Lower belly fat is one of the most stubborn areas to lose fat in the body. This is especially true for women since they are hormonally predisposed to store fat in this area of the body. That being said, fat does not work the same way as our muscles do. You can grow a specific muscle in the body, for example, the biceps. However, you cannot gain or reduce fat anywhere you want to.
But don’t lose hope. There are exercises that can help you tone this section of your body and create the appearance of a tighter, firmer belly. After a 15- to 20-minute cardio exercise that will help you lose overall body fat, you can do some of these 10 simple toning exercises below. These really make a difference!
10: Hip Lift
Raise both your legs up to the ceiling until they are perpendicular to your torso. Extend your arms out to your sides to keep your balance. Face your palms downward. Inhale and lift your hips off the floor and toward your torso as you keep your legs straight. Exhale as you slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Do 10 reps.
Sit on the floor with your feet lifted off the ground. Bend your knees into your chest. Extend your hands in front of you or place them on the floor just behind your bottom. This is the starting position. Then, pull your belly button into your spine. Lean your upper body while both legs are extended out then return to starting position. That is equivalent to one repetition. Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps. If you find that keeping your legs extended is too challenging, you can bend your knees instead as you raise your upper body.
8: Roll Up
Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms over your head and straighten your legs. Inhale. Roll up and bring your upper body off the floor until you reach your toes. Exhale as you go halfway up. Return to your starting position while inhaling again. Do 10 repetitions.
7: Straight Leg Raise
Lie flat on your back and straighten out your legs. Make sure that the small of your back is touching the floor. Toes should point toward the wall. Place your hands under your butt and make sure that your palms are facing down. Inhale and raise both of your legs up toward the ceiling until they form a 90-degree angle with your torso. Then, slowly lower your legs to approximately 4 inches about the ground while exhaling slowly. Try to lower them as much as you can without taking the small of your back off the floor. Do 10 repetitions.
6: Reverse Crunches
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands, palms down, on the sides of your body for support or you can put them behind your head. Curl your knees toward your chest while exhaling. Then as you inhale, slowly lower your legs until it almost touches the floor. Do 10 reps.
5: Scissors or Flutter Kicks
Lie flat on your back. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and place your hands on the side of the body or behind your head for neck support. Extend both your legs and first lift your right leg off the floor until it is perpendicular to the upper body. Keep the lifted leg as straight as possible. Then quickly lift your left leg as you bring down your right leg a few inches above the floor. Do this alternately back and forth without pausing. Up and down is equivalent to one repetition. Do 6-8 reps.
4: Full Plank Twist
Start with the plank position as shown on the first figure. Then bring your right knee across to your left elbow. Make sure that your hips turn with you. Return your right leg to starting position then do repeat with the other leg this time. That is equal to one repetition. Just like the V-sits, aim for 3 sets of 10 reps. For a more effective move, make your abs draw your knee up across the body.
3: Navasana Boat Pose
Just like the V-sit, start by sitting down on the floor, bending your knees, and lifting your feet off the ground. Keep your balance with the help of your tailbone and sitting bone. For beginners, grab on to your hamstrings while lifting your feet. For those who are advanced, lift your feet and make your lower legs parallel to the floor and extend your arms on either side of your knees just like what is shown on the picture. Hold this position for 30 seconds then relax. Do 5 reps. Increase your time eventually as you get stronger. For a more challenging move, do the V-sit position and hold for 30 seconds.
2: Double Leg Circles
Lie flat on your back. Extend your legs, lock your knees, and bring your thighs together. Lift your legs up as shown in the picture. Place your hands on your sides with your palms facing down for support. Make sure your back is still flat on the floor. Draw a small imaginary circle, approximately 12 inches in diameter, with your feet as you keep your legs extended. One full circle is one repetition. Do it clockwise then counter clockwise alternately. You can make it more challenging by making a bigger circle. Start directly above the hips then bringing your legs as close to the ground as possible.
1: The Russian Twist
Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Lean your torso back at about 45 degrees. Keep your spine straight. Extend your arms in front of your chest while keeping your balance on your tailbone. Raise your feet slowly off the floor and twist your torso. Bring your shoulder across the opposite side as comfortably as you can then do the same on the other shoulder. This is equivalent to one repetition. Aim for 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. You can opt to extend your legs out to keep your balance. Do not over-rotate to avoid back injury.
Coupled with the right diet, these exercises can help you get rid of stubborn lower belly fat. But as they always say, “No pain, no gain.” It just takes patience and perseverance to achieve your goal. Remember – eyes on the prize!