as shown below.

15 Best Exercises To Get A Flat Belly

*Make sure you warm up for 10 minutes before starting these exercises.

1. Brisk Walking

2. HIIT Sprints Pinit

Shutterstock

Target – Whole body workout to mobilize fat.

How To Do
  1. Start by walking at a slow pace (say 5 mph).
  2. After a minute, start walking briskly. Do it for 20 seconds (6-8 mph).
  3. Slow down again and walk slowly for a minute.
  4. Again, walk briskly for 20 seconds.
Sets & Reps

Do it for 5-10 minutes.

2. HIIT Sprints

1. Brisk Walking Pinit

Shutterstock

Target – Whole body workout to mobilize fat.

How To Do
  1. Start by jogging at 6 mph.
  2. After a minute, start running at a higher speed (10-12 mph). Do it for 20 seconds.
  3. Slow down again and jog for a minute.
  4. Run for 20 seconds.
Sets & Reps

Do it for at least 5 minutes.

3. Crunches

Target – Lower and upper abs. 

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat, flex your knees, and lift your feet off the floor.
  2. Place a thumb at the back of each ear. Hold the back of your head with the rest of the fingers. Lift your head off the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. Initiate the movement by curling up and trying to reach your knees with your head.
  4. Go back to the starting position.
  5. Make sure you inhale while curling up and exhale while going down. 
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 12 reps 

4. Bicycle Crunches

Target – Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat, flex your knees, and lift your feet off the floor.
  2. Place a thumb at the back of each ear. Hold the back of your head with the rest of the fingers. Lift your head off the floor. This is the starting position.
  3. Push your left leg down and extend it straight. Simultaneously, curl up and twist to your right. Try to touch your left elbow with your right knee.
  4. Curl back down and bring your left leg back to the flexed position.
  5. Do the same with the other leg.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 12 reps

5. Half Seated Reverse Crunch

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, and glutes.

How To Do
  1. Sit on a mat, flex your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Lean back and support your body on your elbows. This is the starting position.
  2. Lift both your legs off the floor and bring your knees almost close to your nose.
  3. Slowly, bring your legs down to the starting position.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 15 reps

6. Lying Leg Raises

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat. Place your hands by your side, and palms flat on the floor. Lift your feet off the floor a little, look up at the ceiling, and engage your core. This is the starting position.
  2. Raise both your legs to 90 degrees and slowly bring them back down.
  3. Right before touching the floor, raise your legs again.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 15 reps

7. Sit-ups

Target – Lower and upper abs.

How To Do
  1. Lie on a mat, flex your knees, and place your heels on the mat. Engage your core and place your hands on your thighs. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and look at your knees. This is the starting position.
  2. Use your core strength to lift your body off the floor and come to a sitting position.
  3. Go back down to the starting position slowly.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 12 reps

8. Flutter Kicks

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat, place your hands under your hips, lift your feet, head, and shoulders off the floor, and engage your core. This is the starting position.
  2. Move your feet alternately up and down in quick succession.
  3. Keep breathing. Do not slow down.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 20 reps

9. Plank

9. Plank Pinit

Shutterstock

Target – Upper abs, lower abs, shoulders, biceps, and glutes.

How To Do
  1. Kneel down on a mat.
  2. Place your elbows on the mat.
  3. Extend your right leg back and then your left leg.
  4. Keep your neck, back, and hips in the same line. Keep your core engaged.
  5. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 30-60 seconds hold

10. Jackknife Crunch

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat. Extend your hands over your head. This is the starting position.
  2. Keeping your back and neck in the same line, lift your upper body. Simultaneously, lift both your feet off the floor.
  3. Try touching your knees with your hands.
  4. Get back to the starting position.
Sets & Reps

3 sets of 12 reps

11. Russian Twist

Target – Obliques, upper abs, lower abs, and glutes.

How To Do
  1. Sit on the mat, lift both your legs, keep your knees flexed, and lean back a little. Join your palms to balance your body. This is the starting position.
  2. Twist your upper body to the left and then to the right.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 25 reps

12. Leg In And Out

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do
  1. Sit on a mat. Place your hands behind you, with the palms flat on the mat. Lift your legs off the floor and lean back a little. This is the starting position.
  2. Tuck both your legs in. Simultaneously, bring your upper body close to your knees.
  3. Go back to the starting position.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 20 reps

13. Burpees

Target – Full body workout that also targets your abs.

How To Do
  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and place your hands on the floor. Let’s call this the “frog” position for clarity.
  3. Jump and push both your legs back and get into a plank or push-up position.
  4. Hop and get back to the “frog” position.
  5. Jump vertically and extend your hands above your head.
  6. Land softly on the floor.
  7. Get into the frog position again and then go back to the plank position.
 Sets & Reps

3 sets of 8 reps

14. Lying Alternate Toe Taps

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, obliques, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Lie on the mat and lift both your legs. Extend your hand up, lift your head and upper back off the floor, and engage your core. This is the starting position.
  2. Curl up and try to touch your left foot with your right hand.
  3. Curl back down.
  4. Curl up again and try to touch your right foot with your left hand.
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 15 reps

15. Crossbody Mountain Climbers

Target – Lower abs, upper abs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How To Do
  1. Get into a plank position. Make sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Keep your neck, back, and hips in a straight line. Do not pike up and curve down. This is the starting position.
  2. Lift your right foot off the floor, flex your knee and bring it close to the right side of your chest.
  3. Place the right foot back to its starting position. Now, lift your left foot off the floor, flex your knee and bring it close to the left side of your chest.
  4. Speed up and do it as if you are running!
Sets & Reps

2 sets of 25 reps

Do these every day, and you will see a huge difference. To make it more effective and quick for you, here’s advice from 8 fitness experts. Scroll down to unveil their secret to a flat tummy.

