Man using battle ropes in gym to burn body fat

The best cardio exercises to lose belly fat

Try these 3 New Body Plan-inspired “Fat-Loss Finisher” HIIT cardio drills to torch calories, burn body fat and improve cardiovascular fitness to help sculpt a leaner, stronger and fitter body, says New Body Plan editor Joe Warner

If you’ve already done your own New Body Plan fat-loss transformation challenge you’ll know how much we love including “Fat-Loss Finishers” at the end of a weight-lifting workout.

If you’ve not yet started one of our better-body exercise and eating plans then a) you’re missing out on the life-changing benefits of exercise, and b) you may not know about these hugely beneficial high-intensity cardio drills – and why they are so effective at torching body fat.

The New Body Plan Fat-Loss Finishers are cardio drills designed to torch fat – and they really work!

They are short and intense bursts of all-out effort interspersed with brief periods of rest. The aim is to push your heart, lungs and muscles hard, back off, then go on again to get out of breath and a real sweat on – not to mention those feel-good endorphins flowing – and burn the maximum number of calories in a very short amount of time.

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Torch fat faster!
I love doing these Finishers because I’ve first-hand experience at how phenomenally successfully they are at reducing my body-fat levels. But don’t just take my word for it: there’s plenty of solid scientific research to back up the efficacy of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for fat loss.

One study, published in the Journal Of Sports Medicine And Physical Fitness, compared HIIT to conventional cardio training and found that intensive cardio resulted in a significantly greater reduction in both adipose fat (the fat stored just underneath the skin), and visceral fat (which is stored around the organs). Too much of either is incredibly bad for you, which is why doing HIIT is such a win-win situation for your physique and long-term health.

Blitz your belly!
If you want to blitz belly fat to make huge changes to the way you look and feel I can’t recommend including some Fat-Loss Finishers into your workouts. You can either do them as a standalone session – after a thorough warm-up, of course – do them at the end of a weights workout. Give one of the following drills a go: I’ve given each one a difficulty rating based on my own experience, and I’d love to hear how you get on! You can drop me a line on Twitter, Instagram or email me:

Finisher 1: Burn on the bike!
Why? All gyms have a bike so there’s no excuse for not smashing this leg-burning and lung-busting up-and-down drill that will make you leaner, faster and fitter!
Difficulty Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ★ ★

Exercise Bike
Stand straight next to a stationary bike and adjust the height of the seat so it’s hip-height.
Sit on the bike and adjust the screen so it shows metres travelled.
Cycle as hard as you can until you’ve done 100 metres, then rest for 10 seconds.
Cycle as hard as you can but now do 200 metres, then rest for 20 seconds.
Repeat, doing an additional 100 metres each round, and increasing the rest by 10 seconds each time.
Aim to get to 500m, then reverse the rounds back down, decreasing the distance by 100m and the recovery time by 10 seconds each round.

Finisher 2: Swing back into shape!

Why? This quick-fire cardio combo is a great compliment to a legs or back training day to work the these muscles harder while also tapping into fat stores to burn as fuel.
Difficulty Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ★

Kettlebell Swing
Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell between your legs with both hands.
Pop your hips forwards to drive it up to head height, keeping your arms relaxed.
Let the kettlebell swing back into the next rep – you don’t need to bend your knees much.
Perform 20 reps, rest for 30 seconds, using this time to get yourself set-up on the Ski-Erg or Rower.

Ski-Erg or Rower
Using either a Ski Erg or rowing machine, position yourself in the correct start position.
Set the display to show metres travelled.
Row hard for 200m, keeping each stroke fast but controlled.
Rest for 60 seconds then repeat the combo for a total of four to six times.

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Finisher 3: Walk towards weight loss!
Why? This incredibly challenging yet rewarding battle ropes and farmer’s walk combo will get you hot, sweaty and out of breath to maximise oxygen consumption and calorie burn.
Difficulty Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Battle Ropes
Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, holding a battle rope in each hand.
Move the ropes up and down at the same time, creating a wave movement through both ropes.
Move the ropes quickly and smoothly, keeping your chest up and your core tight.
Maintain your pace and rhythm for 30 seconds, then go straight into the Farmer’s Walk.

Farmer’s Walk
Stand in front of a long, clear track – ideally at least 10m long – holding a trap bar deadlift bar, dumbbells or specialist farmer’s walk equipment.
Keeping your core braced, walk the length of the track. At the end, turn around and walk back to the start.
Rest for 60 seconds then repeat the combo for a total a six of four to eight times.

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