written by Jen Besten
Muscle is the engine for burning fat and aerobic exercise jump starts the engine to increase fat loss. It is a common misconception that spot reduction is possible. It is not! You must decrease your overall body fat percentage to lean out the stomach, thighs and butt. Incorporating a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercises into your program is key to help burn fat in the midsection and lower body. Below are four exercises to accomplish this goal.
Jump Squats tone the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and gluts while keeping the heart rate elevated to increase fat loss. Take a wide stance with your toes facing forward. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Jump up and land back in the parallel (squat) position. Repeat this exercise for 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Mountain Climbers work the arms, core and legs while increasing the heart rate for an anaerobic and aerobic workout. Start on the floor in the push up position. Bring one knee into the chest while the other remains extended. Quickly switch legs bringing the opposite knee to the chest. Continue to alternate legs in a running motion for 3 sets of 20 repetitions on each leg.
Jump lunges are another aerobic and anaerobic exercise. They work the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves while engaging muscles that stabilize the core and hips. Stand with one leg forward and one leg back and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle with one in front of the body and one behind. Prepare to jump by bending your knees and sinking down into a deep lunge, lean slightly forward and contract your core muscles. Quickly sink your weight down driving both feet into the floor then launch your body upward extending your knees and hips while switching your legs and arms as you begin to land. Land softly and maintain a balanced foot position with the mid-foot and heel making contact with the floor. Continue for 3 sets of 15 repetitions on each leg.
This exercise will burn calories and fat while toning your core muscles. Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Engage your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Move into a plank position on the floor with your weight distributed between your hands and toes. Lower your upper body until your chest is a few inches above the ground then push yourself back to the plank position keeping your abdominals tight. Next, jump your feet toward your hands. Finally, raise your hands off the ground and jump as high as you can while moving your arms over your head. This is one repetition. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions. Make sure to maintain control while moving as fast as you can.
Remember the muscles of the core include the abdominals, back muscles, shoulders and glutes. By introducing core fat burning exercises that increase the heart rate you can strengthen and tone your midsection while burning calories to help give you defined abs. Each of the above exercises requires the body to work aerobically and anaerobically while maintaining focus on the muscles of the core, butt and thighs.