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« 5 of the best tummy toning exercises How to lead a healthy lifestyle and feel fitter, healthier and happier »

5 of the best exercises for losing belly fat

Do you find that no matter how many sit-ups you manage to cram into your daily routine, you still can’t see that ab definition? This is a common complaint and the solution might just be simpler than you think, because stomach toning exercises are actually only half of the journey to fab abs.

The truth is that you can do sit-ups and crunches until your abs are stronger than a Monday morning triple espresso, but if you’ve still got a bit of belly fat to shift, they’re not going to be visible. If you want the washboard look, you’re going to have to lose that belly fat first.

Unfortunately, there’s no one magic exercise to drop that belly. The best way is to reduce your overall body fat percentage through high intensity workouts, or with lots of cardio. Below are some of the best high intensity exercises for belly fat that you can do in your own home. Some of them will be great for your overall figure, and a few of them will really target your core. Once you’ve tackled that unruly belly fat, make sure you check out my post on the best exercises for a toned stomach.

1. Burpees

Burpees are the pillar stone of any high intensity workout and therefore are a great exercise for burning stomach fat. They consist of four movements. In order to complete one burpee, you must move through all four movements. Begin in a standing position with your hands at your sides and your legs shoulder-width apart. For the first movement you’ll drop to the floor into a squat, placing your hands on the floor in front of you and standing on the balls of your feet. For the second motion, make sure you keep your hands on the floor in front of you, and kick your feet out behind you so that you’re in a raised plank position with your arms straight. Next, you just need to return to your squat position – make sure you hop your feet forward explosively. For the final movement, jump straight upwards into the air, raising your arms above your head and returning to your starting position.

If you find this too difficult, then you can replace the raised plank portion of the movement. Instead of putting your hands on the floor, put them on a low step in front of you. This will require less effort from your upper body.

Duration: 3 sets of 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds between each set

2. Skipping

A favourite of professional boxers and children’s playgrounds alike, skipping needs little introduction. And the best part is that you don’t even need a rope (no more worrying about knocking the pictures off the mantlepiece!) – just make sure you coordinate your hands and your feet with your imaginary rope.

If you do have a rope and you’ve mastered the basic skip, there are a few variations you can employ to make this exercise a bit more challenging. For example, you could try high knees, bringing your knees to your chest for each hop, turning it into a jump. Alternatively, you could try jumping on one foot, alternating 30 seconds on each. My favourite thing about this exercise is that it’s so versatile – there are endless variations, so have a play around with it and come up with your own. This is definitely the most fun exercise for losing belly fat!

Duration: 3 sets of 1 minute, rest for 30 seconds between each set

3. Mountain climbers

This one is great for isolating your core, so make sure you don’t skip it! Begin in a raised plank position with your palms on the floor, your arms straight and your legs stretched out behind you. Now bring your right knee to your chest, tap the floor with your toe and then return it to the starting position. Do the same with your left leg. Try to complete as many reps as you can in your allotted time. You’ll really feel this one in your abs, as your core will be working hard to stabilise your body each time you lift your leg from the floor. This one should be a staple of any belly fat burning exercise routine!

Just like with burpees, if you find this one difficult, then try placing your hands on a low step to take some of the pressure off of your upper body.

Duration: 3 sets of 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds between each set

4. Step-ups

If you live in a house with stairs, then you’ve already got everything you need for this exercise! If not, you might want to use a low foot stool, or a sturdy box. There are lots of different ways you can perform a step-up, but the easiest way is to begin with your left foot on the floor and your right foot flat on the step in front of you. Now simply step up and place your left foot next to your right foot. Next, bring your right foot down to the floor, and finally bring your left foot back down to meet it. Then the right foot goes up again, and you repeat.

You can try one set leading with your right leg, and then switch to your left. If you want to increase the intensity of this workout, you can try using a higher step, you can hold weights as you do the exercise, or you can even isolate your legs so that your second foot never actually rests on the step, diverting all of the power through your leading foot.

Duration: 3 sets of 1 minute on each leg, rest for 30 seconds between each set

5. Sit and stand

Sitting down to lose stomach fat? Sound too good to be true? Simply stand in front of a low chair or step, and lower yourself into a sitting position. As soon as your bum hits the surface of the step, stand back up. Don’t push yourself up with your arms, but remember to engage your core and push your weight steadily through your feet, lowering yourself slowly during the downwards phase.

To make this slightly harder, you can use an even lower step. Or, if you happen to have a ball, weights or even a small child handy, you can hold them in front of you, and perform a shoulder press when you stand up, extending your arms up over your head until they’re straight.

Duration: 3 sets of 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds between each set

These are all great fat-burning exercises and, if you can do them two or three times a week, you should soon see your overall body fat percentage dropping, along with your waistline. You can also alternate these workouts with my stomach toning exercises so that when you do start to drop the weight, your abs will come through a little quicker.

Don’t forget that the more you do these, the more your body will adapt to the exercise, so make sure it’s always a challenge for you. You can do that by increasing the number of sets you complete, by making each set longer, or by adding a weight.

If you live in the Chelmsford area and you’re looking for a personal trainer to help you lose belly fat or simply reach your fitness goals, don’t hesitate to get in touch.