Belly fat is one of the most stubborn parts of the body to lose. It’s an issue that affects men and women, but luckily there are ways to break free of the bulge. Dumbbells are extremely versatile tools to have in the gym, and they come in handy when looking to shape the abdominal area.
Get Past the Myth
First thing’s first: You need to realize that there’s no scientific way to spot-treat any specific area of the body, such as the abdominals, for fat loss using exercise. You can do crunches all day long and not get the results you want. Instead of focusing all your exercises on the abdominal and core muscles, it’s important to exercise your entire body. Your body will burn the fat from its most fat-concentrated areas, which for some people may be the abdominals, but it could also be the hips, thighs, arms or other parts of the body.
Blast Your Abs with Weighted Crunches
Dumbbells work well for doing weighted crunches. The added resistance dumbbells provide helps to strengthen your abdominal muscles more quickly. Use light dumbbells when doing weighted crunches, so the added resistance doesn’t affect your crunch technique or put additional strain on your neck and back. While crunches won’t specifically target belly fat, it will help increase the lean muscle mass in your core. Lean muscle naturally burns more calories than fatty tissue, so the more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn.
An effective workout strategy that will help increase your lean muscle mass and burn a significant amount of calories is circuit training. You can design a circuit training workout using only dumbbells. The idea is to move from one resistance training “station” to the next with little or no rest in between; this will keep your heart rate elevated and it burns calories while promoting muscle growth. Target all of your major muscle groups during each circuit training workout, including your legs, chest, back, arms and abs. Do a 30 to 45 minute circuit training workout three times a week with at least one day in between each workout.
There are dozens of effective dumbbell exercises you can add to your circuit training regimen. It’s a good idea to change them up every so often to keep each workout fresh and to target your muscles from slightly different angles. Work the chest and shoulder muscles using dumbbell bench press, incline press and flies. Squats and lunges work nearly every muscle in your legs; just hold the dumbbells next to your shoulders for balance. Exercise the arms with bicep curls and overhead tricep extensions. Bent-over rows, back extensions and reverse dumbbell flies are three exercises that target all of the muscles in the back. Dumbbell deadlifts are extremely useful for working the legs, arms and back at the same time.
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.net. He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth.info, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.