Exercises to Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat

If you're looking for a flat belly, you might be disappointed to find out there aren't any special lower belly fat exercises. However, losing overall body fat and toning up your midsection can get you the results you want.

HIIT is a great way to burn calories.
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According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week to maintain a healthy weight. You'll likely need to exceed this recommendation to lose weight.

Read more: The 3 Secrets to Losing Belly Fat

Create a Caloric Deficit

No matter how many crunches you do or how much you "feel the burn," you can't melt away your midsection with lower belly fat exercises. As explained by the American Council on Exercise, spot reduction — exercising a particular area of the body to burn fat in a certain spot — doesn't work. However, exercise can increase your daily calorie burn to help reduce fat throughout your body, which will make your muscles more noticeable.

To lose body fat, you'll need to create a caloric deficit, which means you must burn more calories than you consume throughout the day. This can be accomplished through exercise, dietary changes or, ideally, both.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you need to burn approximately 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. To lose weight at a healthy pace of 1 to 2 pounds per week, you'll need to cut 500 to 1,000 calories from your diet. Or add exercise to burn off the additional calories.

The amount of calories burned during exercise depends on your body weight and the intensity of your workout. For example, a person weighing 155 pounds can burn about 298 calories in 30 minutes of jogging at a 12-minute-mile pace, according to Harvard Health Publishing. A person who weighs 185 pounds will burn 355 calories in that same amount of time.

Turn Up the Intensity

While any type of exercise burns some calories, one type of exercise has been shown to help reduce abdominal fat — and reduce overall body fat while maintaining lean muscle tissue. This type of exercise is called high-intensity interval training, or HIIT.

Not only is HIIT effective, it's also efficient. As explained by the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT workouts combine short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest. Total workout time typically ranges from 20 to 60 minutes. For example, you might sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for two minutes, repeating this pattern for 20 minutes.

In addition to reducing abdominal fat, your calorie burn can be elevated for up to two hours after a HIIT workout. This is caused by excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, while your body recovers from your workout.

Read more: Trying to Lose Belly Fat? Don't Make These Common Mistakes

Exercise to Tone Your Belly

While you're reducing your overall body fat to help uncover your abs, strengthening exercises can help strengthen and add definition to your midsection. These exercises can be performed several times per week, but allow at least one day of rest between workouts for your muscles to recover.

The main abdominal muscle in your lower belly actually spans from the bottom of your ribs and breastbone down to your pubic bone, according to ExRx.net. Strengthening this muscle, called the rectus abdominis, is what gives a person the coveted "six-pack" abs. In addition, you'll want to target the oblique muscles on either side of your midsection.

Exercises that target your midsection expand well beyond the basic crunch or sit-up, according to ExRx.net, although when performed with proper form, these basic exercises can help strengthen your midsection. Add some arm and leg movements to your ab exercises to further challenge your muscles, as recommended by Princeton University Athletic Medicine. Perform each exercise 10 times, working up to 3 sets in a row as your strength improves.

Move 1: Sit-Ups

  1. Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Clasp your hands behind your head and rest your elbows out to the sides.
  3. Tighten your lower abs by flattening your lower back against the ground.
  4. Lift your upper body off the ground and sit up. Do not pull on your neck — keep your elbows pointed out to the sides.
  5. Slowly lower back down and repeat.

Move 2: Jackknife Sit-Up

  1. Lie on your back with your legs out straight and arms resting by your sides.
  2. Bend your knees and lift your legs up toward your chest.
  3. At the same time, lift your upper body off the ground, bringing your chest toward your knees.
  4. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat.

Move 3: Medicine Ball Sit-Up

  1. Holding a medicine ball, sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Roll down onto your back while raising the medicine ball up and over your head.
  3. Tap the ball on the ground above your head once you're fully lying down.
  4. Lift the ball back over your head and down to your chest as you perform a sit-up.

