Do you want to lose belly fat and tone your abs? We’re here to provide you with the most accurate information and actionable tips to achieve your goals. So it’s very important that we start with a crucial fact: you cannot spot reduce belly fat.

However, there are exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine that will help build stronger abdominal muscles. This, combined with the right diet, will tone up your ab area.


Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.

  1. Burning Fat and Building Muscle In The Abdominal Area
  2. 5 Exercises To Lose Belly Fat and Tone Abs
  3. The Benefits Of A Strong Core

Burning Fat and Building Muscle In The Abdominal rAea

To lose body fat, you have to burn more calories than you take in. In this calorie deficit, your body seeks energy from fat cells. Your body doesn’t know to look for and use fat in specific cells, though, so you can’t reduce fat from your belly whilst retaining it in other areas. And when it comes to working out, targeting certain areas with certain exercises won’t necessarily lose fat from that area. However, targeted exercises can help strengthen that area and build muscle. This, in turn, will create a more toned look.

So what moves should you focus on to strengthen your core, reduce belly fat* and build your abs? Here are five of our favourites:

*And reduce fat throughout the rest of the body, too!

5 Exercises To Lose Belly Fat and Tone Abs

Dead Bugs

woman doing dead bug exercises at the gym

Dead bugs are an easy and effective exercise that work the six-pack, deep core, lower back, obliques, pelvic floor and more. They are great for overall core stability whilst being gentle on the lower back. 

If you’ve never done this exercise before, start with the beginner-friendly, modified version. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms down by your sides. Legs should not have too much of a gap between them. There should be a small, natural gap between your lower back and the floor. Breathe in and on the out-breath, lift one leg so your shin is parallel with the floor. Replace your foot, and repeat with the other leg.

When you feel confident in the exercise, try this version next. Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling. Lift your legs off the floor and bend your knees, so your shins are parallel with the floor. Keep your back as flat to the floor as possible. Now lower one arm behind your head, and extend the opposite leg forward at the same time, lowering it to just above the floor. You should really feel this in your abs. Now return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm and leg.

Plank

woman doing a plank at home

Planking is a quick, simple exercise that offers plenty of scope for progress. If you’ve never planked before, try this modified version first. Lie on your front with your forearms on the floor, elbows beneath your shoulders. Press your forearms into the floor and raise your torso off, keeping your elbows, knees and toes on the floor. Do not lift or drop your hips. Hold the position for ten seconds. The next time you do a plank, try for 20 seconds and then 30 seconds. When you feel confident in holding this knee plank for longer, it’s time to step up…

Get into a push-up position, but bend your arms and lay your forearms on the floor, so your weight rests on your forearms. Hold this position for 30 seconds. The next time you do a plank, try for 45 seconds and then 60 seconds. When you’re feeling really confident, you could try a push-up plank, which involves holding the push-up position with palms bearing weight.

Scissor Legs

woman doing scissor legs

Scissor legs are highly effective and equipment free, so you can do them anytime, anywhere - as long as you’ve a surface to lie on! If you have a yoga mat, even better, as this will create a more comfortable surface and help to protect your back.

Lie on the floor, facing up, legs straight out in front of you and arms by your sides. If you feel your lower back needs support, place your hands underneath your tailbone. Now lift both legs a few inches off the floor and separate them slightly into a V shape. Keeping both legs straight, lift the right leg a little higher and cross it over the left. Now lower your right leg at the same time as you lift the left a little higher, crossing it over the right. This creates a ‘scissor’ action. Try five scissors to start with, and rest. Next time, try ten.

V-Sit Hold

woman doing v-sit hold

A V-sit hold builds your core and improves your balance. It can be modified depending on your level. With V-sits, it’s likely that you’ll start to the feel the burn after only a few repetitions. That’s because it targets the full core, including your rectus abdominis, obliques and hip flexors.

Start by sitting on the floor with your hands and feet flat. Next, engage your core and lift your legs so they’re at a 45-degree angle with your torso. Now reach forward, keeping your back straight and making sure not to round your shoulders. You should now be in a V position. Hold for five seconds, then lower your legs back to the floor. Repeat several times. When it’s time to scale things up, hold the position for longer, and just before your feet hit the floor to rest, hold for a few more seconds.

Russian Twist

man doing russian twists

Russian twists are a brilliant way to target the abs and can be scaled depending on your experience. They target the full core and help to improve your stability, flexibility and strength.

As a beginner, sit on the floor with your legs bent, feet on the floor and back straight. Lean back to an approximate 45-degree angle. Now twist 90 degrees to the left, return to the start, and twist 90 degrees to the right.

When you’re ready, raise your feet off the floor for the exercise. And when it’s time to really get going, use a dumbbell, kettlebell or weight plate to hold while you twist.

Looking for more exercises to try? Take a look at our 6-minute ab workout for beginners, which features brilliant video footage of our Exercise.co.uk Ambassador showing you how to perfect your technique.

The Benefits Of A Strong Core

The core isn’t just one muscle. It’s a group of muscles that connects the hips, spine, neck and shoulders. The rectus abdominis is just one part of it. When we strengthen our core, we strengthen a number of muscles, and the body enjoys a wealth of benefits.

The aesthetics of a toned belly is probably the most unimportant byproduct of training your abs. This is compared to injury prevention and better posture. These benefits can have a significant impact on your quality of life, particularly when it comes to protecting yourself from injuries, improving back pain and reducing tension. A strong core can also help your performance in sports and other exercises, so you can really hit your targets and feel a sense of accomplishment. 


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.