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3 Best Body-Weight Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat

FitnessWho doesn’t want a flat toned stomach? Particularly at this time of year when thoughts are turning to the beach and swimwear panic starts to creep in.

So what are the best ways to achieve a desirable flat stomach, banishing belly fat for good?

Contrary to popular believe, crash dieting and 1000 crunches a day simply aren’t going to cut it. In fact all crash dieting will do is leave you feeling hungry, lacking energy and put your body into fat storing mode since it doesn’t know where it’s next meal is coming. As for crunches, unless you’ve already got a slender stomach, these are pretty much useless since they work the muscles underneath your belly fat, not the belly fat itself.

But fear not. There is a safer more effective way, which in actual fact is a lot easier than crash dieting and doing 1000 daily crunches anyway!

Firstly, of course, you need to eat a healthy balanced diet. Not exactly rocket science is it! But by eating regularly yet healthily, your body is getting all the nutrition, (good) fats, and energy it needs to function properly. This stops it going into starvation mode.

Then to really kick that belly fat into shape, do each of these body-weight exercises three to five times per week, depending on your own fitness levels.

1. The Plank.

There are many different forms of the plank, but the one that strengthens the core the quickest, is hands-down the side plank. Why? Because there are only two points of contact with the floor as opposed to four, meaning you core is contracted harder in order to stabilise yourself.

How to do it:

Lie on your side with legs stacked one on top of the other resting on your lower forearm which is bent at the elbow. Push your upper body off the floor with your lower arm and place the upper arm on your hip.

Make sure your bottom is tucked under and your hips are lifted so you form a straight diagonal line from your feet to your head.

Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side. As you get stronger continually increase the time by 30 seconds.

2. Burpees.

Not the most loved exercise in the world, but there’s a reason for that – it’s damn hard! My advice to you though – get over it as it’s super effective when done right.

How to do it:

Start in a standing position. Then in a quick controlled movement, remembering to contract your abs, bend your knees and drop down into a standard plank position ensuring your core remains tight. Complete one push-up, before jumping back up into a standing position.

As with the side plank, make sure your bottom remains tucked under and your body forms a straight horizontal line when in the standard plank position. Keep your core muscles contracted throughout each burpee.

Repeat 30 reps. Once your fitness levels increase, continually add 10 burpees to this routine.

3. Bicycles.

Another killer exercise that will leave your abs screaming is the bicycle. This exercise works your lower belly fat as well as your upper torso muscles.

How to do it:

Lay on your back and raise your legs up at a 90 degree to your body with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Place your arms behind your head as in a standard sit-up. Using your abdominal muscles raise your head and shoulders off the ground. Then in a fluid motion, twist the body bring the right elbow to the left knee at the same time as extending your right leg straight out in front.

Switch sides in the same motion – this creates the cycling effect. The completion of the second leg is one rep. Remember to keep your head and shoulders off the ground for the entire routine.

Be careful not to use your arms to raise your head and shoulders off the ground as this can cause damage to your neck. Instead engage your core muscles.

Repeat 20 reps. As your fitness levels increase, continually add 10 reps to this routine.

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