Workouts That Will Seriously Burn Belly Fat

Often when someone decides to start working out, they focus on so-called "trouble" areas of their body. Although understandable, this thinking can lead to a flawed workout routine that will not get you the results you want — especially if your goal is to achieve a flatter stomach. These type of workouts are called "spot reduction," according to HealthlineFor example, if someone wanted to use this method to reduce belly fat, they might believe doing only ab crunches will eventually burn away that fat. Feel the burn, right?

While there is some debate about spot reduction, the truth is no one exercise is going to be a magic cure-all (via Healthline). But the good news is doing a workout that combines cardio and resistance training can get you results over time. Of course, you should speak with your health care professional about which exercise combination is best for you. And as with any weight-loss program, a healthy eating plan is key. 

Simply walking can help slim your stomach

It sounds so basic, but walking is an effective aerobic exercise to include in your belly-fat blasting routine. One study compared the results of just watching calories against being on the same calorie conscious diet and walking for an hour five times a week for a total of 12 weeks. The individuals who walked had the better results, losing an extra 1.5 inches from their midriffs (via Healthline). Another study cited by Healthline focused on women considered clinically obese. The participants walked for a little more or a little less than an hour three times a week for 12 weeks. The results: the women lost on average 1.1 inches from their stomachs.

If you're unable to walk for a full hour, don't worry. A study in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine found that walking at a quick pace for as little as a half-hour can help you cut inches at an equivalent rate as in the aforementioned two studies. To start, make it your goal to walk 30 minutes a day.

Stubborn inches on your midsection? Try running

Let's face it. Sometimes life gets stressful to the point that you're filled with pent-up tension. For some, a good run can help work it off. But according to WebMD, running can also help you reduce belly fat. However, there are some dos and don'ts if you want to get the most out of adding this form of cardio to your workout routine.

Former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway advises hydrating and fueling up with the right pre-workout snack like a sports drink or half an energy bar before beginning a run (via WebMD). He also warns against overdoing this type of exercise especially if you haven't done it in a while. Brand new to running? Galloway recommends breaking down each minute you're working out like this: five to 10 seconds of running and 50 to 55 seconds of walking.

Whatever your fitness level, use the "huff-and-puff rule" to gauge your workout, the runner advised to WebMD. And, no, this isn't connected to the Hufflepuffs from the Harry Potter books. As Galloway explains, "If you're huffing and puffing at the end of a run, you've overdone it."

What is HIIT and can it reduce belly fat?

Short for "high-intensity interval training," HIIT is both an effective way to reduce body fat, including from your belly, and a time-efficient method for working out, perfect for those with busy schedules (via Healthline). The trade-off: It isn't called "high-intensity" just to create a catchy acronym. Although HIIT routines usually last only 10 to 30 minutes, they pack a big punch, combining high-intensity and low-intensity exercises.

As Healthline explained, riding a bike using the HIIT method involves cycling as fast and hard as possible at high resistance for 30 seconds and then peddling at a slower rate and at low resistance for a few minutes. You would then repeat this routine four to six times.

While biking is a good type of exercise for a HIIT workout, it's far from the only one. Healthline notes jumping rope, sprinting, and exercises that use your body's weight in general are all good options for this type of high-intensity training. But remember, it's always important to check with your health care professional about new workout routines, especially if they're intense.

Blast belly bulge with burpees

This exercise's name may sound funny, but don't let that dissuade you from adding it to your workout. As Healthline explains, a burpee is basically "a pushup followed by a jump squat." As a type of full-body calisthenic, burpees use your body's weight to create resistance to build up your muscles. As such, they are not only great for strengthening multiple muscle groups (including your abs), but burpees, can also help up your cardio and get rid of belly fat.

As burpees are a HIIT exercise, they can help you reach your weight loss and fat reduction goals. According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Obesity, HIIT workouts can help get rid of "abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat [fat that wraps around the abdominal organs]."

Beyond helping trim your waistline, burpees are excellent for strengthening your lungs and heart (via Healthline). Additionally, they can help lower blood pressure, control your cholesterol, promote brain health, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Jumping rope can help trim your tummy

Yes, that game you played during recess can help you burn fat. Now, to be clear, this is a full-body workout, which means it helps get rid of fat from all parts of the body (via Livestrong). However, this also means one of the areas that reaps the benefits is your waistline.

