If excess stomach fat is giving you grief, you're not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost one-third of U.S. adults are overweight. However, with the right exercises, a healthy diet, and consistency, you can make significant progress in as quick as 30 days. That's why we chatted with Rose McNulty, CPT, NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach with Garage Gym Reviews, who carefully selected her top exercises to engage your core muscles, boost your metabolism, and help you lose unwanted flab. Listen up and get ready for seven of the most effective exercises to melt stomach fat in just 30 days.
But first, we need to clarify: These exercises won't magically spot-reduce fat from your stomach. However, combined with a healthy diet and overall calorie deficit, they'll help strengthen your core, tone your tummy, and promote abdominal fat loss.
"When it comes down to it, losing belly fat is a matter of overall loss because it isn't possible to spot or reduce fat," says McNulty. "Genetics come into play regarding where we hold body fat, but exercise and diet can help reach this goal. The following exercises are a mix of strength training and cardio strategies, critical parts of a well-rounded fitness routine."
Keep reading for McNulty's seven most effective exercises, and watch that stomach fat shrink as you get stronger and leaner. Then, dive into these 5 Strength Exercises You Need To Tighten & Firm Butt Cellulite.
Running (or Jogging)
"Running or jogging may be cardio, but when done correctly, running is a total-body exercise that engages the entire body—including the core muscles—while burning calories," explains McNulty. "Maintaining good posture and stabilizing your body during each stride keeps your abs working to support your spine and maintain balance."
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time-efficient workout method alternating between intense bursts of exercise and short recovery periods. Research shows that this type of training is effective for burning fat and ramping up your metabolism for hours after the workout.
"HIIT workouts entailing short bursts of intense work and short rest periods are great for torching fat. Many exercises, like squat jumps or burpees, are commonly done during HIIT and engage the core muscles to help maintain stability and generate power during explosive moves," explains McNulty.
Mountain climbers put your abs, obliques, and quads to work, making them a steller exercise to sculpt a stronger midsection and burn calories. They're a welcome addition to any belly fat-shrinking routine.
"Mountain climbers target the abs but also engage the entire body," states McNulty. "Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders, then alternate, bringing one knee toward your chest at a time while keeping your abs engaged. Move quickly but with control to make sure your abs stay engaged, and keep your spine neutral and hips low throughout the movement."
Kickboxing is a fun and challenging way to shed excess stomach fat. It also delivers a high-energy, total-body workout that combines cardio and strength training.
"Kickboxing workouts involve a combination of punches, kicks, and dynamic movements, making it a great cardio workout that engages the abs. Throwing punches and performing kicks takes core strength and stability while getting your heart rate up. Try shadowboxing or working with a heavy bag for two or three-minute rounds," says McNulty.
Elevate your plank game with this dynamic variation that combines the core-strengthening benefits of planks with the cardiovascular challenge of jumping jacks.
"Plank jacks combine the core stability demands of a plank but with the cardio element of a jumping jack," says McNulty. "Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders. While keeping your core tight and engaged and your hips aligned with your shoulders and ankles, jump your feet out wide as you would during a jumping jack, then jump them back together. Maintain perfect plank form and a controlled pace throughout the reps."
Bicycle crunches are a staple exercise for sculpting abs and obliques.
"Lie on your back and lift your legs off the floor, bringing your knees toward your chest. Place your hands behind your head, and alternate touching your left elbow to your right knee and your right elbow to your left knee in a cycling motion. As you bring one leg up toward your elbow, straighten and lower the other until it hovers above the floor before switching sides," instructs McNulty.
Medicine Ball Slams
Say goodbye to stress and belly fat with medicine ball slams. This explosive exercise involves lifting a medicine ball overhead and slamming it down with all you've got.
"Medicine ball slams are a total-body exercise, but slamming the ball into the floor is like a standing crunch that demands core strength and stability," says McNulty. "Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Raise the ball overhead, then slam it to the ground while engaging your core."