Melt Lower Belly Fat With These Bodyweight Exercises
Reality check: Belly fat is bad for your health. Not to cast shame on anyone who carries extra cushion around the midsection, but abdominal fat poses numerous health risks, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This risk spikes even further with a waist size greater than 40 and 35 inches for men and women, respectively. If you feel like you've tried everything under the sun to blast your belly fat but are struggling to see results, we here at Eat This, Not That! have rounded up the best bodyweight exercises to melt lower belly fat.
Targeting specific areas for fat loss is often easier said than done and requires weeks or months of committed adherence to a diet and fitness plan. Fortunately, we chatted with Kate Meier, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Gym Garage Reviews, who shares four killer exercises that will help you burn belly fat, boost your overall health, and support you along your fat loss journey.
"The areas where you most easily gain or lose fat are mainly due to genetics — but doing exercises that get your heart rate up and burn fat overall is a surefire way to get on track toward the goal of losing lower belly fat," says Meier. "This workout is designed to challenge you with total-body moves that will help you build muscle and lose fat when combined with healthy eating over time."
To start, perform the following exercises one at a time, taking short breaks as needed. Once you've completed them all, rest for one minute, and repeat. Complete the circuit three to five times, and watch your belly fat melt away. And next up, check out The Best Low-Impact Workout That Burns Fat All Over.
Alternating Toe Touch
For this one-minute timed exercise to melt lower belly fat, alternate touching your toes while isolating each side of your abs. "While this move works your entire core, you'll definitely feel the burn in your lower abs and maybe even your hips," says Meier.
To begin, lie flat on your back with your legs straight and arms straight overhead. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling while keeping it straight. At the same time, bring your right arm up. Raise your left leg until your left hip is at about a 90-degree angle, then bring your right shoulder off the floor as you touch your left foot with your right hand. Return to the starting position slowly then switch to the opposite arm and leg for the next rep. Keep alternating sides for one-minute straight.
Another timed exercise, the plank jump, will deliver a serious core burn while increasing your heart rate, helping melt away lower abdominal fat. "This twist on a classic plank adds a cardio element that will help increase the calorie burn and work on your aerobic fitness," says Meier. "However, ensure your plank form is good to reap the benefits and avoid injury."
To perform plank jumps, set up in a plank position on your hand and toes with your arms straight. Maintain a straight spine with your hips and ankles in line with your shoulders. Keep your hands directly below your shoulders. Jump your feet toward your shoulders, planting them below your hips. (Your knees should be near your elbows when you land.) Jump back to the starting position. Repeat this movement without stopping for 45 seconds.
Lying Leg Raise
"The lying leg raise is a targeted lower ab exercise that involves the hip flexors in a big way," Meier explains. "It's also a great core workout; a strong core is beneficial in virtually every exercise and day-to-day activity you do."
To set up, lie on your back with arms at your sides. (If it's more comfortable or you need extra support, place your hands underneath your lower back and glutes.) Raise your legs toward the ceiling until your hips are at a 90-degree angle or you can't go any higher while keeping your legs straight. Lower your legs back down slowly until your feet are a few inches above the floor. Raise your legs back up without allowing your heels to touch the floor. Repeat the movement for 60 seconds straight without breaks.
Here's another effective core exercise for sculpted abs that targets your entire core, including the lower abs and obliques. "Windshield wipers are excellent for the obliques, which run up and down the sides of your waist and work to cinch your waist in," says Meier.
To start, follow these steps, lie on your back while placing your hands out to your sides to help with stability. Raise your legs toward the ceiling, keeping them straight and aiming for a 90-degree angle at the hips to get into the starting position. Lower them slowly to one side while maintaining a 90-degree angle at your hips. Pause just before your feet touch the floor. Raise your legs back up and down to the opposite side while keeping them straight. Repeat for 45 seconds uninterrupted.