According to Livestrong, jumping rope can be incorporated into your workout as both a warmup exercise prior to either a cardio or a weight training routine and as a conditioning tool at the end of a session. Of course, to see the best results you should also be mindful of how many calories you consume.

One final piece of advice: While kids try to jump rope as many times in a row without missing, adults should take a different approach when adding this low-impact workout to an exercise routine. As Livestrong notes, you may want to just jump 100 times before a workout. For conditioning, try to do 10 sessions of jumping for 30 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds. And don't worry if you miss. Keeping yourself moving is more important than setting a new personal record.

Strengthen and tone your core with planks

Many exercise programs use phrases like "engaging your core" or "strengthening your core." It sounds important, but what exactly is a person's core? After all, we're not apples. Harvard Heart Letter explains that your core includes muscles from specific areas of your body, namely your pelvis, back, sides, buttocks, and, yes, abdomen.

So, are core exercises like planks the secret to a flat stomach? Well, you need to always keep in mind that no one exercise is the key when it comes to trimming your waistline. With that said, however, planks are a great way to work out those core muscles and help reduce belly bulge.

Like many exercises, there are different variations on the plank depending on if you want a more or less challenging workout. For example, while traditional planks mean getting on all fours, the plank on a table is done from a standing position (via Harvard Heart Letter). This version may be less difficult for anyone new to this type of exercise. The tension plank, on the other hand, offers a more advanced version of the classic plank and really engages the entire body (via American Council on Exercise or ACE).

Increase your metabolism with squats

When it comes to getting rid of fat, the speed of your metabolism is crucial. The faster it runs, the more fat is burned off and converted into energy for your body. And while there are foods that can help boost your metabolism, exercises like squats can also make a difference when it comes to fat loss and a slimmer midriff.

As Livestrong explains, squats can impact how much fat you burn in two ways. First, your metabolism speeds up after doing squats. But second, your body also produces more growth hormone and testosterone as a result of performing this exercise. Why is this important? Because these hormones not only help burn fat but also help keep your muscles lean and mean.

If you're looking for a more challenging squat routine, Livestrong recommends the Tabata protocol. Similar in some ways to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), this approach involves alternating back and forth between doing as many squats as possible for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds for a total of four minutes. If you're new to squats, however, you probably should start with a less intense method.

Weight training can help fight the bulge

While doing exercises that use your body's weight is an effective form of resistance training, good old fashioned "pumping iron" can also help burn away stubborn belly bulge. And yet, working out with weights is sometimes overlooked because it's associated more with building up muscles than reducing fat.

According to Medical News Today, a 12-year research study into men older than 40 found that while aerobic exercise was good for controlling weight, weight training actually reduced the circumferences of the participants' waistlines. The senior author of the study, Professor Frank Hu, noted that "this study underscores the importance of weight training in reducing abdominal obesity." The lead study author, Rania Mekary, emphasized, "Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass."

So, again, no one type of exercise is the magic key to getting rid of belly fat, but lifting weights can be a good piece of your workout puzzle. Before beginning, however, you should speak with your health care professional so you can set up the best and safest possible weight training program for you.

Row, row, row your way to a flatter tummy

If you don't own a rowboat, don't worry. Rowing machines are just as effective for reducing belly bulge. In fact, rowing helps burn fat from all over your body (via Livestrong). And compared to some other exercises, rowing seems simple. After all, all you need to do is sit down and start rowing, right? Well, not quite.

As Livestrong explains, there is a correct way to row so that you get the most out of your exercising. For example, good posture and engaging your core are just as important as working your arm and shoulder muscles. And don't forget your legs. People do not move back and forth on a rowing machine's flywheel because of their arms alone. And like you would with other exercises, you should include a warmup and a cool-down in your rowing workout (via Livestrong).

Think of it this way: You're in your parked car. Normally, would you floor it as soon as you start it up? No, in fact, doing so would probably damage to your vehicle. Your body is no different. It needs time to adjust to exercising before trying to do "highway speeds."

