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10 Exercises To Help You Tackle the Dreaded 'Midriff Bulge'

Burn the fat in your midsection with these high-powered, total-body moves!
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Sometimes, the clearest reminder of your current physique happens when you look down. That's right,—I'm talking about that bulge in your midsection, sometimes called your gut, pouch, pooch, etc. First, it's a clear sign that you're carrying too much body fat. Second, and worse, it can also be a sign of health issues to come. After all, storing fat around your waist is linked to higher risks of major problems. That's why I've rounded up 10 of the best exercises for the midriff bulge to get your belly into shape.

If you want to turn the tide, the best training method is strength training. It burns calories and creates a hormonal response that can help specifically melt stubborn fat around your midsection. The trick is to use complex exercises, which are movements where you move several joints at once so you work as many muscles as possible—the more you target, the greater the effect of every single rep. This is how you get far better results than single-joint exercises like a bicep curl, wrist curl, calf raise, etc., which use a much smaller amount of muscles.

Below, you'll find 10 of the best darn strength exercises for the midriff bulge to help you get amazing fat-burning results. These are total-body moves that help you blast away your midsection when combined with a great diet. Substitute a few of these into your current workout routine and see your results grow.

Keep reading to learn all about the best exercises for your midriff bulge, and when you're finished working out, be sure to read about the 5 Most Effective At-Home Workouts for Weight Loss.

Split Squat + Single-Arm Cable Row (Sets: 4, Reps: 8 per side)

Set a cable handle to chest height, and grab the handle with one hand. Stand with one foot about three feet in front of the other so that your knees make two 90-degree angles at the bottom. (Whatever side that holds the handle should have that leg behind.) Drop straight down to perform a squat, and perform a row. Don't let your front knee drift past your toe.

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Step Up + Overhead Press (Sets: 4, Reps: 5 per leg)

Hold two dumbbells in your hands, and place one foot on a box or bench. Pull all your weight on that foot, and drive yourself up by pushing through your heel. Avoid pushing off with your bottom leg. At the top of the box, perform an overhead press.

Romanian Deadlift + Bent-Over Row (Sets: 4, Reps: 8)

Start from a stand while holding a barbell or dumbbells. Push your hips backward, keep your back neutral, and descend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. At the bottom of the deadlift, maintain the bent-over position, and perform a row. Then, return to the start position.

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Reverse Lunge from Box (Sets: 4, Reps: 5 per leg)

Start by standing on a short step, roughly four inches tall. Take a long step back onto the ground—long enough so that your knees make two 90-degree angles at the bottom—and pull yourself back up with your forward leg. Do all reps on one leg, and then switch legs.

Spiderman Pushups (Sets: 4, Reps: 5 per side)

spiderman pushup exercise

As you lower yourself in a pushup, pull one knee out to the side, and try to touch that same side's elbow. Get as close to the ground as you can, and push up while bringing the leg back to its original position. Alternate sides.

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Kettlebell Swings (Sets: 4, Reps: 10)

kettlebell swings, concept of exercises for midriff bulge

Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell a few feet in front of you. Then, hike the kettlebell back between your legs like a center in football, and explosively drive your hips forward. Imagine propelling the kettlebell to a target in front of you. Keep your arms relaxed.

TRX Inverted Row (Sets: 4, Reps: 8)

TRX row illustration, concept of exercises for midriff bulge

Grab TRX straps from underneath with your feet closer to the anchor point. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull yourself up while keeping your body straight like a plank.

Single-Arm Landmine Press (Sets: 3, Reps: 8 per arm)

landmine press exercise illustration, concept of exercises for midriff bulge

Place one end of a barbell in a landmine. At the other end, stand facing the landmine, grab the other end with one arm, and hold it near the same shoulder. Drive the barbell overhead without twisting. Finish all your reps on one side, and alternate. To make it harder, add weight by sliding small plates on the end.

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Treadmill Hike (30 to 45 minutes, 2 to 3x per week)

treadmill walk

Set the incline to at least 12%, and walk at a pace where your heart rate is between 135 to 150 bpm for time.

Alternating Split Squat Jumps (Sets: 3, Reps: 5 reps per leg)

jump lunges illustration

Start in a split stance. Squat down, and explode into the air, switching legs, and landing in the opposite stance. Alternate quickly and jump as high as you can each time.

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony