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5 Best Strength Exercises To Lose That Top Layer of Belly Fat

Keeping belly fat at bay helps you stay fit and prevents certain health risks.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Keeping belly fat at bay will not only help you stay in shape, but it'll also help prevent certain health risks. If you didn't already know, carrying around too much belly fat—aka visceral fat—is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Taking just the right steps to ditch it is imperative, which includes sticking to a diet that's high in protein, decreasing stress in your life, staying away from sugar-packed foods and trans fat, eating at a calorie deficit, and performing productive workouts. We have you covered with the fitness part of the equation and rounded up five of the best strength exercises to lose that top layer of belly fat.

Strength training is king if you want to get rid of excess fat. It burns more calories than cardio, helps build and maintain lean muscle, and will give your metabolism a major boost. I recommend choosing compound movements that target multiple muscle groups and performing your strength exercises at least three times a week to maximize your results.

If you're looking to lose that top layer of belly fat, start performing these five strength exercises ASAP. Aim for 3 to 4 sets of the following.

Sumo Deadlift

sumo deadlift exercise to lose that top layer of belly fat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

In order to get things started with the Sumo Deadlift, set your feet outside of your shoulders with your toes pointed outward. Keep your chest tall, squat down, and grip the bar between your legs. With your core tight and your lats pulled down, lift the bar off the ground, squeezing your glutes hard at the top of the movement. Lower the bar back down to the floor, and get tight with your setup again before performing another rep. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps.

Related: The #1 Strength Workout To Regain Muscle Mass as You Age, Trainer Says

Neutral Grip Lat Pulldowns

lat pulldown
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Now, let's move on to Neutral Grip Lat Pulldowns. Grab the narrow parallel grip attachment at the lat pulldown station with your palms facing each other. Lean slightly back as you pull the handle down to your sternum, squeezing your upper back and lats. Resist on the way up until you get a full stretch at the top before performing another rep. Perform 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps.

Related: The #1 Floor Workout To Lose Belly Fat and Slow Down Aging, Says Trainer

Dumbbell Neutral Grip Bench Press

neutral grip bench press exercise to lose that top layer of belly fat
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Start your Dumbbell Neutral Grip Bench Press by lying down flat on a workout bench. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position them up with your palms facing each other. Pull your shoulder blades back, then lower the dumbbells using control. Get a solid chest stretch at the bottom of the movement, then drive the dumbbells back up, flexing your triceps and pecs to finish. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps.

Goblet Walking Lunges

goblet walking lunges
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

For this next exercise, hold a dumbbell to your chest, and perform a lunge by taking a long stride forward with one leg. Firmly plant your heel, then lower down using control until your back knee touches the floor. Step through your other leg, and repeat until all reps are performed. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 12 reps for each leg.

Kettlebell Swing

kettlebell swing to shrink a muffin top
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

The last exercise is the Kettlebell Swing. Keep your chest tall, and reach for the kettlebell handle with both hands. Tighten your core, and pull the kettlebell towards you before snapping your hips forward and squeezing your glutes as hard as you can at the top. Swing the kettlebell until it's parallel to the floor. After swinging it, keep your core tight, and use your lats to pull the kettlebell back down. With your knees slightly bent, pull the weight back between your legs, and hip hinge backward before popping them forward to perform another rep. Complete 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim