When we think of our “core”, we may think only of our abdominal and pelvic muscles. Physiologically speaking, the core muscles also include the lower back, obliques (sides), and gluteus muscles.
They’re called the “core” not only because they’re located in the middle of our bodies but because these muscles work together to provide balance, stability, range of motion, and the ability to walk and use our legs and feet.
Simply put, we wouldn’t do much without them. Engaging your core while exercising is essential to burn belly fat and avoid injury. Even the simplest exercises work this key muscle group.
Get to the Core of the Problem
Many people have a tendency to gain weight in their mid-sections. Belly fat and “love handles” that seem impossible to get rid of can be a source of frustration. We may turn to core exercise in an effort to take care of those tough spots and activate the muscles, which weaken from inactivity and long hours at the office.
Exercising your core doesn’t mean you have to do 100 sit-ups every night. In point of fact, doing sit-ups or “crunches” incorrectly can actually cause injury.
We’ve got something for you to try that will tone and strengthen all your core muscles. Best of all, the following 3-part core training doesn’t require gym equipment. Switching exercises allows you to build up from beginner to advanced, warm-up to intense, focusing on all the involved muscle groups. Plus, you’ll burn belly fat fast.
Having several different exercises also keeps you from getting bored. Perhaps the best part is that each exercise series takes only about 6 minutes a day to do! Everyone can spare 6 minutes a day to improve flexibility, stability, and range of motion. Losing belly fat and getting your circulatory system going are added benefits.
6 Exercise Circuit to Burn Belly Fat
Burn belly fat fast by adding this easy workout to your workout plan. Make sure to also practice cardio and weight training to lose weight and get strong.
Watch this short instructional video to see how these exercises are done and guide your practice:
- Start with a straight-arm plank, with hands on the floor directly under your shoulders and the balls of your feel on the floor. Keep your back straight so that your neck, buttocks, and heels are in a straight line. Squeeze your glutes to help maintain balance.
- Rotate on the sides of your feet and lift your left arm up to the ceiling until your chest is perpendicular to the floor. Your left arm should be in line with your right, forming a “T” with your chest.
- Hold for 3-5 seconds, then return your left hand to the floor as you rotate your feet back to balance on their balls into a straight-arm plank.
- Rotate to the other side, lifting your right arm to the ceiling and forming the “T” again with your arms and chest. Make sure to keep your hips from sagging so that your body is in a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Move slowly to engage all the targeted muscles and improve their tone.
- Return to the plank and repeat on the left. Do a total of 10 skyscrapers on each side.
After all the repetitions, turn over to lie on your back with your knees bent to ease directly into the next exercise.
The Windshield Wiper
- With your head and feet flat on the floor, place your arms straight at your sides.
- Bring your knees up to form a 90° angle to your body. Keep your knees together.
- Slowly bring them across your body toward the floor. Don’t allow your whole body to roll over but keep your upper back and arms flat on the floor; the object is to stretch your oblique muscles.
- Bring your knees as close to the floor as you can comfortably get without touching. Hold for 3 seconds, then slowly rotate back to center and keep moving to bring your knees toward the floor on the other side. The movement should be slow and fluid.
- To make this exercise a greater challenge, straighten your legs toward the ceiling so your body is in the shape of an “L”. Rotate your straight legs slowly to either side, pivoting at the hip. Allow your feet to drop to the floor. You’ll feel the difference.
- Repeat 10 times on each side.
At the end of your Windshield Wipers, turn over into an elbow plank, where your elbows rest on the floor directly below your shoulders and the balls of your feet are on the floor.
- Squeeze your glute muscles and abdominals. If you feel a strain on your lower back, you may drop your knees to the floor in a modified plank.
- Keeping hips straight in line with your head, take 6 small steps forward, moving your elbows and feet of the same side together. Your body should remain parallel to the floor.
- Take 6 small steps backward to the starting position.
- Repeat 5 times for a total of 6 sets of 6 steps forward and back.
That’s it for Day One.
These exercises are more challenging than Day One, so get ready to feel the burn.
- Begin in a straight-arm plank with your wrists in line with your shoulders and the balls of your feet on the floor. Keep your glutes and abdominal muscles flexed.
- Lift your right foot off the floor, bending your knee toward your chest to a 90° angle as you bring it under your body and turn slightly to straighten your leg to the opposite side.
- Touch the floor with your foot, bend your knee, and return it to the starting position. Keep your hips from dropping to the floor as you move your leg.
- Switch legs and repeat on the other side.
- Do 15 repetitions on each side.
- As you get used to the exercise, pick up the pace.
This exercise will strengthen your lower back. Imagine that you’ve just jumped out of an airplane—that’s the position your body will look like.
- Begin on your stomach with arms out to either side, elbows forming a 90° angle with your shoulder. Bend your knees to 90° and flex your feet.
- Raise your elbows up so your forearms are parallel to the floor.
- Squeeze your buttocks and lift your thighs straight up off the floor. Only your hips and rib cage should be touching the floor.
- Keep feet and hands parallel to the floor and hold for 30 seconds.
Picture yourself a dead bug lying on the sidewalk and you’ll nail this move.
- Lie on your back and lift your knees to a 90°angle.
- Bring your arms up to point straight up to the ceiling, hands level with your shoulders.
- Press your lower back against the floor.
- Slowly extend one leg straight and lower it only to the point at which your lower back starts to rise up off the floor, then return to 90°.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Extend your leg again and this time, stretch your arm on the same side over your head (next to your ear) while keeping the other knee bent and other arm pointing at the ceiling.
- Slowly return your extended arm and leg to the starting position and repeat the extension on the other side.
- Next, extend one arm and both legs straight (this one is definitely a challenge), then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
- For the final challenge, extend both arms and both legs straight (don’t go all the way down to the floor—we want to engage the core muscles to support the arms and legs!).
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Do a total of 10 reps.
Thread the Needle
- Begin in a straight plank, then lift 1 hand and turn your upper body to perpendicular to the floor (maintaining a straight line from your head to your foot). This is a side plank.
- With your upper hand, reach around and under your torso, rotating your hips along to square and touch the opposite shoulder with your hand.
- Return to the side plank position.
- Repeat 10 times per side.
These are advanced core exercises. Proceed to these only if you are comfortable with the ones that came before. If you need to work up to them, repeat the Day One or Day Two exercises until you’re ready.
Crab Kick Superman
- Begin in a crab position, with your face up and hands and feet on the floor.
- Lift your left hand and your right foot and reach with your hand to touch the toes. Return to starting position.
- Flip over to a plank, keeping hips low.
- Lift your left arm and right leg at the same time, similar to the Superman position.
- Flip back over to the crab position and repeat the exercise with the right hand and left foot, flipping over to plank and Superman.
- Repeat 6 times on each side.
Star Leg Raise
This exercise is for the obliques, side abs, and lower back.
- Begin in a side plank with your elbow on the floor.
- Raise your opposite hand to the ceiling, in line with your shoulder.
- Lift your upper leg at the hip (foot pointing forwards) into the star position.
- Lower your leg back down to plank.
- Repeat 5-10 times, then switch to the other side and repeat 5-10 times.
This is a very challenging exercise. You may start with a few reps and work up to 10.
- Sit with weight on one glute, same-side arm and both legs extended on the floor at 45° so your body forms a “V”.
- Extend your opposite arm over your head next to the ear.
- Keeping your weight on your hip and legs off the floor, reach the extended arm and both legs together to touch the toes of the upper leg with your hand.
- Slowly lower to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
This is the most challenging exercise of all. Make sure to use slow, controlled movement.
- Start in a straight plank position, with your wrists directly beneath your shoulders.
- Lift your left hand and right foot and touch your toes with your hand under your body. Return to plank.
- Switch to your right hand and left foot and touch your toes under your body.
- Go back to the left hand and right foot and touch your toes. Without returning to plank or touching down, reach your left hand and right foot behind you to touch your toes behind your back.
- Keep hips stationary and square in the plank position as your arm and leg move.
- Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
As with any exercise, don’t overdo it. If you feel a strain on your back or neck, check your form and decrease the number of reps until you’ve mastered the movement. You’ll feel your balance and strength increasing as you get the hang of it. Plus, you’ll burn belly fat and tone up your midsection, so get that core working!