For many people, it's one big struggle to lose excess fat around the midsection, no matter how hard they try. Unfortunately, a balloon belly is not only frustrating to deal with when squeezing into tighter pants, but it can also predict future health problems. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, research links a ballooning waistline to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The ultimate way to burn the flab isn't by performing cardio; it's resistance training. So we've put together some productive free weight exercises to help you get rid of your balloon belly for good.
By working with weights, you'll burn calories and build lean muscle, which actually increases your metabolism and burns more fat all day. For the best results, ditch machine exercises and use free weights—barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc. That way, you'll use a full range of motion and activate more muscles as you balance and stabilize your body with weights.
The Goblet Squat is one of the best total-body exercises. It's not just a lower-body movement; you even target your upper body as you hold the weight and stabilize your core throughout the exercise.
To set up for the exercise, grab the end of one dumbbell in both hands and hold it up to your chest with your elbows underneath the weight. Stand with your feet shoulder-width distance apart with your toes slightly out. Start the movement by sitting backward and spreading your knees apart. Descend below parallel while keeping your lower back flat. At the bottom of the motion, drive through your heels and keep your knees apart.
Dumbbell Bench Press
The key to burning a lot of calories is to target a lot of muscles at once—and the Bench Press does just that as it blasts your entire upper body. Even better, it's a bit easier on your shoulders than a traditional Barbell Bench Press.
Lie on a bench with your chest up, shoulders squeezed together, and feet flat on the ground. Drive the dumbbells upward, keeping your shoulders back. Drive through your heels, as well, keeping your glutes on the bench.
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
Rows are a great exercise to strengthen your upper back and arms. By bending at your hips, your core has to work so much harder—and your lower body has to kick in as well—so you get even more benefit from just one movement.
Grab a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly, and bend at your hips until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your lower back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and row.
This is another incredible total-body exercise to help you get lean. It trains so many muscles at the rear of your body from head to toe and improves your posture so you're not exaggerating your belly. By using a kettlebell, you learn how to deadlift properly so that once you get stronger and more advanced, you can try barbells, trap bars, and more.
Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and a kettlebell in the middle between the big bone in your ankle (medial malleolus). Bend at your hip to grab the handles with both hands. Keep your back straight, your knees slightly bend, and your shoulders squeezed together. To perform the exercise, drive your heels through the ground, and push your hips forward. Then, reverse the movement, and repeat.