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The 4 Best Core Workouts To Melt Belly Fat

Fire up your abs with an expert's best core workouts to lose belly fat.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

No matter your age or stage of life, dealing with excess belly fat can be a true frustration; not to mention, it's toxic to your health. Having too much belly fat, or visceral fat, is linked to higher levels of inflammation, increased risk of cardiovascular issues (even in those with a healthy BMI) and type 2 diabetes, and may even play a role in cancer progression. But with the right diet and exercise regimen, you can lose belly fat and improve your health outcomes. And one excellent way to strip away unwanted belly fat is by firing up the muscles in your midsection through core workouts.

"Core workouts are essential to building a strong foundation and building muscle beneath your subcutaneous fat," explains Kimberly Nuzie, BS, MS of Kimberly Nuzie Fitness, who has a master's degree in exercise science and nutrition. "Core workouts alone cannot burn belly fat, but adding in bursts of cardio along with a healthy diet can help strengthen and define muscle mass. It is important to engage your core muscles the entire time during your workout including your pelvic floor muscles which go deep into your abdomen and back."

To help make things more seamless in your belly fat-loss journey, Nuzie shares some of the best core workouts to melt belly fat. Performing the below core workouts in a circuit fashion will boost your heart rate, helping you torch more fat and calories. Building up strength in your core also helps enhance your stability, balance, and posture. "Adding any of these workouts to the end of your cardio or strength workouts will lead to burning fat, building muscle, and seeing that definition," says Nuzie.

If you're ready to get started, keep reading to learn about Nuzie's top-recommended core workouts to melt belly fat. And when you're done reading up on how to shrink your belly, check out The 30-Day Standing Workout to Sculpt Ripped Abs in Record Time.

Core Workout #1

Perform each of the below exercises for the prescribed reps, then move on to the next. Once you finish all three exercises, break for 30 seconds before doing the circuit two more times to make three circuits in total.

1. Side Plank Hip Dips (Right Side)

side plank hip dip

Begin in a classic side plank with your right forearm on the ground. Your legs should be extended and your feet stacked. Activate your core as you lower—or "dip"—your hips toward the ground. Then, lift your body back up. Complete 12 reps.

2. Forearm Planks


Assume a forearm plank with your elbows under your shoulders. Your legs should be extended behind you so you're on the balls of your feet and your body forms a straight line. Engage your core. Hold this position until failure.

3. Side Plank Hips Dips (Left Side)

Complete 12 reps of side plank hip dips on your left side with your left forearm on the floor.

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Core Workout #2

1. Weighted Toe Touches

Lie flat on your back on the floor, holding a dumbbell or weight plate with both hands above your chest. Raise your legs to 90 degrees, and flex your feet. Next, crunch your body up to tap the weight to your toes. Lower your shoulders back down to the ground. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

2. Scissor Kicks

scissor kick exercise

Lie flat on your back on the ground with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Raise your legs just a few inches off the floor, lifting one leg a bit higher. Then, perform scissor kicks by moving one leg up and the other one down in a scissor-like movement. Continue to alternate, keeping your abs activated. Perform scissor kicks for three sets of 30 seconds.

3. Hollow Body Holds

hollow body hold

Lie flat on your back on the floor with your legs extended and your arms lengthened overhead. Activate the muscles in your core as you raise your head, shoulders, and legs off the floor. Make sure your arms stay reaching overhead, your core is tight, and your legs are straight; your body should resemble a banana shape. Perform three sets of this exercise, holding until failure.

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Core Workout #3

Perform each superset three times before stopping for a rest break and moving on to the next superset.

1. Burpees

illustration of burpees

Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Lower into a pushup/high plank with your hands under your shoulders and your feet lengthened behind you. Perform a pushup. Then, jump your feet up to your hands, and explosively jump up as you raise your arms overhead. Perform 10 reps.

2. High Plank Holds

high plank

Assume a high plank with your hands under your shoulders and your legs kicked back behind you. Your body should be in a straight line. Engage your core as you hold the high plank until failure.

1. Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers illustration

Start in a high plank with your legs extended behind you and your palms shoulder-width apart on the ground. Then, quickly bring your left knee to your chest before returning it behind you. Do the same with your right knee. Continue to alternate, mimicking a "running in place" action. Complete 60 reps in total.

2. V-ups


Lie down flat on your back on a workout mat. Lengthen both arms overhead, and extend your legs. Activate your core as you lift your torso and legs off the ground so that your body makes a "V." Then, gradually lower back down to the floor. Complete 15 reps.

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Core Workout #4

This is the last of Nuzie's core workouts to melt belly fat. Perform two rounds in total of the below exercises.

1. Dead Bugs

illustration of dead bug exercise

Lie flat on your back with your arms pointing up to the ceiling and your knees bent to form a 90-degree angle. Activate your core as you lower your left arm and right leg toward the ground. Make sure your lower back maintains contact with the floor as you do so. Return your arm and leg to the start position, and then lower your right arm and left leg toward the floor. Continue to alternate for 20 reps.

2. Planks

forearm plank

Lower to your forearms, and extend your legs behind you so your body is in a straight line. Engage your core as you hold your plank until failure.

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3. Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Lie down flat on a workout mat with your legs extended. Position your hands at the back of your head. Lift your legs off the ground, and bend your knees. Crunch your body up to bring your right elbow to the opposite knee; at the same time, extend your right leg. Repeat on the opposite side, and continue to alternate. Perform 30 reps.

4. Planks

Perform planks until failure.

5. Squat Thrusts

Begin by standing tall. Squat down low so that your hands are on the floor. Kick your legs back so they're fully extended and you're in a high plank. Then, jump your legs back up to your hands. Stand back up. Perform squat thrusters for 30 seconds.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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