Exercises to lose belly and thigh fat at home consist of both strengthening and cardiovascular training done regularly. Workouts that tone up the thighs and abdominal muscles are important, but they must be combined with fat-burning exercises and a healthy diet plan for best results.
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Reducing Stomach and Thigh Fat
While there are specific exercises to lose belly and thigh fat at home, they must be part of a routine that also includes cardiovascular training and a proper diet. This is because you can't "spot reduce" fat, points out the American Council of Exercise.
To lose stomach and thigh fat, you must burn more calories than you take in. Over time, you will lose weight everywhere, including in those problem areas. In addition to fat loss, incorporating strength training into your routine may increase lean muscle mass and improve muscle definition for a tighter midsection.
It's necessary to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound, states the Mayo Clinic. If you cut 500 to 1,000 calories per day either through diet or exercise, you can safely drop 1 to 2 pounds per week.
You can lose weight with diet or exercise alone, but it's most effective to include both. A February 2019 study in BMC Public Health found that post-menopausal women who exercised and cut calories lost more subcutaneous fat than those who only reduced their energy intake.
Losing belly and thigh fat won't only make you look and feel better — it's also good for your heart. Harvard Health Publishing reports that those who hold weight in their belly (apple-shaped) or in their thighs (pear-shaped) have an increased risk of heart disease. Losing fat in these areas may benefit your waistline and your heart.
Best Cardio for Burning Fat
There aren't any easy workouts to lose belly and thigh fat. You have to put in the work to see results, but it is worth it. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise into your routine to torch calories and get leaner.
The number of calories you burn depends on many things, including your weight and workout intensity. Here is an estimate of how many calories a 155-pound person can burn in 30 minutes, as reported by Harvard Health Publishing:
- Stair-step machine: 223 calories
- Elliptical: 335 calories
- Running: 298 calories (12 minutes/mile)
- Stationary bike: 260 calories (moderate intensity)
- Walking (17 minutes/mile): 179 calories
If you don't have access to machines or don't enjoy running, you should consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This workout method may combine cardio and weight training so you burn fat and build muscle, says the American College of Sports Medicine.
With HIIT, you perform repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short recovery period. These types of workouts are often between 20 to 30 minutes long. You move quickly between different circuits or exercises to work and strengthen your muscles in different ways.
Exercises to Burn Thigh Fat
The following is a fat-burning HIIT workout that builds muscle in the legs and may help you lose thigh fat, says the American Council on Exercise. Move quickly from one exercise to the next, limiting the amount of rest between them. Beginners may rest for one minute between exercises, working up to resting for just 10 or 15 seconds.
The key here is to get your heart rate up and break a sweat. Start with a five-minute cardio warm-up, such as on the treadmill or stationary bike. Next, perform the following circuit three times.
Move 1: Glute Bridge
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and palms down at your sides.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor as you lift your hips in the air until your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line.
- Squeeze at the top and then lower down.
- Perform 15 reps.
- If this is too easy, place both feet on an exercise ball while lifting your hips.
Move 2: Jump Squats
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down, hinging your hips back and keeping your weight on your heels.
- Press through your heels to jump up.
- Land softly as you return to the squat position.
- Perform 15 reps.
Move 3: Split Squat With Elevated Rear Leg
- Stand in a lunge position, with your right foot bent in front.
- Place your left foot behind you and on a step or bench that is 12 to 24 inches tall.
- Bend your right knee, lowering yourself to get your right thigh parallel to the ground.
- Stand back up straight.
- If you cannot balance in this position, place a chair near you to hold onto.
- Perform 8 to 10 reps per leg.
Move 4: Jump Rope
- Hold the handle of a jump rope in each hand.
- Jump rope, either with both legs jumping at the same time or an alternate foot step.
- Jump rope for one minute.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
In addition to performing cardio or HIIT workouts 30 minutes a day, add in the following abdominal exercises to strengthen your midsection. Remember, it's difficult to lose belly fat with exercise alone. Nutrition is just as important as training.
This abdominal workout doesn't require any fancy equipment (just a mat!), so it's an ideal home program to help you reach your goals.
Move 1: Plank With Reach and Pull
- Start in a high plank position, with your arms shoulder-width apart and your legs straight behind you.
- Brace your abdominals as you extend your right arm forward.
- Pull your arm back as you rotate your torso to the right.
- Extend your right arm up as you hold this side plank.
- Rotate your arm back down in the starting position.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.
Move 2: Side Plank With Star Crunch
- Begin in a side plank (see above) on your forearm instead of an outstretched arm.
- Keep your legs extended or place your bottom knee on the floor as needed.
- Bend and lift your top leg as you extend your arm over your head.
- Laterally flex your spine to the side as you pull your elbow toward your knee.
- Once they touch, extend the arm back to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.
Move 3: Dolphin Plank
- Start in a forearm plank position.
- Use your abs to lift your hips. Keep your shoulder blades down.
- Hold at the top for one to two seconds, before coming back down to a plank.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Move 4: Rolling Like a Ball
- Sit on a mat, with your knees bent and feet off of the floor.
- Place your hands behind your head, tuck your chin and touch your elbows to your knees.
- Holding this position, roll back and touch your shoulder blades to the floor.
- Roll back up as you feel your rectus abdominis muscles contract and pause at the top.
- Roll 10 to 15 times as you keep your elbows and knees together.
These easy workouts to lose belly and thigh fat are effective as long as you do them consistently. Hard work pays off. Incorporate a cardiovascular or HIIT program along with strengthening exercises and a healthy diet plan to get faster results. Try to work out three to five times a week and make exercise a part of your lifestyle.
- American Council on Exercise: "3 Fat Loss Myths to Stop Believing Now"
- Mayo Clinic: "Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics"
- BMC Public Health: "Effect of Diet With or Without Exercise on Abdominal Fat in Postmenopausal Women – a Randomised Trial"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Slimming the Thighs — as Well as the Belly — Is Good for the Heart"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- American College of Sports Medicine: "High Intensity Interval Training"
- American Council on Exercise: "Try This Fat Burning Leg Workout"
- American Council on Exercise: "5 Ab Exercises: No Crunches! No Equipment!"