10 Belly Fat-Burning Exercises (You Can Do Them at Home)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 14, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

If you're struggling to lose stubborn belly fat despite all the ab exercises, you’re not the first or the last.

Belly fat burning is often one of the most misunderstood concepts in fitness, so I’m here to shed some light on it.

As a personal trainer with over a decade of experience, I've compiled a list of 10 proven at-home exercises you can do today to start torching those extra pounds fast.

The best part? You can do them all at home.

Let’s roll.

Quick Summary

  • The best fat-burning exercises are basic planks, mountain climbers, reverse crunches, bicycle crunch exercises, flutter kicks, and Russian twists.
  • No exercise can spot-reduce belly fat; your body decides where it burns fat.
  • According to a study from Frontiers in Nutrition, increased hydration may be associated with belly fat loss.
  • In addition to exercise, eating more protein, eating less refined carbs, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress can speed up your fat loss.

10 Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat Without Equipment

Before I dive into the best exercises for burning belly fat without equipment, I need to set the record straight with some cold, hard facts.

What You Need To Know About Burning Belly Fat

Here are three important facts about belly fat you need to know:

  • No exercise can spot-reduce belly fat; in fact, you can't spot-reduce fat from any part of your body without surgical intervention.
  • Belly fat, unfortunately, tends to be one of the last places your body burns fat.
  • Ab exercises won't burn belly fat, but they will help expose your ab muscles by making them bigger.

Now that you're equipped with the basic facts about burning belly fat, let's look at exercises that will define your mid-section and help reveal your abs.

10 Best Exercises To Reveal Your Abs

plank

Here are 10 exercises that will help bring definition to your mid-section and reveal those abs.

1. Basic Plank

I highly recommend planks for people of all fitness levels.

Here's how you do it with good form:

  1. Lie face down on the floor and position your elbows directly under your shoulders, forearms, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button towards your spine.
  3. Push up onto your elbows and toes, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Keep your head in line with your spine, and avoid lifting or sagging your hips.
  5. Hold this position, ensuring even weight distribution between the elbows and toes, and breathe steadily.

You can make planks more challenging by doing them with a weight plate on your back.

2. Mountain Climbers

Kneeling Mountain Climber

This heart-pumping exercise that looks like running in place in a high plank position is one of my favorites.

It helps increase abdominal strength and defines the upper body parts while boosting your metabolism.

Here's how you do it with good form:

  1. Start in a high plank position. Place your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Move your right knee toward your chest without touching the floor, then bring it back behind you.
  3. Then switch to the left leg, with knees bent, and continue by adding speed gradually as you drive those feet back and through.

3. Reverse Crunches

reverse crunches

I love the reverse crunch for its simplicity.

Here's how you do it with good form:

  1. Lie on your back on a mat with your legs extended. Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down for stability.
  2. Lift your legs and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet together.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles, preparing to use them to initiate the movement.
  4. Exhale and use your abs to lift your hips off the floor, bringing your knees towards your chest. Your lower back should curl up as you do this.
  5. Inhale and slowly lower your hips back to the starting position, keeping the movement controlled to avoid any jerking or momentum.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Maintain your feet above the ground as you lower your leg.

4. Bicycle Crunch

Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches have been my go-to exercise (other than Russian twists) for effectively targeting the obliques and the entire abdominal region.

Here are five simple steps to perform them:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your hands placed behind your head, elbows wide.
  2. Lift your shoulders off the mat and bring your knees up to form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Extend your left leg out while simultaneously twisting your torso to bring your right elbow towards your left knee.
  4. Quickly switch to the other side, extending your right leg while bringing your left elbow to your right knee.
  5. Continue alternating sides in a smooth, pedaling motion, keeping your abs engaged and breathing evenly throughout the exercise.

5. Flutter Kicks

flutter kicks

Flutter kicks are a challenging yet effective way to target the deeper abdominal muscles.

Here's how you do them:

  1. Lie on your back on a mat, with your arms by your sides and palms facing down for stability.
  2. Extend your legs in front of you and lift them slightly off the ground, keeping them straight.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles to stabilize your lower back and maintain a neutral spine.
  4. Lift each leg alternately up and down in a small, controlled fluttering motion, like scissors.
  5. Keep the movement controlled and continuous, focusing on using your core muscles. Breathe steadily and avoid letting your lower back arch off the floor.

6. Russian Twists

Medicine Ball Russian Twist

The Russian twist is a core crusher exercise that works for the muscles in your abdomen, shoulders, and hips.

It's my favorite exercise for the obliques.

Here's how you do them:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lean back slightly to create a V-shape with your torso and thighs.
  2. For an added challenge, lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your sit bones. If you're a beginner, you can keep your feet on the ground.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and prepare for the twisting motion.
  4. Hold your hands together in front of your chest or hold a weight for added resistance. Rotate your torso to the right, bringing your arms parallel to the floor, then switch to the left side.
  5. Continue alternating sides in a controlled manner, focusing on engaging your obliques with each twist. Keep your movements steady and avoid rushing.

7. Squat Jumps

squat jump

Squat jumps have been a dynamic and exhilarating part of my workout routine, offering an excellent way to combine strength training with cardiovascular fitness.

