How To Lose Belly Fat At The Gym – 8 Gym Workouts To Effectively Shed Your Belly Fat In 2024

Jill Levy, Health & Nutrition Writer
Sevginur Akdas, RD
Want to know how to lose belly fat at the gym in 2024? Combine aerobic workouts with strength-training exercises. Read to learn more.
how to lose belly fat at the gym
Full-body workouts target the belly area. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Despite your hardest ab crunches, stubborn belly fat sometimes just won’t budge. But there are strategic workout methods beyond only core-focused moves that target your abdominal muscles—and they can finally help you reduce belly fat at the gym. 

If you’re wondering how to lose belly fat at the gym, the key is incorporating both aerobic interval and muscle-building exercises to burn calories, tone your core, and support your metabolism.

Targeting all major muscle groups and spiking your heart rate with high-intensity exercise can reveal the flat, defined midsection you’ve worked so hard for. Read on to learn about the best gym exercises to lose belly fat.

8 Workouts To Perform At The Gym That Help Burn Belly Fat

The eight best workouts to lose belly fat at the gym are:

  1. Treadmill Intervals
  2. Weight-Training Circuit
  3. Bodyweight HIIT Workouts
  4. Core/Ab Circuits
  5. HIIT Cardio Workouts
  6. Kettlebell Circuits
  7. Battle Rope Training
  8. Rowing Machine Workouts

8 Gym Exercises To Lose Belly Fat

The best exercises for reducing belly fat are those that torch lots of calories[1] by targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously. For example, running or walking on the treadmill, using a stair climber or rowing machine, doing bodyweight exercises or high-intensity interval training or HIIT are all some of the best ways to lose fat since these workouts target many different muscles—including your abdominal muscles, back, and also your legs and upper body. 

Here are eight workouts and exercises to do at the gym to lose weight and tone up your midsection.

Treadmill Intervals

  • Set the treadmill to a medium or high incline, such as between 7% to 12%. Walking uphill or on an incline forces your body to burn calories at a higher rate and tones almost your whole body, assisting in general fat loss and protecting against obesity.[2] 
  • Aim to run or walk on the treadmill for between 20 and 30 minutes. You can practice intervals by alternating between fast and slow speeds to keep your heart rate up and lose even more excess fat.[3]
  • For extra calorie burning, combine sprints with moderate-paced jogging or walking. Sprints should last for about 30 to 90 seconds, followed by about one minute of rest before repeating the cycle.
  • When doing a running interval or sprint on the treadmill, turn the speed up to at least 5 or 6mph, or even up to about 9 mph if your body can handle it. Try to maintain at least 3mph or more when walking and resting.

Weight Training Circuits

how to lose belly fat at the gym
Weight training strengthens and tones the core. Photo: Arsenii Palivoda/Shutterstock
  • A circuit involves performing exercises back to back with little rest in between, which keeps your heart rate up and maximizes your workout.
  • Perform dynamic moves like squats, lunges, presses, and deadlifts while holding free weights to build strength in your big muscle groups, including your back, core, quadriceps, and glutes. Even movements that don’t seem to target your core, such as squats directly, are, in fact, engaging your core muscles.[4] Complete between two and four sets of 20 repetitions of each exercise. 
  • Transition between upper and lower lifts, this way, you give your muscles time to rest before targeting them again. 
  • Try alternating between intense periods of lifting followed by brief periods of rest. Intervals provide a metabolic conditioning effect that’s useful for burning excess belly fat.
  • Minimize rest between sets, taking about one minute to recover before continuing and completing another set. 

Bodyweight HIIT Workouts

  • Build your own HIIT workout by incorporating calisthenics like burpees, jumping jacks, and high-knee runs. You can also include dynamic exercises such as sprints, battle rope slams, and cycling/bike intervals. Like weight training and treadmill workouts, this type of HIIT workout helps address extra fat stores[5] around your whole body. HIIT has been shown to help reduce visceral belly fat[6] better than moderate-intensity continuous training.
  • Add in planks, mountain climbers, and skaters as additional bodyweight ab movements.
  • Complete between two and four sets of 20 repetitions of each exercise. The longer the circuit, the more sets that you’ll include. If you incorporate fewer exercises, aim to complete about three or four sets in total.
  • No equipment is needed for this type of training, so try it anywhere (whether in the gym, your home, or outdoors)

Core/Abdominal Circuit

  • Exercises such as planks, brunches, burpees, crunches, and mountain climbers (or bicycle crunches) can help you lose lower belly fat while also strengthening and stabilizing your core and aiding in balance.[7]
  • Complete about one or two sets of 20 repetitions of each core exercise. Move from one exercise to the next with less than 30 seconds of rest between. 
  • Ideally, complete a core circuit at least two or three times per week.

