The Best Exercise for Belly Fat

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When many people think of losing weight, one of the first things that come to mind is getting a totally toned and taut tummy. After all, who doesn’t want to be able to slip into a pair of jeans without having to deal with a muffin top? Plus, losing belly fat is a surefire way to improve your health: Research links a larger waist size to heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. That said, we hate to break it to you, but doing hundreds of crunches every day isn’t the best way to lose belly fat. In fact, exercises that promote spot reduction just don’t exist.

“Spot reduction isn’t a viable approach to losing belly fat,” explains fitness trainer and nutrition expert Corey Phelps, creator of the Cultivate by Corey Fitness Program. “But there are some great core-focused exercises that will torch fat all over the body, resulting in a strong and more chiseled core.”

RELATED: Hey, Let’s Talk About Why You Want to Lose Weight

Celebrity trainer and nutrition expert Jillian Michaels also says that doing a variety of exercises that combine cardio, strength, and core work will ultimately help you reduce body fat. “I’m a big fan of exercises that are core-focused, but work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously with a HIIT component for added calorie burn,” she says.

Here are the best exercises and workouts to lose belly fat, according to personal trainers. Need more workout inspiration? Pick up the Tone Up in 15 workout DVDs, which is filled with 15-minute total-body workouts that you can do at home.

1. Burpees

This exercise works your core, as well as your chest, shoulders, lats, triceps, and quads, explains Michaels. Since burpees involve explosive plyometric movement, they’ll get your heart pumping too.

How to do burpees: Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and send your hips back as you lower your body toward the ground in a low squat. Then, place your hands right outside of your feet and hop your feet back, allowing your chest to touch the floor. Push your hands against the floor to lift your body up into a plank and then jump your feet just outside of your hands. With your weight in your heels, jump explosively into the air with your arms overhead.

2. Mountain Climbers

How to do mountain climbers: Get into a high-plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Keep your core tight, drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Drive your right knee toward your chest and then bring it back to plank. Then, drive your left knee toward your chest and bring it back. Continue to alternate sides.

3. Medicine Ball Burpees

How to do medicine ball burpees: Standing with your feet shoulder-distance apart, hold a medicine ball with both hands. Extend the ball up overhead, then slam the ball down on the ground as hard as you can, hinging over and sitting your butt back as you slam. As you hinge over, bend your knees. Place your hands on the ground outside of your feet and jump back into a high-plank position. Keep your body in a straight line. Then, jump your feet back towards the outsides of your hands so that you are squatting. Pick up the ball and press it overhead, extending your body and standing tall.

4. Sprawls

How to do a sprawl: Standing with your feet shoulder-distance apart, squat down and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back to a plank and lower your body to touch the ground. Push yourself up to a plank and then jump your feet outside of your hands into a squat. Stand back up. That’s one rep. “If you want to burn even more calories, add a jump between each sprawl,” Braganza adds.

5. Yoga

Getting your Om on won’t burn as many calories as a hilly run or lifting weights, but it can help build muscle and improve your endurance, which are all crucial for boosting your metabolism. Some of the highest calorie-blasting yoga poses include plank, chair, Chaturanga, and wheel. New to yoga and aren’t sure where to start? Learn more about the different types of yoga to help you find the best practice that fits your workout goals.

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