Many of us have tried countless belly fat exercises and fad diets to tackle extra fat around the waistline. The majority of people who aim to lose belly fat also do so because they’ve noticed very obvious changes in their mid-section such as a belly pooch. If you’ve put on weight around your tummy, it’s usually because you’ve put on extra weight in general.
Your abs aren’t just for show. Your midsection comprises of several muscles which help with posture, balance and give support to your spine, protect your internal organs and your body in general. There are four main abdominal muscles:
- Transversus abdominis – the deep core muscles which play a big role in stabilizing your trunk
- Rectus Abdominis – the ‘six pack’ muscles
- External oblique muscles – These are located on either side of the rectus abdominis and allow side to side movements, turning or twisting
- Internal oblique muscles – Internal obliques are situated just inside the hip bones and also support movement
All of these muscles are prone to becoming covered by a layer of fat which occurs due to the following factors:
- Stress and high instances of cortisol which causes excess belly fat
- Poor nutrition and consumption of too many carbs, sugars, processed food and beverages
- Lack of sleep which causes emotional eating, stress and lethargy
- Sedentary lifestyle and lack of regular exercise
- Smoking and alcohol abuse
- Medical issues or side effects of certain medicines
- Post-partum belly
Belly Fat Exercises
Reducing your belly fat comprises of both physical exercises and proper nutrition. Eating a healthy diet alone can produce great results. However, exercise is required in order to boost your metabolism, strengthen your muscles and help you burn calories from food. Here are some effective belly fat exercises that you should incorporate into your workouts to build ab strength and definition.
Crunches are a variety of abdominal exercises that aim to strengthen and tone your ab muscles. A traditional crunch engages your rectus abdominus which is the muscle in your midsection. Adding twists or rotations to crunches such as in the bicycle crunch also activates and targets the oblique muscles. To properly gain the benefits of a crunch or its variants, you must engage your core muscles as your perform the exercise, you will know when you’re doing it right because your abs will burn!
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide. Relax your neck and use your core to lift your upper body and torso off the floor while contracting your muscles. Lay back down and repeat.
Planks are most popularly associated with yoga and Pilates. This isometric move works your deep core muscles and helps you to build strength. You also use your arms, shoulders and glutes in this particular stance which makes it a full body exercise. Like crunches, there are many types of planks which engage different parts of your abs and allows you to build more strength.
How to: get into a plank position with your forearms and toes planted on the floor. Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders and hands facing forward. Relax you head and keep your gaze to the floor. Hold this position and contract your ab muscles so that your stomach and back are in a straight, rigid line. Stay in plank for as long as you can hold starting from 10 seconds before you release, and work your way your up to 30 seconds and more.
Mountain climbers are great for building cardio endurance, agility and core strength. It also requires a bit of co-ordination. This simple exercise is a major calorie burner and really gets you to work up a sweat. You can also modify mountain climbers to more advanced techniques once you’ve progressed in your fitness level.
How to: From a high plank position with weight evenly distributed between your hands and toes, pull your right knee into your chest. Switch legs as you pull your right knee back to starting position. Keep your hips downs and alternate your legs in a running motion as fast as you can.
Russian twists work your obliques, transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, hip flexors and your shoulders. This makes it a very effective belly fat exercise, especially if you want to get a more defined waist.
How to: Sit in a V position with your knees together and off the floor. Lean back slightly while contracting your core. Using your trunk, twist from left to right, keeping your legs hovering off the floor.
Stomach vacuums aren’t your typical ab exercise. They work your deep core muscles to help cinch in your waist via a breathing technique.
How to: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale as much air as you can slowly, then exhale while pulling your stomach in towards your spine. Keep your core engaged and try to breathe normally without releasing this position for 15-20 seconds. Take a deep inhale and return to starting position then repeat. This move is best performed on an empty stomach.
Lose Belly Fat the Right Way
Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t seeing a reduction in belly fat right away when you start working out. You may lose fat on other areas of your body before seeing any fat loss around your stomach. Fitness isn’t a short-term fix to your weight issues. You get the best results when you adapt fitness into your lifestyle. Most people have an idea of what to do to get fit but can’t seem to stick to a plan or execute a proper workout schedule. This is where personal training can be a great asset. At Fitness NC, our qualified trainers are dedicated to helping you achieve the best health and sustainable results. You can get a slimmer waist and 6 pack abs. Nothing is impossible as long as your work hard and stick to a healthy eating plan and regular workouts!