Stair Climber Routines

  • Use a stair climber machine for intense sprint climbing intervals.
  • This total-body movement, done in a sprint-like fashion burns loads of calories[8] by engaging your legs, core, arms, and back muscle groups. 
  • Engage your core while climbing (don’t slouch) to maintain proper form. Don’t hold onto the arm handles to make climbing even more challenging for your core.
  • In total, complete a 20 to 30 minute workout. Take brief rest periods of 30 to 60 seconds when needed.

Kettlebell Workouts

how to lose belly fat at the gym
Kettlebells can assist in plants and core exercises. Photo: 4PM production/Shutterstock
  • Perform kettlebell workouts that combine strength moves together in flowing circuits to burn fat. Swings, cleans, snatches, lunges, and presses are great full-body exercises.
  • Use lighter kettlebells and higher rep ranges from 12-20 reps per move. Keep rest periods short between exercises. 
  • Incorporate kettlebell cardio intervals. Do 1-3 minutes of continuous kettlebell swings alternating with active rest periods. 
  • Maintain proper form. Be sure to engage your core as much as possible to prevent straining your back.

Rowing Machine Intervals

  • Perform intervals on the rowing machine alternating between 30-60 seconds of fast rowing followed by 1-2 minutes of slower pacing. 
  • Row at high resistance to work against more tension, engaging core abdominal muscles and your legs and upper body.
  • Maintain proper upright posture with engaged core and full range of motion pulling the handle to your lower ribs. Don’t bend or slouch.
  • Repeat intervals for up to 30 minutes of rowing. Keep increasing and decreasing your speed to keep your heart rate up.

Tips When You Exercise At The Gym

Following the tips below will help you work out safely and efficiently every time you hit the gym.

  • Have a plan: Decide your workout routine beforehand to maximize your time at the gym. This could involve planning your circuits and researching the exercises beforehand so you know exactly what to do during your workout, including maintaining proper form.
  • Practice good form: Maintaining proper form while exercising prevents injuries and makes your workouts more effective. Move smoothly and with control rather than trying to quickly complete circuit workouts, this way, you help prevent strains and injuries. A common mistake when doing core exercises is arching your back (in which your belly will stick out and your spine will curve), so try to engage your core to prevent your back from becoming injured.
  • Vary your workouts: Switch up your gym routine regularly to prevent plateaus and challenge your muscles. Keep your body guessing by incorporating new movements every few weeks, especially those that target different areas. For example, if you do HIIT bodyweight workouts, add new movements every other week or switch to another type of workout, such as treadmill sprints or rowing machine intervals.
  • Hydrate well: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to stay hydrated. Water is important for circulation, preventing muscle spasms, and helping your body detox waste that may make you feel sluggish.
  • Fuel up: Eat a balanced meal about one or two hours pre-workout. Carbs provide energy, while protein aids in muscle recovery, so eat a meal that contains these macronutrients after exercise. However, overall, be mindful of your calorie intake, as a small calorie deficit[9] can help lose belly fat.
  • Stretch afterward: Following a workout, spend about five to ten minutes gently stretching the major muscle groups you used to enhance flexibility and support recovery.
  • Rest when needed: Take at least one or two rest days per week to allow muscles adequate recovery time between intense training sessions.

The Bottom Line

Losing belly fat at the gym requires strategic workouts that maximize fat-burning and muscle-building in the right areas. Combining full-body strength training with high-intensity cardio is ideal because it torches many calories while toning and defining the core. Lift weights with multi-joint movements such as squats, deadlifts, and presses to build metabolism-boosting muscle all over. Incorporate interval training like treadmill sprints, rowing, circuits, and stair climbing to spike calorie burning and support a strong metabolism.

