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5 least effective exercises to lose belly fat and what to do instead

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When it comes to shedding body fat, there are dozens of great exercises to burn calories, hit lots of muscle, and get the results you’re looking for. But for every “good” exercise, there are many that are weak at best. Yet, strangely, it is often the ineffective exercises that are the most popular while the good ones are the rarest. In this article, we will look at five of the worst exercises to lose belly fat, which are just some of the most popular exercises. In addition, we will provide alternative exercises that are millions of times better (understatement) to get you slim and slim to get fantastic results in much less time.

Read on for the five worst exercises to lose belly fat, and when you’re done, don’t miss Get rid of the lingering belly fat with this cardio and strength workout.

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forearm curl
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Question: Will isolating a small muscle in your arms burn a lot of calories?

Answer: No! So if you want to burn as much fat as possible, target many large muscle groups at once to stimulate more changes.

Instead, do pull-ups, which target your back, lats, biceps, and forearms. She grabs a pull-up bar with palms facing you and begins by squeezing her shoulder blades together. Pull yourself up and lead with your chest. If using your own body weight is too difficult, use an exercise band to help.

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RELATED: 6 tips for women to lose belly fat and keep it off

illustration of calf raises
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Unless you’re trying to become a bodybuilder, there’s little reason to isolate your calves. Again, it’s a little exercise that doesn’t give your body what it needs to shed fat all over (and if you want to lose weight, you probably don’t want bigger calves anyway).

Instead, try a sprinter step-up, which targets your entire leg in one explosive move. Place one foot on a box or bench. Push through that foot, driving through the heel, and while standing on the box, lift your back knee up to hip height. Do not push with the lower leg.

woman doing crunches at home on a yoga mat to reduce belly fat
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Sit-ups force you into bad posture with your neck forward, shoulders rounded, and spine flexed. Research also shows that sit-ups put a lot of compressive load on the lower back and spine.

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Instead, use an ab wheel roll to maintain good posture throughout. While you’re on both knees, he grabs an ab wheel and pushes forward. Drop as low as you can, then pull yourself up. Make sure you keep your arms straight and hips extended the entire time.

RELATED: The Daily 5-Minute Workout for Women to Melt Hanging Belly Fat

illustration of standing dumbbell side bends
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Sidebends only isolate certain muscles and overbend your torso, which can put more stress on your spine and lower back, especially if you’re holding dumbbells.

Swap them out for a cable-row side plank, which targets your entire midsection and adds another move for more calorie burn and complexity. Lie on your side and rest your forearm on the ground, perpendicular to your body. Keep your body straight, glutes contracted and shoulders pulled back. Don’t let your hips sag. With your arm overhead, grab a handle on the cable and row while keeping your body rigid.

man making leg abduction machine
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By forcing your legs open and closed, you put a lot of stress on your hip capsules and IT bands, meanwhile there are safer and more effective ways to hit your hips, tone your lower body, and burn fat.

For fantastic fat-burning results, perform side goblet squats, which target the glutes, quads, abductors, adductors and even your core. Grab the end of a dumbbell with both hands and hold it by your chest with your elbows underneath. Start with a very wide stance and your feet pointed slightly outward. Sit on your side and push your knee out. Repeat on the other side.

Anthony J. Young

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured on Esquire, GQ and Mens Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. He joins the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony

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