What Gym Exercises Burn Stomach and Chest Fat?

Weight gain in the stomach and chest regions of the body is a common problem. Fortunately, there are many ways of dealing with the fat around these areas. Workouts to lose belly and chest fat often target the core, but all exercises can help since it's not possible to reduce fat in a specific spot.

HIIT is great to burn extra calories.
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Tip

There are many ways to decrease abdominal and upper-body fat. However, regardless of the exercise you choose, you'll be burning fat all over your body. Spot training is a myth, and there aren't any specific exercises to lose stomach and chest fat.

Read more: The Science Behind the Most Effective Ab Workouts

Abdominal Fat and Your Health

Weight gain in the stomach and chest can occur for a variety of reasons. This issue is typically caused by a combination of an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), men are particularly prone to weight gain in this region.

However, weight gain in the stomach and chest region can be a particularly common complaint as people get older. Harvard Health Publishing says that body fat tends to increase as you age. Those extra pounds are likely to accumulate in your upper body, specifically in and around the abdominal region.

Abdominal fat is particularly concerning, as it's associated with different health issues. For example, weight gain in the stomach and chest region has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, breast cancer and gallbladder problems.

Fortunately, there are many different exercises to lose stomach and chest fat, along with any excess fat in the rest of your body. Many of these exercises work out your entire core, which can help reduce the risk of preventable diseases and benefit your health in a variety of ways.

Read more: 5 Benefits of Abdominal Strength & Endurance

Belly and Chest Fat-Burning Exercises

When people gain weight, fat distributes itself around their bodies. Everyone is different, though — you might find that your fat tends to accumulate around your stomach and chest, while your friend gains weight in a way that accumulates around their thighs or hips.

Regardless of where you tend to put on weight, you need to operate at a caloric deficit and become more active in order to shed those extra pounds. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend performing at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. However, you may need to do as much as 300 minutes per week to lose weight. Alternatively, consider incorporating more vigorous workouts, like high-intensity interval training, into your exercise routine.

Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, workouts to lose belly and chest fat will help you lose fat all over your body — not just those specific regions. According to ACE, spot reduction is a myth. It's not possible to burn fat from a specific body part.

On top of that, your stomach and chest are part of your core, which Harvard Health Publishing says includes your back, side, pelvic and buttock muscles. According to a July 2016 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine, the muscles that form your core work together and should essentially be considered a single muscle group.

Read more: Build a Core Workout Routine That Targets More Than Just Your Abs

Unfortunately, if you're prone to weight gain in the stomach and chest regions, you'll probably find that these areas take the longest to burn fat from. Don't give up, though — following a healthy diet and incorporating regular, varied exercise into your exercise routine will eventually help you get rid of that extra body fat.

HIIT Workouts for Fat Loss

If you're not used to working out regularly, it can be hard to know which exercises or workouts you should prioritize. A February 2018 review published in the Journal of Sports Medicine reports that high-intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) is a time-efficient way to work out. HIIT workouts were found to be especially helpful for overweight people who are trying to lose weight.

If you're not familiar with HIIT workouts, ACE says that the basic principle of HIIT is to work out at high intensity over a relatively short time period, so that you're exercising at over 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Each short workout is followed by a period of active recovery. Essentially, you're putting in one minute of work for every two or three minutes of active recovery.

HIIT can be performed in various ways. If you prefer gym-based workouts to lose belly and chest fat, you can use machines like treadmills, elliptical runners or stationary bikes for your HIIT workouts.

The review in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that running-based HIIT workouts were the most effective for overall fat loss. Cycling-based HIIT workouts were also found to be particularly helpful in reducing abdominal fat, but only in people who were overweight. Lower-intensity workouts were actually better suited for other people trying to reduce abdominal and visceral fat.

Read more: The Ultimate 10-Minute HIIT Workout for Your Abs

Abdominal and Core-Strengthening Exercises

Incorporating core exercises into a varied exercise routine can help you work the muscles in and around your abdominal region. These types of exercises can help strengthen your core and maintain muscle while you lose weight. However, it's important not to focus on just core exercises when trying to lose stomach fat and work your abdominal muscles.

A June 2013 study in the_ Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research_ reported that multi-joint, free-weight exercises are better than core-specific exercises when training your body's core muscles. Although planks and side bridges are good exercises, this means that squats and deadlifts may be better at helping you maintain muscle while losing weight.

Move 1: Squats

There are many ways to do squats. If you're not used to doing squats, start with the air squat before moving on to more complex variations, like the jump squat or side-step squat.

  1. Stand so that your feet are apart and in line with your shoulders.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you.
  3. Bend your hips back while slowly bending your knees forward. You should keep your back straight and your knees should be pointed in the same direction that your feet are in. If you can, bring your thighs parallel to the floor.
  4. Pause and slowly stand up. As you rise, gradually lower your arms so that they rest at your sides.
  5. Perform 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps.

Move 2: Standard Deadlifts

Like the squat, the deadlift is an ACE-recommended exercise that can be done in many ways.

  1. Set a barbell on the floor in front of you.
  2. Stand so that your feet are apart and in line with your shoulders.
  3. Keeping your spine flat, reach down to grab the barbell with both hands. Your hands should be set wider than your shoulders when grasping the barbell.
  4. Holding the barbell, brace at the core and rise until you're standing up, keeping the bar close to your shins. Make sure that you're not lifting with your arms. Your shoulders should be pulled back and your legs should be straight.
  5. Reverse the movement to put the weight back down. Let the weight fully settle before repeating the exercise.
  6. Repeat five times.

Tip

You can also do deadlifts with your gym's deadlift machine. In this case, you should set the machine to about 6 inches off the floor.

Move 3: Deadlift to Squat Combo

This ACE-recommended exercise is a three-part squat that allows you to combine both squats and deadlifts.

  1. Stand so that your feet are apart and aligned with your shoulders. Your knees should be slightly bent.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in front of each thigh.
  3. Slide the dumbbells down the front of your legs. Stop when they reach your knees.
  4. Bend your hips back while slowly bending your knees forward until you've positioned yourself into a squat.
  5. Pause and take this time to move the dumbbells to the sides of your body.
  6. Gradually rise so that you're in a standing position again.
  7. Perform 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps.
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