Expert Advice To Get Rid Of Belly Flab


Sarah

Sarah Pinit

Doing ab crunches and following a crash diet is not the right way to lose belly fat. If you really want to flaunt a well-toned belly, you have to eat a balanced diet with all the good fats rather than starving yourself.

You should also exercise three to five times a week. Do burpees, side planks, and bicycle crunches.

Sarah: tabatalive.com


Laura London

Laura-London Pinit

To lose belly flab, your go-to exercises should be V-ups, planks, and bicycle crunches.

Laura London: lauralondonfitness.com


Lori L. Shemek

Shemek Pinit

HIIT is highly effective for all over weight loss, particularly removing stubborn belly fat. If you are not eating right, you have reached menopause, or you are not losing weight, you should do these exercises. Don’t let the name scare you as it is you who determines the intensity. It is your perceived exertion that counts.

Lori L. Shemek: drlorishemek.com


Kelly Rennie

Kelly-Rennie Pinit

Practice plank, leg raises, and cross body mountain climbers.

Kelly rennie: busymumfitness.com/


Anthony Trucks

Anthony-Trucks Pinit

Practice hanging bicycles, decline bench sit-ups, and prone slider toe-ins.

Anthony Trucks: truckstraining.com


Lee Brogan

Lee-Brogan Pinit

HIIT sprints work wonders. Also, boxing and Tabata are great for shedding belly fat.

Lee Brogan: gymfreetrainers.com


Doonya

Doonya Pinit

Nothing beats Flick step, sweep, and twist exercises when it comes to losing belly fat.

Doonya: www.doonya.com


Kerry P. Taylor

Kerry P. Taylor Pinit

Try half Turkish get up, ab wheel rollouts, and standing band rotations to get a flat belly you always dreamed of.

Kerry P. Taylor: www.212healthandperformance.com


Last, but not the least, here are some other ways/tips that you must follow to get a flat tummy. 

Other Ways To Reduce Belly/Abdominal Fat

  • Eat Right

Reducing abdominal fat is 80% about eating the right food. Follow a healthy and balanced diet with adequate macro and micronutrients. Most importantly, skip takeaways and fast foods. Eat food prepared at home.

  • Drink Water

Always carry a water bottle, and make sure you keep sipping water throughout the day.

  • Short Bursts Of Exercises

According to recent studies, instead of working out for hours or running a few miles, doing short bursts of active exercises is very helpful in reducing stubborn fat.

  • Say No To Sugar

Sugar is one thing you should cut down to get a flat belly. Use honey or jaggery instead.

  • Reduce Sodium Intake

Consuming a lot of salt causes water retention in the body. Reduce your sodium intake, and you will see miraculous results!

  • Increase Intake Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for the secretion of carnitine, a compound that helps the body convert fat into energy. It also helps block cortisol, a hormone that is secreted by the body under stress. A spike in the cortisol levels is the main reason for abdominal fat.

  • Consume Fat Burning Foods

Consume garlic, onion, ginger, cayenne pepper, cabbage, tomato, and spices like cinnamon and mustard to burn fat by boosting your metabolism. You can also include fat burning foods in your diet.

  • Include Healthy Fats In Your Diet

If you are trying to get rid of bad cholesterol, the addition of good cholesterol can be helpful. Avocados, olives, coconut, and nuts are a few sources of good cholesterol.

  • Have Breakfast

Many think skipping breakfast helps with quick weight loss. On the contrary, skipping breakfast is a major blunder. It increases bloating and pushes your body into starvation mode, a key for abdominal fat gain.

  • Sleep Well

Adequate sleep is very important for weight management. Everyone needs six to eight hours of sleep. According to a recent study, too much of sleep or the lack of it can lead to weight gain.

Hope you have now got a clear idea on what need to do to get rid of the belly fat. It is tough but not impossible. Follow the expert advice, do the exercises, eat right, and you will get flat abs as you desire. Cheers!

References

  1. Battling Belly Fat” AARP.
  2. Sedentary Behavior: Emerging Evidence for a New Health Risk” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, National Institutes of Health.
  3. Sedentary Behavior, Physical Activity, and Abdominal Adipose Tissue Deposition.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, National Institutes of Health.
  4. Abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome: exercise as medicine?” BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Obesity in menopause – our negligence or an unfortunate inevitability?” Przegla̜d menopauzalny = Menopause review, National Institutes of Health.
  6. Stress and abdominal Fat: Preliminary Evidence of Moderation by the Cortisol awakening Response in Hispanic Peripubertal Girls” Obesity, National Institutes of Health.
  7. Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women.” Obesity Research, National Institutes of Health.
  8. Taking aim at belly fat” Harvard Medical School.