'I'm a Trainer, and These Are the 3 Exercises I Swear By for Getting Rid of Belly Fat'

Woman working out to get rid of belly fat

When it comes to weight loss, belly fat is notoriously the hardest to lose. Maybe you’ve been doing crunches every time you go to the gym and are frustrated to look in the mirror and see zero difference. What actually works?

Personal trainers get asked this question a lot—especially this time of year when many people want to shed some belly fat so they can feel confident in their summer clothes. Here, two trainers give their best tips for getting rid of belly fat, including three exercises they recommend doing regularly.

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Personal Trainers’ Advice to Anyone Who Wants to Get Rid of Belly Fat

Jenny Liebl, CPT, a certified personal trainer and senior product developer at the International Sports Science Association, has two words for anyone who wants to get rid of belly fat: Get moving. “Deliberate and planned activity of any kind burns calories which, assuming someone’s nutrition, sleep and hydration are in order, can contribute to a calorie deficit that supports weight loss,” she says, adding that she recommends exercising three to five days a week for weight loss.

Nikka Saadat, NSCA-CPT, a certified personal trainer and head US coach at Vitruvian, adds to this advice, saying that proper hydration, getting adequate protein, managing stress levels, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly are all important for weight loss—including getting rid of belly fat.

Related: 3 Surprising Causes of Belly Fat You Might Not Know About

Saadat also shares a vital piece of information for anyone wanting to trim some inches off their midsection. “While we can’t spot reduce fat—in other words, just get rid of it around the belly—we can reduce belly fat by increasing lean mass, like muscle,” she says. She further explains that increasing muscle mass through strength training increases the basal metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories at rest. “Building muscle through resistance training not only supports fat loss but also creates the appearance of a defined look as muscle becomes more prominent with reduced fat,” Saadat adds.

With all this in mind, Saadat says that three exercise moves in particular can help get rid of belly fat.

Related: If You're Over 50 and Struggling With Stubborn Belly Fat, Here's the Workout You Should Be Doing

3 Best Exercise Moves To Get Rid of Belly Fat, According to Trainers

Liebel reiterates when Saadat’s advice about prioritizing strength training if you want to lose weight and get rid of belly fat. “Strengthening movements for the core and abdominals can not only help to sculpt the visible abdominal muscles that will show when body fat is reduced and weight is lost, but a strong core is beneficial for everyone,” she says. Having a strong core is important for maintaining proper posture, reducing the risk of injury and preventing back pain.

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If you want to lose belly fat and strengthen your core, here are three exercise moves Saadat recommends doing regularly. For all of the below moves, she suggests doing them at least twice a week to start, and then more frequently, as long as it feels good for your body to do so. “Ultimately, listen to your body and adjust your training based on how you feel, your progress and any other feedback from your workouts. If you experience excessive soreness, fatigue or lack of progress, consider reducing the frequency or intensity of your training to prioritize recovery,” she says.

1. Leg raises

1. Lie down on your back, with your legs out in front of you and your arms at your sides.

2. Lift your legs straight up. Inhale and slowly lower your legs until they are hovering right above the floor.

3. Exhale and bring your legs back straight up.

4. Do 10 to 12 reps.

2. Planks

To really tone your midsection, Saadat recommends doing both traditional planks and side planks. Here’s how to do both.

Traditional plank

1. To do a traditional side plank, balance with your toes and forearms on the ground.

2. Engage your core and hold for as long as you can.

Side plank

1. To do a side plank, lie on your side with your feet straight in front of you.

2. Place your forearm on the ground and engage your core to lift your body off the floor.

3. Hold for as long as you can and then repeat with the other side.

Related: How To Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat

3. Pallof Presses

You will need a resistance band for this exercise move.

1. Loop your resistance band around a sturdy object at chest height.

2. Grab the free end with your hands and interlace your fingers. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent.

3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and extend your arms. Be sure to keep your core engaged and not to let the body twist.

4. Bring the band back to your chest. Do 10 to 12 reps.

As you move toward your goal of losing belly fat, Saadat says to remember to be patient; it’s unrealistic to expect to see results overnight. “Sustainable changes take time, but with consistency and perseverance, you can achieve your fitness goals,” she explains. You’ve got this!

Next up, this is the best snack for getting rid of belly fat, according to dietitians.