One of the most debated questions in the fitness industry is “can we spot reduce fat in a certain area of the body?” The scientific consensus is that it is simply not possible. The body can’t drop body fat in one area but not the other.
So, how can we lose belly fat fast?
The obvious or most common answer is to do a heap of sit-ups and crunches. I will cover my 12 favorite exercises to get the whole body to adapt and drop fat fast from the comfort of your own home! These exercises help us appear leaner in the mid-section as the ab muscles become fuller and draw water into the muscle, making our abs seem larger and our waist leaner.
The human body is extremely intelligent—far more intelligent than we may ever understand. What I have observed over the last 15 years in fitness is the body will adapt extremely fast. It’s always looking to make our everyday tasks more efficient or easier (creating the path of least resistance). This is an inbuilt evolutionary survival mechanism to preserve energy.
This raises the question, what exercises can we do that will force the body to make these adaptions and make sure one of the adaptations is to drop fat rapidly? It’s this answer that is the reason so many people go to the gym and don’t lose any belly fat. If you are going to the gym and doing the standard bench press, bicep curls, and a few squats, losing belly fat does not make you any more efficient at doing these exercises. Hence, a strong man is usually moderately overweight, yet a sprinter is super lean.
If the body does not need to adapt, it simply won’t. So, we can go to the gym for weeks on end and do the wrong exercises but not drop fat, and we lose all motivation very quickly. The exercises that will create the fastest adaption and, therefore, the fastest drop in belly fat are those that require full-body movement.
Let’s look at the average yoga or Pilates instructor. They generally have the smallest, tightest waistlines yet you could argue a yoga class burns fewer calories and is far less intense than a spin class or gym session. But because these forms of movement require moving the whole body, they do appear to transform our shape the fastest! The body finds it very difficult to do twists and turns and move the whole body’s weight if we are carrying excess fat. Therefore, these types of moves are going to yield the fastest returns on our time investment.
So, I’ve picked a combination of total body movement and ab exercises that you can do at home that can help you lose the largest amount of weight in the least amount of time! Here are 12 workouts to lose belly fat fast.
1. The Loaded Beast Kick Through
The beast kick through gets the full body working together and tests agility, balance, strength, and endurance if you push past 20+ reps! The reason I like this exercise so much is that it requires total core engagement, and the agility work means the body just wants to be lighter and more nimble.
If you play with your speeds and extend pauses at the top of the kick through, it really enhances the mind-body movement control and takes the core work to another level, working not just the abs but the lower back and obliques, too!
Rep range: 3 sets of 25 reps
2. The Reaching Gorilla Crawl
Much like the previous “animal move,” the gorilla crawl gets the whole body moving, which makes your body adapt by getting you lighter to make it easier to do! By adding the reach component, you also engage your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings—all of which get neglected when we only do crunches, leading to imbalances.
Rep range: 3 sets of 30 seconds
3. Leg Raise Variations
The leg raise is my go-to move for really hitting those lower abs, which are hardest to get popping. By working with the different variations, you balance the exercise by bringing the lower back into play again and working the whole core!
Rep range: 3 sets of 10 high, 10 low, 10 full
4. DB Press V Ups
This dynamic crunch requires a dumbbell, although a full orange juice or water container may be sufficient. With this specialized workout to lose belly fat, you turn an already dynamic full core move in the V up to a whole new level by adding a shoulder press to the top of the move.
Rep range: 3 sets of 8 reps on each side
5. Scorpion Kick Throughs
The scorpion kick through is another animal move that gets you moving the whole body in a wide range of angles and directions. This is one of the best workouts to lose belly fat because it also has a yoga feel to it. It is great for opening the hips while engaging and working the entire core. Again, the body doesn’t want to hold a heap of weight when moving the body in this way!
Rep range: 3 sets of 6 kick throughs each side
6. Boat Pose
The boat pose is one of the toughest yoga poses that you would want to work towards holding for up to a minute as the core develops. You can almost feel the whole core tightening as you hold this pose!
Rep range: 3 sets of 45 seconds
7. The Lateral Monkey
The lateral monkey requires you to engage your core and upper body to get your legs up and flinging across the floor with finesse. Again, when we start to throw our bodyweight around, the body naturally wants to adapt to make the move easier. These full-body animal movements burn a lot more calories than traditional ab exercises as they continue to gradually burn calories for the hours after the exercise has been completed.
Rep range: 3 sets of 30 seconds
8. Bear Ab Crawl Crunch
This is another animal variation where you add an ab crunch to the dynamic bear crawl movement. This workout helps you lose belly fat by squeezing your core. If you can really squeeze the core and abs tight at the top of the movement, you will enhance the effectiveness of the workout!
Rep range: 3 x sets of 30 seconds
9. The Sliding Glute Bridge
The slide glute bridge requires a hard floor and some nice thick winter socks. But all sliding moves add a whole new tension to the eccentric part of the move. This exercise mainly targets the glutes and lower back. Remember, a tight core requires working the full 360 degrees, not just the 6 abs we see in the mirror.
Rep range: 3 sets of 10 reps
10. The Sliding Ab Crunch
Another sliding move adding a whole new tension to the eccentric part of the ab crunch is the sliding ab crunch. Like most exercises and moves listed here, this workout activates your entire body while focusing on your core.
Rep range: 3 sets of 12 reps
11. The Sliding Frog Plank
The sliding frog plank is a great workout for losing belly fat that develops your core strength while also developing your agility and mobility. This works by forcing you to balance the compression work (ab crunches) with decompression work (stretching) to create balance in your body.
Rep range: 3 sets of 12 reps
12. Side Plank Yoga Flow
When I did my yoga course, this was one of the main poses that we worked on, and I certainly noticed a tightening and better shape around my obliques and mid-section. The idea behind side plank yoga flow is that it activates your forearms, fingers, and shoulders to take the load off your wrists, allowing you to hold the post for longer.
Rep range: 1 set of 2-minute flow
Of course, abs are built in the kitchen, and we need to create a caloric deficit to drop weight around the belly fast! But by combining these full-body movements with ab exercises, we are creating the perfect recipe for great ab shape.
Moreover, these great workouts to lose belly fat force the body to adapt and drop fat so we can move more efficiently. If you want to speed the adaptation—and therefore, fast loss—remember to track each exercise and make sure you progressively increase the load to force change!
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Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com