Exercises for Belly Fat

Even if you don’t go on a diet, the benefits of exercise in fighting belly fat are clear and evident.   Studies show that visceral fat cells, which lie deep in the abdomen, respond well to a variety of physical activity. And even in modest amounts, exercises for belly fat reduce the harmful effects of potent visceral fat.

Abdominal fat is characterized by a round apple shape with a widened waist that embodies our lower torso.  It consists of a layer of subcutaneous fat, the stuff you can grab, but hidden deep within is a bulk of dangerous visceral fat that nestle around the organs.  In contrast, those with a pear shape have a less threating layer of subcutaneous that pads the hips, buttocks and thighs.

However, for those with an apple shape, the good news is stomach fat is the first to go when we start exercising and begin losing weight.  And the best exercises for belly fat include a fun blend of aerobics to burn calories, strength training to increase lean muscle mass and targeted exercises to tighten tummy muscles.

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Aerobic Exercises for Belly Fat

Simply put, aerobic training burns fat, especially abdominal fat.  The first visible change you’ll notice after starting an aerobic routine is your tummy slimming down.    Running, jogging and even a brisk walk are simple, yet powerful ways to burn calories. And if you want to try a cheap trick, periodically squeezing or holding in your belly during your jaunt actually works out the deepest layer of abdominal muscles, the transversus abdominis.

Strength Training Exercises for Belly Fat

Strength or resistance training is known for its muscle building benefits.  Interestingly, researchers have also found that exercising with weights can help those who want to lose belly fat by decreasing both the surface subcutaneous fat and the deep visceral fat in the abdomen.  A University of Pennsylvania study reported that an hour of weight training twice a week reduced body fat by nearly 4% and helped to keep visceral fat off.

Spot Exercises for Belly Fat

Spot exercises are great for firming abdominal muscles to shape women with a slim silhouette or to help guys turn a beer belly into 6 pack abs.  The midsection muscles consist of the rectus abdominis that run down the front center and a set of internal and external obliques which lie to the sides.  Deepest in the belly area are the transversus abdominis muscles for breathing and compression of the internal organs.  To strengthen all these muscles and get the optimal benefit, it’s important to exert a mix of spot exercises.

Most important, scientific research shows that crunches top the chart in regards to exercises for belly fat.  In addition, bicycle maneuvers (crunches) come in at number one, working the rectus abdominis and obliques 250% better than traditional crunches.  Here’s how to do the bicycle maneuver:

Bicycle Maneuver— Lie on your back, flat on the floor with your hands beside your head.  Bring your knees up to about 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion.  Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Keep your breathing relaxed and even throughout the exercise.

And to work out your transversus abdominis, the muscles deep in your abdomen, try abdominal hollowing as recommended by Mayo Clinic.  Follow these exercises for belly fat:

Abdominal Hollowing—  Get down on all fours and let your belly hang down as you take a deep breath. Breathe out as you gently draw your bellybutton inward and upward toward your spine. Hold for 10 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. You should try to work up to 10 repetitions.  You can also do versions of this exercise when sitting at your desk or standing in line.