How to Lose Belly Fat with At-Home Exercise

Updated in November 2021

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. 

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.

What to do:

  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.

What to do:

  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.

What to do:

  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. 

What to do:

  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.

What to do:

  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.  

What to do:

  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.

What to do:

  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.

What to do:

  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. 

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.