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Strength training with dumbbells is an effective way to build metabolically active muscle tissue. Unlike fat, muscle requires constant energy to repair and maintain itself, which means the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. This extra calorie burn can go a long way to help decrease body fat, especially that found in the belly. Dumbbell exercises should be performed two to three days per week to lose belly fat.
Upper Body Exercises
Upper body dumbbell exercises that work your arms, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles can help you lose belly fat. The shoulder press targets your arms, shoulders and back. Sit or stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with your elbows bent. Contract your belly muscles, straighten your back and press the dumbbells overhead by extending your elbows. Carefully lower back to the starting position. Weighted crunches use dumbbells to isolate your belly. Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended overhead. Keeping the weights in the air, contract your belly muscles to "crunch" upward until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Pause at the top of the movement then carefully lower back to the floor.
Lower Body Exercises
Lower body dumbbell exercises are a very efficient way to lose belly fat because they work the largest muscle groups of the body such as the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. The squat is an effective exercise for developing the glutes and quads. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended at your sides and take a shoulder-width stance with your legs. Pull your belly in, straighten your back, look straight ahead and flex your hips and knees to lower into a squat. Continue down until your thighs reach horizontal then press through your heels to return to the standing position. Walking dumbbell lunges will tax your hips, legs and cardiovascular system. Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand. Stabilize your belly, stiffen your torso then take a large step forward with your right leg. Lunge into your right leg by flexing your knee and hip. Continue down until your right thigh reaches horizontal and your left knee nears the floor. Press through your right heel to return to the standing position then lunge forward with your left leg. Continue to alternate legs until you've completed the desired number of repetitions.
Combination exercises give you the most bang for your buck by allowing you to work your upper body in conjunction with your lower body. By combining exercises, you can get a full-body workout in half the time and still burn just as many calories. For example, combine a squat with an overhead press, also known as a thruster. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder-level with your elbows bent then complete a squat. As you perform the upward phase of the squat, use the momentum from your hips to get the dumbbells moving in an upward direction then extend your arms to finish out the shoulder press. Lower the weights back to your shoulders and immediately lower back into a squat to repeat the exercise.
While dumbbell exercises are generally categorized as an anaerobic activity, they can also be used to work your body in an aerobic fashion and burn more fat. By moving from one exercise to the next with little to no rest, you'll tap into the oxidative fat-burning energy system. Rather than using stored glycogen from the muscles and liver, this system actually uses oxygen to break down fat including your unwanted belly fat. Utilize this system to lose even more belly fat by performing one exercise after another. For example, perform 10 squats then immediately perform 10 overhead presses followed by 10 lunges and 10 weighted crunches. Then repeat the cycle two to three times, moving as quickly as you safely can.