Top 10 Exercises to Lose Belly Fat (plus Aerobic Workout)

Exercises that help to target belly fat should be medium to high-intensity, should increase your heart rate and should strengthen your abdominal muscles. These factors are important for fat burning and body contouring.  

The following exercises can be done at home three to five times a week. You should warm-up with aerobic exercise (e.g. jump rope, jumping jacks) for 10 minutes before starting.  

In addition to exercise, it's crucial that you follow a healthy diet, and avoid eating processed and sugary foods on a regular basis. You should also increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, which will help you lose weight and prevent yo-yo dieting. 

Also recommended: Weight Loss Diet: Best Foods to Eat, Avoid & Meal Plan

Exercises for belly fat

Exercises that you can include in your work-out routine include:

1. Burpees

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Burpees are a simple move that work the whole body and do not require any equipment. They can be done anywhere. One burpee works your back, arms, chest, legs, and glutes, which results in a big energy expenditure and leads to fat loss.

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Squat to the ground and place your hands on the floor. Throw your feet behind you.
  3. Stay in this plank position, with your chest and thighs facing the ground.
  4. Jump your feet back to your hands and stand up, making sure you jump with your hands above your head when you stand.

Do three rounds of 8 to 12 burpees. It's important to try and maintain the same speed when performing burpees to obtain best results. Rest for 1 minutes between rounds.

2. Bicycle crunch

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The bicycle crunch is a type of ab exercise that combines torso and hip flexion with rotation of the torso to strengthen the abdominal muscles.

How to:

  1. Lie down on your back; 
  2. Raise your legs with your lower back pressed against the floor;
  3. Simulate that you are pedaling a bike in the air.
  4. When your right knee is close to your abdomen, reach for it with your left elbow, making sure you keep your hands behind your head. Repeat with the left knee and right elbow.

For best results, do 30 reps of each side for four rounds, with a one minute rest in between rounds. Ensure your spine is straight to prevent injury.

3. Cross-body mountain climber 

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The cross-body mountain climber is a high-intensity move that raises heart rate, burns fat, and strengthens abdominal muscles, all which help with muscle toning.

How to:

  1. Place your hands on the ground; 
  2. Place your weight on your tip-toes, keeping your body still and in a plank position; 
  3. Bring one knee forward and to the opposite side (e.g. left knee under to your right side), and alternate legs.

You can perform this exercise, alternating knees continuously for one minute, for four rounds total. Rest for 30 seconds between rounds.

4. Plank

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The isometric plank position is very efficient in helping you lose belly fat and tone your abdominal muscles. This is because the muscles are actively working to hold you in position. 

How to:

  1. Place your two hands shoulder width apart on the floor; 
  2. Place your feet behind you on the floor, slightly separated but parallel to each other, ensuring your bodyweight is equally distributed on these four points;
  3. Keep your back aligned, without raising your hips.

Hold your body in this position for 30 seconds or for the maximum amount of time that you can.  

5. Reverse crunch

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With the reverse crunch, you can tone the muscles of the lower part of the stomach and shape your waist.

How to:

  1. Lie on your back and with your legs stretched out;
  2. Place your hands palms down on the floor, next to your body; 
  3. Bend your knees and raise your hips from the floor, bringing your knees towards your chin;
  4. Stretch your legs and lower them, without placing your feet on the floor.

For this exercise to be effective, complete 30 repetitions, or as many as you can, in four rounds. 

6. Floor sit-up

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The goal of the floor sit-up is to shape the waist, as this helps to define the upper abs.  

How to:

  1. Lie on the floor on a mat, belly-up;
  2. Bend your knees and place them flat on the floor, parallel to each other
  3. Place your hands behind your head and lift your torso, trying to get your chin to touch your knee. 

Keep your lower back pressed into the ground to prevent injury.

Do four rounds of 30 reps, or as many as you can.

7. Crunch with elevated legs

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When doing this crunch, you can hold your legs in an elevated position, or you can support them on a yoga ball or chair.

How to:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor
  2. Raise your feet and keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle
  3. Place your hands behind your head;
  4. Raise your torso slightly and contract your abdominal muscles

When you are just starting this exercise program, crunching with your legs supported on a ball or chair may be better. You can make this exercise more challenging later on by removing the leg support.

8. V-crunch

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This exercise is borrowed from yoga, and it is a good move to target abdominal toning. In this exercise, the body is in V position and only the gluteal muscles touch the floor.

How to:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms at your side
  2. Raise your torso and legs from the ground, and reach your arms forward toward your feet
  3. Lower your torso and legs back to the floor, making sure to only tap the floor before repeating.

You can do 3 rounds of v-crunches for 30 seconds, or many as possible. Rest for 1 minute between rounds. 

9. Russian twist

The Russian twist helps to target belly fat as it works the abdominal muscles. It can be done with a medicine ball and twisting at the mid-spine.

How to:

  1. Sit on the floor and bend your legs at the knees, with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold the medicine ball with your hands, at chest height.
  3. Tilt your torso back, at a 45º angle, with your spine straight and your abdomen contracted.
  4. Take your feet off the floor, so that your upper legs and torso form a V.
  5. Rotate your torso to the right, taking the ball to the right side. Maintain this position for about 2 seconds.
  6. Return to the center slowly.
  7. Rotate your torso to the left, taking the ball to the left side, maintaining this position for 2 seconds.

One turning movement to the right and left is considered 1 repetition. Therefore, it is recommended to do 2 to 3 sets of 8 repetitions.

It is important that the turning movement comes from the ribs and not the arms, in addition, you must always keep your abdomen contracted and control your breathing.

10. Jump squat

Jump squats work the abdominal muscles and can help to reduce belly fat. They also work the glutes, lower back and back of the thighs

Also recommended: Complete Leg Workout: 8 Exercises to Target All Leg Muscles

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet apart, shoulder-width apart. Your back should always remain straight and your abdomen should be contracted.
  2. Slowly lower your body by bending your knees, leaning your torso slightly forward and pushing your bum far back, as if you were going to sit on an invisible chair.
  3. Go down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Do not extend your knees beyond your toes.
  4. Push your body upwards, taking a jump. Stretch your legs well and lift your feet a few centimeters off the ground. Your arms should be at your sides.
  5. Place your feet on the floor and repeat the squat and jump in 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, with 1 minute of rest between sets.

It is important that when performing this exercise, the abdomen is always contracted. Care must also be taken with the posture of the spine to avoid injuries. In addition, you must control your breathing, inhaling when squatting and exhaling when jumping.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic exercises are a great option to include in your training routine to lose belly fat. They help to speed-up your metabolism, increase your cardiorespiratory rate and burn more calories. Some aerobic exercises are:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Jumping rope
  • Step classes
  • Elliptical

It is important that aerobic exercises are guided by a trained professional. He or she can indicate the best option and intensity to be used, as exercise can vary depending on each person's limitations and health goals.

Exercise recommendations

Before starting any type of exercise, make sure you get clearance from your doctor. 

It's also important to drink water between exercises, wear proper exercise clothes, and prepare the space for the activity (some exercises will require a good amount of space).

If you feel pain in your back or knees during these exercises, it's important to stop immediately and to seek medical attention to prevent further injury.

Other excellent ways of toning your body and losing weight are boxing and martial arts, as these define the muscles and improve resistance and physical strength.