Finally, add targeted abdominal exercises like planks, crunches, and mountain climbers to hone the core specifically. Monitoring nutrition by eating protein and reducing calories slightly will also help facilitate fat loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exercise burns the most belly fat at the gym?

High-intensity interval training like sprints, rowing, kettlebell swings, and stair-climbing exercises burn lots of belly fat[10] and general body fat. That’s because they use many calories by targeting various muscle groups; they even make your body burn calories once your workout is over.

How can I reduce my tummy at the gym?

Do HIIT cardio, lift weights with compound moves (such as squats and deadlifts) to burn calories, and finish workouts with focused core exercises like planks, mountain climbers, and crunches to build core muscles.

Is the gym good for belly fat loss?

Yes, the gym provides effective tools for fat-burning because there are plenty of options at the gym for strength training and intense cardio interval workouts. That said, reduced calorie intake and a healthy diet are key[11] for losing fat in the core area.

Can the gym give you a flat tummy?

Yes, full-body strength training combined with HIIT cardio exercise can slim and flatten the stomach area over time by reducing your overall body fat and building your core muscles.

How to lose belly fat while gyming?

Combine high-intensity cardio intervals with total body strength training focused on compound lifts and core exercises. Remember that your diet determines how much belly fat you have, too, so focus on eating healthy foods and watching your portion sizes.


  1. M. Brennan Harris and Kuo, C. (2021). Scientific Challenges on Theory of Fat Burning by Exercise. Frontiers in Physiology, [online] 12. doi:
  2. Hong, H., Jeong, J., Kong, J., Lee, S., Yang, S.-B., Ha, C. and Kang, H. (2014). Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women. Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry, [online] 18(3), pp.277–285. doi:
  3. Zhang, H., Tong, T.K.K., Kong, Z., Shi, Q., Liu, Y. and Nie, J. (2020). Exercise training‐induced visceral fat loss in obese women: The role of training intensity and modality. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, [online] 31(1), pp.30–43. doi:
  4. Oliva-Lozano, J.M. and Muyor, J.M. (2020). Core Muscle Activity during Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 17(12), pp.4306–4306. doi:
  5. Maillard, F., Pereira, B. and Boisseau, N. (2017). Effect of High-Intensity Interval Training on Total, Abdominal and Visceral Fat Mass: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, [online] 48(2), pp.269–288. doi:
  6. Maillard, F., Rousset, S., Pereira, B., Amidou Traoré, Amaze, del, Yves Boirie, Duclos, M. and Boisseau, N. (2016). High-intensity interval training reduces abdominal fat mass in postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes & Metabolism, [online] 42(6), pp.433–441. doi:
  7. Su Su Hlaing, Rungthip Puntumetakul, Ei Ei Khine and Boucaut, R. (2021). Effects of core stabilization exercise and strengthening exercise on proprioception, balance, muscle thickness and pain related outcomes in patients with subacute nonspecific low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, [online] 22(1). doi:
  8. Tong, T., Zhang, H., Shi, H., Liu, Y., Ai, J., Nie, J. and Kong, Z. (2018). Comparing Time Efficiency of Sprint vs. High-Intensity Interval Training in Reducing Abdominal Visceral Fat in Obese Young Women: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Physiology, [online] 9. doi:
  9. Gemert, van, Peeters, P.H., May, A.M., Doornbos, A.J.H., Elias, S.G., van, Veldhuis, W.B., Stapper, M., Schuit, A.J. and Monninkhof, E.M. (2019). Effect of diet with or without exercise on abdominal fat in postmenopausal women – a randomised trial. BMC Public Health, [online] 19(1). doi:
  10. Dupuit, M., Maillard, F., Pereira, B., Marcelo Luís Marquezi, Antônio Herbert Lancha and Boisseau, N. (2020). Effect of high intensity interval training on body composition in women before and after menopause: a meta‐analysis. Experimental Physiology, [online] 105(9), pp.1470–1490. doi:
  11. Kuo, C. and M. Brennan Harris (2016). Abdominal fat reducing outcome of exercise training: fat burning or hydrocarbon source redistribution? Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, [online] 94(7), pp.695–698. doi:

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