Swimming: a low-impact exercise with huge results

Whether you prefer a pool, a lake, or the ocean, swimming is a popular exercise that can help get rid of belly fat. As personal trainer Franklin Antoian told Healthline, "You can lose the same amount of weight swimming as you could by running, but you can do so without the impact, which is great for people with injuries or painful joints." But as you progress as a swimmer, you will need to make changes to your routine.

As Healthline notes, if you keep doing the same swimming strokes over and over, your body is likely to hit a plateau, meaning the exercise that was doing you so much good is no longer giving you the results you want. To avoid this, you need to change things up and you may want to consider adding water weights to up the resistance in your workout.

If you're new to swimming, there's nothing wrong with using a kickboard or life vest until you build up your muscles (via Healthline). And if possible, try to swim before breakfast since your body is more likely to tap into stored fat in order to create energy for that early workout.

Kick your workout up a notch by biking outside

There are many advantages to a spin class especially now that they are available remotely. Even if there's a blizzard, you can still keep up with your exercise routine and can easily adjust your bike to avoid discomfort. But not so fast. There are certain benefits to biking in the great outdoors when it comes to busting belly fat.

According to Health, you need to engage your abdominal muscles more on a regular bike than a stationary bike. Why? Because unlike the equipment in a spin class, you need to maintain your balance on a moving bicycle. And that balancing act becomes even more challenging depending on the terrain.

One other important thing to keep in mind if you're switching from a spin class to outdoor biking: don't overdo it. This isn't just because you don't want to exhaust yourself. As Health explains, if you pedal 70 miles in a spin class, you can just get off your stationary bike. If you pedal 70 miles on an outdoor bike, you need to pedal 70 miles in the opposite direction to get back to your starting point.

Do situps really help flatten your stomach?

Yes, that exercise from gym class is back, but is it helpful for cutting inches from your belly? The answer is not only yes, but it's also a good choice for a beginner's workout regime (via Livestrong). However, it's essential to keep your fitness level in mind.

For anyone new to situps or exercise in general, there's good news. As Livestrong notes, you don't need to have "a rigorous fitness routine" to start dealing with unwanted bulge around your abs. Doing exercises like situps at your own pace and gradually building up your muscles will still help tone your abs and reduce fat in your midriff. Most importantly, don't compare yourself to others. Even people in great shape now didn't become that way overnight.

To work out more of your core, Livestrong recommends a twisting situp, which as the name suggests, involves twisting at the waist so more of your torso is engaged. And for a bigger challenge, you might want to try an isometric situp exercise, in which you hold yourself in the crunch position for a total of 16 counts.

Burn more calories with lunges

Another popular form of resistance training is the lunge. This challenging physical activity can, like other exercises that utilize a person's body weight, help maintain muscle mass, as well as burn calories even after a workout when a person is resting (via Medical News Today). However, one simple adjustment may help lunges better transform belly fat.

As Harvard Men's Health Watch explains, studies are finding that working out outdoors in the cold can help your body change the fat in your abdomen area into a type that is more likely to burn calories. Among the exercises listed as good choices for exercising outside are lunges, which are a good warmup that can be combined with walking and cycling.

Whether you opt for an outdoor workout or prefer to stay inside, choosing lunges combined with cardio can help keep your tummy trim. In fact, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that clinically obese adolescents benefitted in terms of their body fat ratio from a blend of cardio and resistance training exercises.

Jumpstart your cardio with jumping jacks

Used in gym classes to boot camps, the jumping jack is arguably one of the best-known calisthenics. And while it won't instantly flatten your stomach, it can help reduce fat from all parts of your body (including your belly) when it's part of your exercise routine (via Livestrong).

The secret to the jumping jack's fat-burning success is that it burns calories. And if you're burning more calories than you're taking in, your body will start burning fat for energy (via Livestrong). And this is where a proper diet comes into play. The more calories you eat in a day, the less likely your body will be able to burn them all and tap into your fat reserves.

If you're looking to vary your routine, you might want to try adding a squat move to your jumping jacks (via Livestrong). For a little more of a challenge, try star jumps, which involve not only a squat but a jump where you throw out your arms and legs. But you may want to warm up with the standard version before attempting either of these variations.