What’s the best gym equipment to lose belly fat?

If you’ve stumbled on our guide, you’re looking to shift that stubborn spare tyre around your belly. In this guide, we’ll go over the best gym equipment to help you lose belly fat. We’ll look at what each one does and how many calories you can expect to burn off.

Losing belly fat isn’t complicated, but there are a few things that need to be understood before you can do it effectively. Many people try and lose belly fat the wrong way, which is why everyone ends up struggling, year after year, without making any progress.

Here’s what you need to know to get rid of that belly with your home gym gear.

Losing abdominal fat: The Myths

abs have nothing to do with the fat on your stomach

When you think about people that are trying to lose weight, two things probably come to mind.

The spot trainer

Losing belly fat doing crunches

The spot trainer does endless crunches, sit-ups and planks, all in the vain hope that working the area hard will burn away all of the fat.

The issue is, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of how exercise works.

See, when you’re working out, you’re training the muscles. When you do crunches, you’re hitting your abs. But your abs have nothing to do with the fat on your stomach, and training them won’t do anything to help. Instead, you’ll just end up with rock hard abs, under a flabby tummy.

Long story short, the research has been done. Spot training doesn’t work.

The cardio maniac

Rather than spending all day bending themselves in various shapes, the cardio maniac gets on a treadmill or bike and spends hours futilely sweating away in an attempt to burn calories and lose the fat.

Problem is, cardio has to be done in the right way. Most people associate cardio with steady state running or cycling, i.e. keeping a regular, constant pace.

While it’s good to be doing something, steady state cardio like this is one of the worst ways to encourage fat loss, and there are so many better things you could be doing.


Losing belly fat: What you should be doing instead

We’ve already addressed the fact that you can’t spot target fat burning. So what are the options?

If you’re really looking to shift the belly fat and start burning off your extra pounds, you need to understand how fat burning works. Here are the two things you need to be doing.

Full body workouts

We’ve already discussed why spot training, or doing one million sit-ups, isn’t going to help you shift your belly.

But it’s important to realize that your muscles are the fat burning engine of your body. When you work out, your muscles break down fat and use that to refuel, rearm and rebuild.

It stands to reason then, that the more of your body you can work out, the more your body needs to call on its fat reserve in order to build itself back up.

So make sure your workouts hit every part of your body, focusing on the large, key muscle groups like legs, back, butt and arms.

Using cardio the right way

Cardio can definitely work to lose fat, because at the end of the day, if you’re working hard, you’re burning calories. But one simple change makes it that much more efficient.

Switching from a steady pace to one that’s constantly changing.

The technical term for this is intervals, or repetitively changing between high pace and low pace. You’re going to be using this in almost every single exercise and on every single machine we mention below.


So what are the best gym machines to burn belly fat?

As we just explained, the best way to get abs is to lose fat across your whole body. And the best way to do that is to work your entire body. A full body workout should engage every muscle, to cause the maximum fat burn.

If you want to burn that stubborn belly fat, here’s what you should be using when you hit the gym:

The Treadmill

Calories burned: 17 calories per minute

The treadmill is a great machine for burning belly fat, if you use it the right way. In fact, out of all cardio options, the humble treadmill actually burns the most calories out of all of them.

But standard static running won’t burn fat the way you want to. Instead, you should use this far more effective method:

What to do: Inclined intervals

Start by walking or lightly jogging on a treadmill set to a comfortable incline for 5 minutes, to get your body moving.

Then speed up to a steady running pace for a further 5 minutes

Drop back down to a jogging pace for 5 more minutes, and repeat alternating between jogging and running until you’ve ran for 30 to 45 minutes total.

Treadmill intervals are a great way to start out your workout, as they’re a great full body warm-up as well as a general exercise.


Cross Trainer

Calories burned: 13 calories per minute

Cross trainers, or elliptical machines, are a low-impact but highly effective way to burn calories quickly. A 30 minute session can burn as many as 400 calories, or more than 15% of your average daily allowance.

What to do: Elliptical Intervals

You may have noticed a pattern with the cardio exercises on this list. Intervals. That’s because interval training is the most effective method of fat burning when you’re doing cardio.

Start at a comfortable pace for 3-5 minutes to warm up.

Then increase your resistance and go as fast as possible for 30 seconds.

Reduce the speed back to your warm up pace for 90 seconds.

Repeat for 30 minutes, and make sure you finish at your warm-up pace to cool down.


Rowing Machine

Calories burned: 11 calories per minute

A rowing machine is a fantastic way to blast your body and burn calories in a short amount of time. Rowing machines offer the best total workout of all the cardio machines because they hit your entire body, with particular focus on your legs, back, shoulders and stomach.

What to do: 5 minute intervals

Row at a fast but steady pace for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and take note of how far you traveled in that first period.

Repeat until you’ve finished 10 sets total, and you should be aiming to row further in every single 20 second session.

After 10 more seconds of rest, finish with a 500 meter sprint for time.

Repeat this 4 times, with 60 seconds rest between each set.


Kettlebells

Calories burned: 15 calories per minute

If Russia has taught us anything, it’s that slinging around a cannonball with a big metal handle on it is a fantastic exercise for fat burning and muscle building.

What to do: Kettlebell swings

Drop your posture and bend your hips. Hold the kettlebell in both hands, with your arms straight down in front of you and the kettlebell between your legs.

Rock backwards, swinging the kettlebell back slightly.

As the kettlebell hits the back of its swing, tighten everything up, engage your glutes, throw your hips forward and swing the weight forwards. It should almost reach the height of your shoulders.

The weight is going to try and pull you off balance. Tighten your core to fight that, and catch the momentum as it swings back towards you.

