Having a flat stomach is a common fitness goal. Exercises that burn fat, tone the core, and build muscle can help a person achieve this goal.
This article explores exercises and other strategies for achieving a flat stomach. It also looks at how long it can take and the factors that can affect a person’s progress.

Body composition and results timeline

A person’s body composition refers to their relative proportions of:

tissues and organs

Health and fitness experts generally consider two components: “fat mass” and “fat-free mass”. Fat mass is the total mass of body fat, while fat-free mass is the total mass of all other components. Anyone looking to lose belly fat should be looking to lose overall body fat. As this happens, belly fat also decreases.

The time it takes to lose body fat varies from person to person. The following factors may play a role:

– age
– sex
– size
– weight
– physical activity
– eating habits
– any underlying health condition.

Typically, a person needs to burn 3500 calories to lose 0.5g of fat. This means that someone who cuts 500 calories a day from their diet can lose around 0.5g per week or 2kg per month.
People who lose weight at a slow, steady rate of around 0.5g to 1kg per week tend to maintain their weight loss. In general, people who lose weight quickly lose more lean body mass and water weight than body fat.

Here are some exercises that can help a person burn fat, tone their stomach, and build muscle in order to have a flat stomach.

1 Board

The standard plank engages the following muscles:

the trunk, a group of major muscles that connect the spine and pelvis.
upper abdominal muscles
lower abdominal muscles
The plank burns more calories than other abdominal exercises because it engages the arms, legs, and back.

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Lie on your stomach with your forearms parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Supporting your forearms and toes, push your body up.
Step 3: Make sure the head, neck, back and legs stay in a straight line.
Step 4: Hold the position for as long as you want before returning to the starting position.

2 side boards

The side plank engages the following muscles:

the obliques, the lateral muscles of the trunk
the buttocks

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Lie on your left side with your torso raised so that your left forearm is directly under your left shoulder and your left palm is flat on the floor.
Step 2: Place the right foot on top of the left foot, so that the right leg is directly above the left leg.
Step 3: Raise the left hip away from the floor, ensuring that the torso, hips and legs are in a straight line.
Step 4: Squeeze core and glutes to maintain balance.
Step 5: Hold the position before slowly lowering the left hip to the ground.
Step 6: Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

A modification of this exercise is to perform a rotation. When getting into position, the person raises their upper arm, then slowly rotates their torso while moving the upper arm under the body to pick it up. The goal is to do 8-10 reps on one side before switching to the other.

3 Reaching His Toes

This exercise engages the abdominal muscles.

Beginners could start with this exercise to develop their core strength. A person can take the following steps:

Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs and feet raised at a 90 degree angle.
Step 2: Raise your upper body while contracting your core to reach your toes.
Step 3: Hold for one or two counts before slowly lowering your upper body while continuing to work your core.
You can start with 1-3 sets of 18-20 reps each.

4 Raising your legs

This exercise works the following muscles:

lower back muscles
upper abdominal muscles
lower abdominal muscles
hamstring muscles

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs stretched forward.
Step 2: Working your core, slowly raise your straight legs toward the ceiling.
Step 3: Continuing to work the core, slowly lower the legs as far as possible without letting them rest on the floor.
Step 4: Continuing to work the core, slowly raise your outstretched legs toward the ceiling.
Try to perform 3 sets of 10 reps each.

5 Straight leg sit-ups.

Sit-ups engage the following muscles:

the abdominal muscles
lower back muscles
the obliques

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs straight and slightly apart.
Step 2: Place both hands behind the head.
Step 3: Slowly raise your upper body while keeping your back straight, and come to a straight sitting position.
Step 4: Slowly lower your upper body while continuing to keep your back straight, until your whole body is flat.
You can perform up to 3 sets, each set lasting 1 minute.

6 Abdominals (crunches) on a bicycle

Bike crunches help tone the abdominal muscles and obliques.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your fingers intertwined behind your head. Raise your head and shoulders off the floor, and raise your knees so they’re directly above your hips.
Step 2: As you exhale, twist your torso to bring your left elbow towards your right knee, and straighten your left leg.
Step 3: Hold the position for 1 or 2 counts.
Step 4: While inhaling, return to the starting position.
Step 5: Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.
Try to perform 3 sets of 12 to 20 reps. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds after each set.

7 Laying the boat

This yoga pose helps strengthen core and spine muscles while improving balance.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Sit with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor.
Step 2: Lift both feet and slowly lean back, working your core. Keep the knees bent so that the shins are parallel to the ground.
Step 3: Straighten the legs at a 45 degree angle, so that the legs and upper body form a “V”.
Step 4: Extend your arms forward, so they are parallel to the floor.
Step 5: Try to balance on the seat bones while holding the pose for several breaths.
Step 6: Exhale as you release the legs and return to the starting position.

8 burpees

Burpees burn calories and build muscle mass.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Slowly squat bringing the hands in front of the body.
Step 3: Lower hands to floor and bring legs back to plank position.
Step 4: Jump the legs forward to return to the squat position.
Step 5: get up.

A beginner can start with two sets of burpees, each consisting of 10 to 15 repetitions. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds after each set.

Other tips for a flat stomach

To have a flat stomach, a person must reduce their total fat mass. Here are a few tips.

– Practice regular physical activity

A low level of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with weight gain. According to a 2020 study, getting more than 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week can counteract weight gain.

– Do resistance exercises

Weightlifting and other forms of resistance training are great ways to burn calories and build muscle. Plus, intense weightlifting continues to burn fat after the workout. Health and fitness experts call this the “afterburn effect.” Resistance training reduces muscle loss associated with calorie reduction, while reducing fat mass.

– Maintain a healthy diet

Anyone looking to reduce their total body fat should opt for healthier foods, such as those high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. It is also important to reduce sugar consumption, because the body converts excess glucose into fat.

– Stay hydrated

Drinking water can promote feelings of fullness, which can help reduce overeating at mealtimes. It also prevents water retention and bloating, which can make the belly appear more prominent. Dehydration can also pass for hunger, which can lead to cravings for sugary foods.

– Get enough sleep

Studies show that poor quality sleep can have these negative health effects, among others:

  • changes in hormone levels, including those that regulate appetite and hunger.
  • metabolic changes
  • an increased risk of diabetes

Poor sleep quality makes a person hungrier and more likely to overeat.

– Reduce stress

Stress causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol. It can stimulate appetite and slow metabolism. Chronic stress can lead to persistently high cortisol levels. This can lead to increased blood sugar and an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.


To lose belly fat, you must reduce the total mass of body fat. Some exercises that can help with this include planks, bike sit-ups, and burpees. Other techniques to reduce belly fat include reducing calorie intake, staying hydrated, and improving sleep hygiene.

Many factors can affect the duration of desired weight loss. Anyone who exercises regularly tends to see and feel changes within weeks to months. But each person is different. It can be helpful to avoid comparing your own progress with that of others.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.