If you want to lose belly fat, the last exercises you should do are “ab” exercises. Sit ups, crunches, and leg lifts will not get rid of your belly.

To lose weight you want to use movements that make your heart pump and stoke your metabolism – and that means using exercises that involve your major muscle groups and accelerate your heart rate to the upper levels. With that, here are 8 exercises to help you burn belly fat and get a flat tummy:

1. Sprinting. If you want to run to lose weight, then sprint. Run as fast as you can for 40 – 100 meters and then take a short rest. Complete 2 – 12 sprints as your fitness level dictates. And for an extra challenge, do your sprint work on a steep hill.

2. Squats. Whether you use a barbell, dumbbells, or just your bodyweight, the squat should be part of your weight loss exercise regimen. Keep your weight on your heels, point your toes slightly out, and don’t be afraid to squat “below parallel”.

3. Burpees. A killer exercise that requires no equipment, you can’t go wrong with the burpee. To do a burpee squat down and put you palms flat on the floor. Next kick your feet back until you are in the bottom of the push up position (chest touching the floor). Spring your feet back to the squatting position and then jump into the air with your arms reaching for the sky. If you’ve never done them before, be ready to sweat!

4. Deadlifts. Done with either a barbell or dumbbells, the deadlift is an important compound movement for strength and fat loss. Primarily involving the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, the deadlift is a worthy addition to your fat loss exercise program.

5. Jumping Rope. Sure this one might require a bit of coordination, but it can be a fun and intense workout once you get the hang of it. Try jumping as fast as you can for one minute and then taking a 30 second rest. Repeat that cycle 3 – 12 times for a quick and effective fat burning workout.

6. Kettlebell Swings. Another exercise that primarily involves the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, the kettlebell swing is great for high repetition work. A simple and effective drill is to do the maximum number of swings for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeated 5 – 15 times depending on your fitness capacity.

7. Lunges. Lunges are another great lower body movement than can be done with bodyweight only or with free weights. To mix things ups, try doing lunges forward, backwards, and walking.

8. Thrusters. The thruster is a combination move involving the front squat and the overhead press. Start with the barbell or dumbbells at shoulder level while in a standing position. Bend at the hips and knees as you descend into the bottom of the squat. Drive through the heels, returning to the standing position. As the hip fully opens, drive the weight overhead until the arms are straight. Using both the upper and lower body will have your heart rate cranked!

Losing belly fat and getting a flat tummy is not about working the muscles of your midsection. It’s about getting your major muscles groups working at intensity levels that will be optimum for burning fat.

For more flat stomach exercises, check out our flat belly exercises you can do at home and our exercises to flatten your tummy.

Not knowing where to start, can be the biggest hurdle to getting started. And with all of the workout choices available when you are trying to lose fat, it’s easy to get lost in the options. Use this Beginner’s Guide To Fat Loss Workouts to get you started and keep you on track.

Train at home or go to the gym?

Whether you choose to go to a gym or do your fat loss training at home, you can still have effective fat loss workouts. You don’t need any equipment for exercise, but many people enjoy using free weights or cardio machines. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where you workout, it only matters that you select an environment that you will use consistently.

Start with the basics.

You don’t need the intricate moves of an Olympic Weightlifter to get started losing fat. All you need to do is keep in mind these four basic categories of movement: push, pull, squat, and jump. Pushing movements include the push up and the overhead press using dumbbells or a barbell. The pull up and the bent over row fall into the pulling category. Squats (both with weights or with only your body) obviously fall into the squat movements. And jumps include skipping rope, burpees, and box jumps.

Anything is better than nothing.

Should you be running 5 miles each day to lose weight? Or lifting heavy weights in the gym? The most effective workouts for fat loss are high intensity short duration workouts using compound movements. That includes circuit training (using several exercises that you do one right after the other with minimal rest between exercises) and interval training (using one or more exercise in short maximum effort work periods followed by short rest periods).

But here’s the thing. . . if you’ve been sitting on the couch for the several years, nearly any exercise is going to be better than continuing your pattern of couch sitting. The most important aspect of your training when you first start is to select activities that you will do consistently. Can you take a walk around your block every day as soon as you get home from work? Can you do 10 squats on the commercial break of your favorite television program? Do not try to jump right into some intense workout regimen that will only lead to frustration and burn out in a few days. Start slow with activities you will do consistently and let your successes fuel more challenging training.

Always strive to challenge your comfort zone.

So you’ve started to walk around your block every day after work. And after two weeks that walk becomes easy and your weight loss results plateau. It’s time to up the intensity! Intensity can be added in a variety of ways – you can increase the weight you put on the bar for free weight exercises, you can increase the repetitions you do of a movement, or you can move faster and do more work in the same amount of time (or less). Your training should never get easier – it should only get faster or heavier.

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