Repeat.


The Medicine Ball

Calories burned: 12 calories per minute

Another old-school training method, the medicine ball is a fantastic fat burner that engages every muscle in the body, if done right.

What to do: Lateral medicine ball slams

Start with the medicine ball in your hands and your feet shoulder width apart.

Twist to one side and drive the ball downwards into the floor with a two-handed overhead slam.

Drop your bodyweight slightly as you catch it on the rebound, working the legs, then twist to the other side and slam the ball downwards again.

Alternate sides, and tighten everything as you twist to make sure that you hit your abs and obliques as hard as possible.


The best bodyweight exercises for busting belly fat

There’s no point in losing belly fat if you’re not going to have strong, defined abs underneath.

If you’re already exercising, the chances are you already have abs, they’re just hidden under a tiny paunch.

And the process of exercising and getting fitter is going to help you get a set of abs that everyone is jealous of.

Here’s a quick and easy set of exercises that doesn’t take much time and can be done anywhere to sharpen up your abs.


Burpees

Burpees are a whole body exercise that hits your core hard, as well as targeting your chest, lats, quadriceps, shoulders and triceps. They’re also great cardio, which you’ll realise once you’ve done a couple of sets.

How to do burpees

Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Drop down into a crouching squat and kick your legs back into a press-up position.

Complete a press-up and push back up into a plank. Jump your feet back between your legs, then leap into the air.

Repeat 10 times, for as many sets as you can handle.


Mountain climbers

A more intensive plank that crushes your core, mountain climbers are another great exercise for your stomach, as well as being amazing cardio.

How to do mountain climbers

Start in a plank position, with your hands under your shoulders. Tighten your stomach, and while keeping it tight bring one leg up so that your knee is under your body. Bring the curled up leg back to plank, and repeat on alternate sides.


The Plank

Planking is a traditional and effective ab exercise. Make sure to do your plank at the end of your workout plan for extra intensity.

How to do a plank

Drop down into a press-up position, but with your forearms flat on the ground. Tighten your core, and make sure that your back and legs are completely straight.

Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 60 seconds and repeat for 3 sets. Increase the length of time you hold for as you get stronger.

Ab blasting extras

If you’re at the gym and still feeling it after your workout’s over, you can add in a couple more exercises for the finishing touch.


The Captain’s Chair

Used for leg raises and L-sits, the Captain’s chair is a great way to target your entire lower body.

If your gym doesn’t have a Captain’s chair, you can substitute in a pull-up bar or dip station.

The Sit-up Bench

To finish off your abs, hit them with the traditional sit-up. Using a sit-up bench forces you into perfect form, and putting them at the end of your workout, when your abs are already tired, will put the final touch on your physique.


Skipping – a fast, easy and cheap way to shred fat from your belly

You don’t have to splash out a £1000 pounds on a fancy new treadmill to lose some serious calories and tone up your mid section. Skipping is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get rid of excess fat and tone up your stomach area from home.

Skipping to lose belly fat
Skipping is a simple, fun and effective way to burn calories.

About the cheapest way to lose belly fat

You’ll actually have a hard time spending more than about a tenner on a good jump rope on places like Amazon. And they should last a long time too.

Isn’t skipping boring?

There’s really two ways to use skipping to lose weight. Firstly, you can set the clock and go at it for a certain amount of time on it’s own. It’s not that different to running once you get used to it.

HIIT skipping – shreds tummy fat at home

But the best way to use skipping to lose belly fat is to get stuck into some HIIT training using your skipping rope. This consists of short bursts of skipping (even as little as 60 seconds) followed by a short rest, a body weight exercise and then more skipping. Repeated X number of times.

You can use them as part of your own outdoor garden gym sessions, when the weather’s nice. Plus, a skip rope can go anywhere with you when you’re on holiday.

Sound easy? Try it out for yourself.


Dumbbells – one of the best and least used ways to lose belly fat

When most people think about dumbbells, they probably think about building strength and increasing muscle size. Of course free weights will do all that, but they’re also incredibly good at reducing excess weight around your tummy (and anywhere else for that matter).

The key is in HOW you train with them. If you’re working strength only, doing say 3 sets of 12 reps, with a break in between, you’re going to be working more on strength. So what’s the big secret?

Dumbells and HIIT are an awesome combination.

Picking up a lighter weight and doing high intensity interval training, instead of more strength based training will do wonders for shifting your belly fat.

Rather than doing a fixed 3 sets, you’ll be performing the same exercise with your dumbbells (like simple bicep curls), only you’ll be doing them for say 40 seconds, then a 10 second break, then doing maybe a dumbbell row for 40 seconds – and so on.

Interval training with dumbbells is also a full-body functional workout. Meaning you’ll be working different muscles groups at the same time.

You can shed up to hundreds of calories per hour, depending on the intensity, how long you do and how much you GO FOR IT. Youtube is a great place to start looking for some belly-busting HIIT workouts. Remember: Start SLOW. Do one round at your own pace and build up slowly.

Key Takeaways

Losing abdominal fat is surprisingly simple. It might not be easy, especially in the moment, but nothing worth doing ever is.

Just remember:

  • Spot training doesn’t work. Train full body instead
  • Cardio is good, but interval based cardio is more effective
  • Eat right. You can’t outrun your fork. Avoid sugar, more protein

Do this for a few weeks, and you’ll have a flat belly and abs of steel. Guaranteed.

Sources and further reading

Tom Armstrong

Hey! I've been training in all kinds of places, with all kinds of equipment for the best part of 30 years. I love training with my weights at home and writing about new products and training methods online. Well, with a name like Armstrong, I would have to be into training, right?

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