Do Ab Exercises Help You Burn Belly Fat?

If you’re doing ab workouts hoping to lose belly fat, think again. Ab exercises like planks and crunches won’t burn belly fat. They strengthen your core but don’t target fat loss.

To lose belly fat and get a six-pack, focus on reducing overall body fat with a balanced diet and cardio exercises alongside core workouts.

What Are Abdominal Muscles (Abs)?

Ab Exercises Help You Burn Belly Fat

Abdominal muscles, or abs, are crucial for stabilizing your core, aiding breathing, facilitating movement, and protecting your internal organs.

The four main abdominal muscles are the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external oblique, and internal oblique. Maintaining strength in all these muscles is essential. Strong abs contribute to better posture, balance, reduced back pain, and increased flexibility.

Types of Abdominal Fat

There are two types of abdominal fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.

Subcutaneous fat is the type you can pinch, found under the skin but above the muscles. It’s not directly linked to health risks in moderate amounts.

Visceral fat, on the other hand, is located deeper in the abdomen, surrounding internal organs. It’s associated with higher risks of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease because it releases compounds that affect various disease-related processes in the body.

Do Ab Exercises Burn Belly Fat?

Many people do ab exercises to lose belly fat, but evidence suggests targeted ab exercises are not very effective.

Spot reduction, the idea that you can lose fat in one spot by exercising that part of your body, isn’t supported by research.

Studies show that doing ab exercises alone doesn’t reduce belly fat. For example, one study followed 24 people doing ab exercises 5 days a week for 6 weeks, but it didn’t reduce belly fat.

Another study testing a 27-day sit-up program found no decrease in belly fat. This holds true for all areas of the body, not just the abs.

Even studies testing spot reduction in the arms have shown mixed results, with some indicating a reduction in fat in the targeted area while others disagree.

However, conflicting methods or measurement techniques may contribute to these inconsistent findings.

6 Ways To Burn Belly Fat

Here are six simple ways to burn fat and sculpt your abs for that coveted six-pack look. These exercises not only target belly fat but also enhance mental well-being.

1. Strengthen Your Core

To sculpt your abs, focus on exercises like crunches, sit-ups, planks, leg raises, and reverse crunches.

These movements target the muscles underneath the belly fat, preparing them to be visible once you shed the excess weight.

Learn more: 7 Flat Stomach Workouts You Can Do at Home

2. Do Cardio

Engage in activities like running, cycling, swimming, rowing, or brisk walking for 150–300 minutes per week. Cardio exercises help burn calories, increase your heart rate, and boost metabolism, which are essential for fat loss.

3. Weight Training

Incorporate weightlifting exercises such as deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, barbell bench press, squats, and dumbbell overhead lunges into your routine.

Weight training builds muscle, which in turn raises your resting metabolic rate, leading to more efficient fat burning. 

4. Try HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are effective for reducing body fat.

However, it’s important not to do HIIT every day to prevent muscle fatigue and injuries. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity for improved overall fitness in less time.

5. Practice Yoga

Include yoga sessions in your weekly routine to reduce belly fat and waist size while also improving mindfulness and lowering stress levels.

Yoga also helps address issues like back pain and poor posture, contributing to overall well-being.

6. Mind Your Diet

To lose body fat effectively, focus on improving your diet. Cut down on processed foods high in sugar.

Instead, prioritize protein-rich foods, which help you feel fuller and boost metabolism.

Increase fiber intake by eating more vegetables, which can aid in appetite control. Practice portion control to manage calorie intake.

These dietary changes, along with maintaining a calorie deficit, are key to shedding weight and belly fat.


Is it bad to do abs every day?

Yes, doing abs every day can lead to overtraining and muscle injury. It’s important to give your abs a break and train other core muscles too.

If you need more guidance, make an appointment with our online personal training

How long does it take to melt belly fat and get abs?

It typically takes 1-2 months to see noticeable changes in your waistline. Aim for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, which is considered safe and achievable by the CDC.

What burns the most body fat?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns the most fat. Vigorous workouts like sprinting or Tabata workouts are designed for quick fitness results.

Interested in receiving personal guidance for muscle training and fitness? Join my online personal training program.

Leave a Comment

1-on-1 Online Personal Training with Lucas Sullivan

I'm Lucas Sullivan, an ISSA certified personal trainer. I've helped over 100 clients of various age groups achieve their fitness goals.

Unlike other personal trainers, I pay attention to every detail and guide you through every step to train your muscles and lose weight effectively. Some of the things I offer include designing a workout plan, creating a diet plan, and ensuring accountability and discipline through weekly check-ins with you.

If you're ready to get fit and live a healthier life, click the button below to apply for my personal training program.