What is your main goal when you go to the gym?
If you said lose weight then you’re not alone. Lots of people exercise just to accomplish this, but are you going about it the right way?
If you aren’t sure, then read my post on how to get a 6 pack here.
Now that you have a better understanding of what you need to do to lose that weight, let’s dive a little deeper in to the best exercises to lose belly.
If you are trying to lose body fat and you haven’t been weight training then now is a good time to change that.
Weight training has so many benefits to burning fat that you won’t get from steady state cardio. Not only will you be burning fat while you lift weights, but adding lean muscle mass will increase your resting metabolic rate which means your body will burn more fat through out the day.
The old school recommendation for losing belly fat was to do steady state cardio, but times have changed and we have a better understanding of how the body works. Some people are still stuck in this idea that cardio is the best way to burn fat, or maybe you are worried you will get too buff or bulky if you lift weights.
I can assure you that you will not get too bulky, you may get more toned and will see muscle definition, but unless you have crazy genetics and are putting in hours of weight training you shouldn’t be worried about it.
If you are new to weight lifting then check out my Weight Training Tips for Beginners, if you have been lifting weights but aren’t seeing the results you were after, then you need to increase the intensity, frequency and the weight you are lifting.
The best exercises to lose belly fat will be the exercises that utilize the largest muscles in the body and take the most effort to do. If you find your workouts start getting easy then you need to increase the weight or aim to complete more repetitions. Remember to always keep the intensity as high as you can and to put in as much effort as your current fitness level will allow. If you do that every time you lift weights, you will start to get stronger as well as put on more muscle and burn more fat.
My top 3 picks for the best exercises to burn fat are listed below:
To perform a back squat you will need a barbell or if that is not an option check out my Barbell Substitutes to see how you can emulate this exercise with dumbbells or resistance bands.
- Stand under the bar in the rack and position it on your scapula on your upper back.
- Lift the weight off of the supports and take a step back.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips, toes pointed slightly out. Keep your back neutral and your head up looking straight ahead.
- Keep your core tight, take a deep breath in and push your hips back as your knees begin to bend. Focus on keeping your knees inline with your feet and drop down until your hips are lower than your knees.
- Breathe out as you drive through your heels and push back up to a standing position. Do not allow your knees to move inward toward each other and squeeze your glutes as you reach the top.
Dumbbell Clean and Press
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and the dumbbells in your hands as you stand up straight.
- Push your hips back and chest up as you lower the dumbbells to just below your knee level on either side of your body.
- Then in one explosive movement drive your heels in to the ground as you pull the dumbbells up to your chest, shrug your shoulders up and point your elbows forward.
- As soon as the dumbbells are at your chest drive through your heels again and press the dumbbells directly overhead and straighten your arms and legs. With some control return to the start position.
- Stand behind a barbell on the floor with your feet hip width apart, and your shins touching the barbell.
- Hinge at the hip first and then at the knees as you bend down to grab the barbell with an overhand grip.
- Keep your core tight and your shoulder blades squeezed together.
- Drive through the mid-foot as you push to a standing position while keeping the barbell on the front of your legs throughout the movement.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout consists of short bursts of high intensity exercises combined with periods of rest or lower intensity exercise. The goal is to get your heart rate to at least 80 percent of it’s maximum capacity for one to five minutes with periods of rest or less intense exercise that allows your heart rate to drop below 80 percent.
Any form of HIIT is great for losing belly fat, if you crank up the intensity it has the ability to burn more calories than any other type of workout.
Benefits of Interval Training
Increased Metabolic Rate
One of the great things about HIIT is it’s ability to increase your metabolic rate for hours after you are done your cardio workout. That means you burn more calories than you would have normally in the same time period, studies have shown that it can elevate your metabolism for hours after you exercise.
You can still build muscle mass using HIIT, you can’t move your body without using your muscles so you will see an improvement in your muscle growth and definition. This will be especially true for anyone that is new to weight training. This has the added benefit of burning more calories through the rest of your day as well, since carrying more lean muscle mass on your frame raises your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories burned at rest).
Greater Oxygen Consumption
Improves Oygen Consumption and Stamina, your oxygen consumption is the amount of oxygen taken in and used by the body per minute. I won’t go too deep in to this because I’m sure most people don’t need to know all the science behind it except to know that performing HIIT and any increased physical training will improve oxygen consumption, and studies have shown that high pulmonary peak oxygen consumption increases athletic performance.
Reduced Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
Reduces Heart Rate and Blood Pressure in overweight and obese individuals. What I like about this one is that HIIT has been shown to reduce blood pressure more than moderate intensity exercise. This means if you are able to do HIIT training you could lower your blood pressure and make a big step in the right direction to a healthy lifestyle.
Reduced Blood Sugar
Lowers blood sugar and has even been shown to improve insulin resistance more than steady state cardio or traditional weight lifting., which can be extremely beneficial for those at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Now the reason that most people are probably here, it burns fat! And it is very effective at doing that. Burning fat isn’t just about looking better, it’s also about feeling better and improving your health. With HIIT training you could see as much as a 17 percent reduction in visceral fat, this is the fat surrounding your internal organs that can promote disease.
How Do You Do It?
There are several ways to do HIIT training effectively but I like to do mine with body weight exercises to maximize whole body muscle activation. The main part here is to find something that you enjoy doing and keeps you motivated while still being challenging and raising your heart rate to 80 percent of your maximum.
Here is one of the HIIT routines that I do, I like to change the exercises that I do from day to day but I keep the general layout the same. You can adjust to make it your own or try it out the way it is, just keep the general rule of eight 1-minute maximum effort rounds interspersed with a 1-minute active recovery. You can also add more active recoveries to match your current fitness level.
1-minute Box Jumps
1-minute Wall Sit (active recovery)
1-minute Alternating Split Squat Jumps
1-minute Plyo Push-up
1-minute Body Weight Squat (active recovery)
1-minute Mountain Climbers
1-minute Alternating Box Step-ups (active recovery)
1-minute Twisting Piston
1-minute Squat Jumps
Whether you choose to do weight training or HIIT training, these are going to be the best exercises to burn belly fat. Just remember that the old saying “you can’t out exercise a bad diet” will always hold true no matter how much exercising you are doing. Meaning if you continue to eat unhealthy, your body will always reflect that.
Remember to check out my post on how to get a 6 pack to learn the hard truth about what you need to be doing to achieve the figure of your dreams. Remain consistent, work hard and have fun while you’re doing it!
Do you have a favourite exercise to burn belly fat? Let me know in the comments section.