Your mission to reduce belly fat isn’t going to be achieved by crunching alone. Spot training can strengthen the muscles underneath layers of fat, but it can’t burn off the fat itself. Only a reduced-calorie diet and a commitment to high-intensity cardio and total-body strength training can help you lose fat. But, when performed in addition to strong exercise and eating habits, abdominal exercises can help reveal a toned tum once the fat is gone.
Perform effective belly fat-burning cardio on a treadmill, step mill, elliptical or stationary bike by warming up at an easy pace for about five minutes and then performing 10 to 15 one- to two-minute drills at an intensity that feels near your maximum effort. Between each of these drills, work at an easy pace for an equal recovery time. Cool down for about five minutes to complete the workout. This type of exercise can be done three times per week in addition to a few days of steady-paced cardio exercise to help you burn calories.
Plank holds — performed by holding your body weight up on your toes and hands, forearms and toes, or on the forearm and outer foot of one side of your body — effectively train the transverse abdominis, which is a deep internal muscle that helps you maintain upright posture. The side variation also gets into the oblique muscles at the sides of your torso. Work to hold these planks for one to three sets of 30 seconds or longer.
Another stabilization exercise that will build your core muscles is a towel drag. Get into the top of a pushup position on a hardwood floor — each foot on a hand towel, gliding disc or paper plate. Walk about 10 feet forward using your hands and drag your feet along behind you. Keep your buttocks in line with your body so you maintain a strong core throughout. Rest after first walk, and repeat two or three more times.
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