Here's how to perform them effectively in five simple steps:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Keep your back straight and your chest up.
  2. Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat position, as if you're sitting back in a chair. Keep your weight on your heels and your knees behind your toes.
  3. From the squat position, engage your core and use your leg muscles to jump up explosively. Swing your arms for added momentum.
  4. Land back on the floor softly, with your knees bent to absorb the impact. Immediately go into the next squat to prepare for another jump.
  5. Focus on maintaining good form throughout the exercise. Keep your knees aligned with your toes, and avoid letting them cave inward. Breathe steadily and maintain a rhythmic pace.

8. Burpees

burpees

Burpees have been a key component in many of my clients’ fitness routines. They’re notorious for their exceptional fat-burning and abdominal toning capabilities.

Here’s how you perform them:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Bend at your knees and hips to squat down, placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
  3. Quickly jump your feet back so you are in a plank position, keeping your body straight from head to heels.
  4. For an added challenge, do a push-up, ensuring your chest nearly touches the floor.
  5. Jump your feet back towards your hands, then explosively jump up into the air, reaching your arms overhead.
  6. Land softly and immediately move into the next repetition, maintaining a steady and controlled pace.

Kick or step back into a plank position.

Step your feet forward to return to a squat position. Then go back to the starting upright position.

9. Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks have always been a fundamental part of my cardio and conditioning routine, offering excellent benefits for heart health and muscle toning, especially in the legs and core.

Here’s how you do them properly:

  1. Stand upright with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
  2. Jump up, spreading your legs wider than shoulder-width apart while simultaneously raising your arms above your head. Your body should form an 'X' shape at the peak of the jump.
  3. Land softly on the balls of your feet, returning your legs to shoulder-width apart. This helps reduce the impact on your joints.
  4. As you land, bring your arms back down to your sides in a smooth, controlled motion.
  5. Continue the movements in a fluid, rhythmic motion. Keep your core engaged and maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise.

10. Push-ups

press-up-push-up

This classic exercise is a must-try for its versatility and comprehensive muscle engagement.

Here's how to do push-ups in five simple steps:

  1. Begin in a plank position with your hands planted firmly on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Ensure your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels.
  2. Tighten your core and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your body. This alignment is crucial for an effective push-up.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower your body towards the floor. Aim to keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your body.
  4. As you descend, keep your body straight and avoid sagging your hips or arching your back.
  5. Exhale as you push back up to the starting position, using the strength of your arms and chest. Keep your movements smooth and controlled.

Drop your body so that your chest nearly touches the floor, then slowly push back up.

Sample Workout Plan

Based on the exercises above, I've put together a sample workout plan you can follow three times a week.

Begin with the following warm-up:

  • 2 minutes of light jogging or brisk walking
  • 3 minutes of dynamic stretching (arm circles, leg swings, gentle torso twists)

For the workout routine, perform each exercise for 1–2 sets each, depending on your level of strength:

  • Planks: 2 sets x 30 seconds
  • Mountain climbers: 2 sets x 30 seconds
  • Reverse crunches: 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Bicycle crunches: 2 sets x 30 seconds
  • Flutter kicks: 2 sets x 30 seconds
  • Russian twists: 2 sets x 30 seconds
  • Squat jumps: 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Burpees: 1 set x 10 reps
  • Jumping jacks: 2 sets x 1 minute
  • Push-ups: 2 sets x 10 reps (or as many as you can with good form)

Follow your workout with the following cool-down:

  • 5 minutes of light jogging or brisk walking will bring your heart rate down.
  • 5 minutes of static stretching (include stretches for your arms, legs, back, and core).

Science-backed Tips For Burning Abdominal Fat

As someone who's helped many clients achieve their dream physiques, I can't stress this enough: exercise is only one part of losing belly fat.

Here are five science-backed tips that'll help you speed your belly-fat-losing process:

  • Hydrate regularly: According to a study from Frontiers in Nutrition, increased hydration may be associated with weight loss [1].
  • Eat more protein: Eating a diet high in protein can help you satiate your hunger with fewer calories, helping you avoid snacking between meals [2].
  • Reduce refined carbs: Lower your intake of refined carbohydrates (like white bread and pasta) to help lose fat, especially in the abdominal area. Whole grains are a healthier choice [3].
  • Adequate sleep: Several studies have linked poor sleep quality with increased weight gain and poor weight management [4].
  • Stress management: Practice stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. High-stress levels can lead to increased cortisol, a hormone associated with abdominal fat gain [5].

References:

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2016.00018/full
  2. https://www.webmd.com/diet/high-protein-diet-weight-loss
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26707058/
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/8/1549
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27345309/
Was this article helpful?
YesNo

About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

You May Also Like

Performing CrossFit workout at home
By James Cunningham, BSc, CPT 2 months ago
13 At-Home CrossFit Workouts (WODs You Can Try Today)
Measuring tape wrapped around the body
By Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT 5 months ago
4 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat Without Equipment
A person using an elliptical machine
By Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT 5 months ago
Does An Elliptical Burn Belly Fat? (What You Need to Know)
Doing push ups indoors and outdoors
By James Cunningham, BSc, CPT 5 months ago
Do Push-Ups Burn Belly Fat? (Facts You Need to Know)
A woman doing sit ups and a woman pinching her belly fats
By Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT 5 months ago
Do Sit-Ups Burn Belly Fat? 4 Facts You Really Need to Know

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.