When it comes to shrinking belly fat and achieving a toned midsection, the gym can be an excellent place to focus your efforts. However, with so many exercises and workout options available, it’s crucial to identify the most effective ones for targeting belly fat. That’s why we consulted Jarrod Nobbe, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, who shares seven of the most effective belly fat exercises worth doing at the gym.
Excess belly fat isn’t only aesthetically undesirable but is also linked to numerous health risks, including diabetes, heart disease, and liver issues, UT Southwestern reports. Fortunately, by incorporating these targeted exercises into your gym routine, you can say goodbye to stubborn belly fat and work toward a flatter, more sculpted abdomen.
The following exercises offer a comprehensive approach to targeting belly fat. Combining cardiovascular workouts and strength training exercises can maximize your fat-burning potential and build lean muscle mass. Additionally, these exercises can help boost overall fitness, enhance posture, and improve core strength, contributing to a stronger and more resilient body.
“When looking to burn fat, you want to push yourself to improve overall fitness levels,” Nobbe tells Eat This, Not That! “The more efficient your body becomes at performing physically demanding movements, the better you’ll be at burning calories. Couple these movements in a consistent, structured workout plan and a balanced diet, and the results will speak for themselves.”
Read on for the movements and get ready to melt stubborn belly fat for good as we unveil the only seven belly fat exercises worth doing at the gym.
Kettlebell swings are a powerhouse exercise that targets multiple muscle groups while providing a high-intensity cardio workout. If you want to burn belly fat and build overall strength, consider kettlebell swings your go-to.
“Kettlebell swings are great for working the whole body, especially the posterior chain, and core, and getting the heart rate up quickly,” says Nobbe.
To set up, hinge at your hips to position the kettlebell below hip height. Keep your arms straight and the kettlebell above knee height as you explosively extend the hips forward while allowing the kettlebell to swing up to chest height. Keep control with your arms to take advantage of the return momentum of the kettlebell as you go into your consecutive repetitions. Aim for 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest for five rounds.
A rowing machine is a fantastic tool for both cardio and strength training. By incorporating rowing into your routine, you can torch calories, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and tone your abdominal muscles.
“Rowing is a versatile and demanding full-body movement guaranteed to burn calories and challenge your effort,” states Nobbe. “The rowing machine is one of the best low-impact cardio machines to challenge your entire body.”
To get started, push with your legs first, then lean back slightly. Finish the movement by pulling the handle toward your body with a strong rowing motion. Next, straighten your arms, lean forward, and bend your knees to return to the starting position. Again, aim to keep your stroke rate low and your power production high for the best results.
Sprinting (especially on an incline) effectively targets belly fat and boosts your metabolism. In addition, incline running challenges your cardiovascular system while engaging your core and lower-body muscles. Start with shorter sprints, and gradually increase the duration and intensity as your fitness level improves. Also, warm up properly and maintain proper form throughout the exercise to avoid injury.
“Sprinting is most effective for burning calories per minute. Adding the incline increases the challenge while decreasing the impact on the joints,” explains Nobbe.
Increase the incline on a treadmill to where it’s challenging, and safely increase the speed to a sprinting speed. Challenge yourself by using shorter work intervals due to the high-intensity nature of the sprint. For example, do 10 seconds on with a 50-second rest as a starting point. Look to increase the number of rounds performed before increasing sprinting time.
The assault bike provides a stellar full-body workout that burns calories and targets stubborn belly fat. That’s because the combination of arm and leg movements creates a powerful cardiovascular challenge while engaging your core muscles.
“An assault bike differentiates itself from a typical spin bike by the effort needed and the incorporation of the arms used to help coordinate the movement,” says Nobbe. “It creates an even more challenging workout, making it even better for burning fat.”
While burpees aren’t necessarily a crowd favorite, this dynamic, full-body exercise can help you shrink belly fat and improve overall conditioning. According to research, burpees can increase speed, strength, and power while improving body composition and building stronger bones.
“This movement combines a squat, a plank, a pushup, and a jump to challenge your strength and endurance while working multiple muscle groups. The key here is to make this movement as controlled as possible while connecting strength and power movements,” says Nobbe.
To set up, lower yourself into a balanced squat position, then quickly hop to the floor into a plank position. Next, perform a pushup, jump your feet to your hands, then jump straight up, driving through the floor.
The box jump is an explosive plyometric movement that engages the muscles of your lower body, such as the calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes, MasterClass explains. This exercise helps build strength, power, and agility while torching calories and targeting belly fat. Start with a lower box height, and gradually increase it as your strength and confidence improve.
“Explosive movements like the box jump significantly increase your heart rate to ramp up calorie and fat burning,” states Nobbe.
To do the exercise, get a box or step you can confidently jump onto even when tired. Load into your hips, then aggressively extend them while pushing off both feet. Try to land soft and tall, then step down safely. Aim for five rounds of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.
Wall balls are a fantastic full-body exercise that combines strength, cardio, and coordination, PowerliftingTechnique.com explains. Using a medicine ball and performing squats while throwing the ball against a wall will engage your legs, core, and upper body.
“Wall balls require explosiveness from the upper and lower body and are great for building endurance,” says Nobbe.
Stand one or two steps back from a wall. Squat while holding a medicine ball in a goblet hold position with your elbows tucked in. As you drive out of the squat, push the ball to the target on the wall (aim for eight to 10 feet above you). Use the return momentum to catch the ball and go into the next rep. Do 10 wall balls every minute on the minute for 10 minutes.