Can Squats Really Help Burn Belly Fat?

If you're looking for workouts that reduce belly fat, make sure to add squats to your list—find out how squats boost hormones and help burn belly fat.

Anju Mobin - Writer for Trim Down Club
By Anju Mobin
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Trim Down Club
Reviewed by Nevena Radulović

Updated November 30, 2022.

Despite all claims, no exercise selectively burns fat from your midsection. However, if you're looking for workouts that help reduce belly fat faster, make sure to add squats to your list.

Increasing your calorie burn contributes to belly fat loss, and squats are a great way to burn excess body fat and build muscle at the same time. If you're consistent with your exercise, you'll develop great strength in the muscle groups involved, including building lean muscle mass. The more muscles you have, the more your body burns fat, even when at rest.

» Find out if the One and Done Workout helps burn belly fat

How Do Squats Help Burn Belly Fat?

Squats contribute to burning belly fat via 3 different mechanisms:

Burning Calories

Squats are a strength training exercise that requires a lot of effort, which means it burns a significant amount of calories. The more squats you do, the higher the calorie burn. However, the calories from your food are burned before your fat reserves are used, so it's vital to control your calorie intake and modify it to promote fat blocking in addition to fat burning.

Releasing Hormones

The growth hormone and testosterone both increase after doing squats. These increase your afterburn, meaning your body continues to burn calories even after your workout.

As quad-dominant movements, squats also stimulate the release of irisin from the muscles, which helps convert white fat cells to brown ones. Brown fat cells burn fat, while the white ones store it.

Activating Afterburn

Large muscle groups such as quads and glutes stimulate more irisin release compared to smaller muscle movements. Irisin significantly raises the afterburn, boosting your metabolism. The more intense your workout is, the more irisin is released, and your body continues to burn calories after the workout for up to 48 hours or even 72 hours.

How Can You Optimize Your Squats?

Squats are fairly static exercises. You can optimize your squats to burn even more calories by combining them with weights or an aerobic routine. Try out different squat styles to target specific muscle groups. Use dumbbells or even better, kettlebells. Vary the range of sets and reps and switch between heavy and light weights.

» See whether a cold stomach means you're burning fat

Add Squats to Your Workout to Burn Belly Fat

Squats can really help you burn belly fat. They effectively increase your metabolic rate and help burn more calories for a longer period of time. They also strengthen and condition muscles and promote the release of hormones that further aid fat burning.

However, squats alone won't do much if you don't reduce your calorie intake accordingly. Eat smart rather than going on starvation diets, and make sure to execute your squats properly to avoid injury. If you feel any pain or discomfort while performing squats, make sure to consult your trainer or a medical professional.

» Make squats part of your belly-burning routine with the One and Done Workout

Can't find what you're looking for?