Move 4: Crunch Up

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Lift your legs straight up with the soles of your feet pointed toward the ceiling.
  3. Maintaining this leg position, perform a crunch.
  4. Reach your fingers toward your toes while lifting your shoulder blades off the ground.
  5. Lower your upper body back down.
  6. Keep your legs elevated until you've completed a full set of repetitions.

Move 5: Hanging Leg Raise

  1. Hang from an overhead bar.
  2. Tighten your abs and bring your knees up toward your chest, as high as possible. Avoid using momentum — keep your torso still throughout the movement.
  3. Slowly lower back down.

Tip

Make this exercise harder by keeping your legs straight, raising them up until your legs are parallel to the ground and then lowering them back down.

Move 6: Mountain Climbers

  1. Begin in a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your body weight supported on the balls of your feet.
  2. Bend one knee, bringing your leg forward while keeping the opposite leg straight.
  3. Push off the balls of your feet and switch leg positions.
  4. Bend the knee on your straight leg to bring it forward while kicking the other leg back into a straight position, landing on the balls of your feet.
  5. Repeat this pattern for 20 repetitions.

Move 7: Bridge on Ball

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet on a small medicine ball.
  3. Tighten your abs and lift your hips 2 to 3 inches off the ground.
  4. Hold for three to five seconds; then lower your hips back down.

Move 8: Bridge With Knee Lift

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abs; squeeze your buttocks and lift your hips off the ground.
  3. While maintaining this position, lift one foot off the ground.
  4. Raise your leg until your thigh is perpendicular to the ground; then lower your foot back down.
  5. Repeat on the opposite leg.
  6. Hold your bridge position for 10 repetitions on each leg before lowering your hips back down to the ground.

Try Some Isometrics

In addition to bending your trunk forward and rotating your waist, your abdominal muscles often act as stabilizers, holding your torso tight. Isometric exercises strengthen your abdominals in a stationary position.

Move 1: Front Plank

  1. Lie on your stomach.
  2. Prop your upper body up onto your forearms. Position your hands in line with your shoulders.
  3. Tighten your abs, buttocks and thigh muscles.
  4. Lift your torso off the ground until you are supported on your forearms and your toes.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, increasing time as your strength improves.

Tip

Vary this exercise by straightening your elbows, supporting your upper body with your palms.

Move 2: Front Plank Hip Extension

  1. Perform a front plank on your forearms.
  2. Keeping your knees straight, raise one leg a few inches off the ground with your heel pointed toward the ceiling.
  3. Slowly lower back down.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.
  5. Maintain the front plank position for 10 repetitions.

Move 3: Side Plank

  1. Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other.
  2. Prop yourself up onto your elbow, resting your forearm on the ground.
  3. Tighten your abs, buttocks and thigh muscles and lift your hips off the ground.
  4. Raise up until your body weight is supported on your forearm and the side of your bottom foot.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, increasing your time as you're able to do more.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

Move 4: Side Plank Leg Raises

  1. Perform a side plank.
  2. While holding this position, lift your top leg up as high as possible.
  3. Lower your leg back down.
  4. Perform 10 leg lifts before releasing your side plank position.

Move 5: Stability Ball Rollout

  1. Kneel with a large stability ball in front of you.
  2. Place your hands on the ball.
  3. Tighten your abs and buttocks.
  4. Slowly lean forward as far as possible, allowing the ball to roll up your arms. Keep your torso straight throughout the movement.
  5. Lift your torso up and pull your arms back, rolling the ball toward you.
  6. Return to an upright position.

Move 6: Supine Dead Bug

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Tighten your lower abs, pressing your lower back against the ground.
  3. Lift your arms straight up toward the ceiling.
  4. Flex your hips and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Your knees should be pointing toward the ceiling with your shins parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
  5. Lift your right arm overhead. At the same time, lower your left foot to the ground.
  6. Return to the starting position.
  7. Lower your left arm overhead and your right foot to the ground.
  8. Return to the starting position.
  9. Alternate sides for 10 repetitions. Keep your abs tight throughout the movement.

Read more: 12 Moves for Washboard Abs — We Show You How!

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