This 5-Move Circuit Will Help Burn Fat and Sculpt Your Core, No Matter Your Fitness Level
Everyone wants a smaller waist, but figuring out exactly how to melt stubborn belly fat and strengthen and tone your core can be tricky — especially if you're a fitness newcomer. While you can't spot-reduce fat, getting your heart rate up with cardio-infused exercises can help slim your body from head to toe and inch you closer to your goals. "High-intensity, total-body moves are how you ensure you'll be able to get into a zone that will burn fat," said NASM-certified personal trainer Kendall Wood, MS, CSCS, coauthor of Core Fitness Solution. Start with the circuit workout below.
Directions: Perform each move for 60 seconds with only a 30-second rest in between. Kendall suggests doing as many circuits as you can in each workout session. Imagine how much stronger you'll get.
You may not like burpees, but "they're a great move to ensure results when trying to lose weight and target belly fat," Kendall told POPSUGAR.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then lower into a crouching squat position with your hands on the floor.
- Jump your feet back into a plank position.
- Do a basic push-up, allowing your chest to nearly touch the floor before returning to a plank position.
- Jump your feet forward, and get into a squat position.
- Jump up as explosively as you can.
Modification: Just take out the jumps. Squat, put your hands by your feet and walk your legs into plank, do a push-up (on your knees if necessary), walk your feet to your hands, come into a deep squat, stand up, and then repeat.
If you find it difficult to move from one lunge to another, you can jump to a standing position before alternating legs.
- From a standing position, jump into a lunge position with one leg trailing behind.
- Jump up with both legs, and land in a lunge position again, this time with your opposite foot trailing behind. That is one rep.
Modification: If the jumping bugs your knees, you can take out the jump entirely and do alternating backward lunges instead.
Plank With Bunny Hop
Planks are deceptively hard, but "watching your form will result in harnessing almost all the muscles you need to hit in order to achieve fat loss," Kendall said.
- Start in a standard plank position with your feet touching and your hands supporting your upper body.
- Using your abs, jump your feet to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Allow your body to twist to the right to accomplish this movement.
- Jump your legs back to the starting position, and repeat this move on the opposite side.
Modification: Walk your feet, rather than jump them, toward your elbow.
"You can't overlook the deadlift because it will work your lower body better than most and amplify fat loss by virtue of triggering all those muscles," Kendall said.
- Hold a set of dumbbells at your sides. With your knees bent slightly, slowly lower your torso until your chest is parallel to the ground. Keep your back straight.
- Squeeze your glutes to pull yourself back up to the starting position. Do not allow your back to pull you through this movement.
Modification: If using weights feels too intense on your spine, try this move without weights — the exercise is called a good morning.
Nothing could be simpler than doing step-ups, and yet there may be no move that's avoided more. Why? If you're doing them right, "step-ups allow you to put in all the intensity cardio can bring," Kendall explained. Use a stair, step, or even a stack of books to get started.
- With one foot on a step in front of you, alternate feet in a stepping motion.
- Make sure to pump your arms in alternating fashion (left foot, right arm; right foot, left arm).
- Keep your spine straight through the movement, and keep your eyes straight ahead.
Modification: Use a lower step. If that still feels like a challenge, do high-knee marches.