Let’s be honest: We all have that one area on our body we wish we could change. And for many of us, it’s the extra padding around our midsection. According to a 2017 study, 91% of Americans have too much body fat. Fortunately, we have some good news—the quest for a flatter stomach is within your reach. The solution? Combining fat-burning workouts with a well-balanced diet. To learn more, we chatted with Kyrie Furr, CPT, a certified personal trainer and performance coach with Barbend, who serves up her four top-ranked workouts to deflate your belly bounce once and for all.
“As people get older, it’s common to see an increase of belly fat build-up, especially around the midsection. This often happens because your muscle mass decreases and fat increases as you age,” explains Furr. “And the best way to decrease ‘belly bounce’ is by doing aerobic exercise with some strength training.”
Read on for Furr’s recommended workouts, then check out these 7 Easy Ab Exercises to Strip Away Belly Flab Before 40.
Daily Cardio Workouts
Cardio exercises are a surefire way to kickstart your metabolism and melt stubborn belly fat. “Add about 20 to 30 minutes of cardio to your daily routine,” suggests Furr. “You want to increase your Total Daily Exercise Expenditure (TDEE). TDEE estimates how many calories you burn daily, including exercise. Examples include running, walking, cycling, rowing, fitness classes, and swimming.”
Give the following running workout a try. Start with a 10-minute warm-up walk at a brisk pace. Gradually increase your speed until you’re jogging. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of alternating high and low intensity—for instance, one minute of sprinting followed by two minutes of walking. Finish with a 10-minute cooldown, gradually reducing your pace.
Full-Body Strength Workout
Strength training not only builds muscle, but according to research, it also boosts your resting metabolic rate. To reduce your belly bounce, focus on compound movements, like deadlifts, squats, lunges, bent-over rows, and chest presses. Your goal should be to complete three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps of the following movements:
Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips or holding dumbbells at your sides. Step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Ensure your front knee is directly above your ankle and your other knee hovers just above the ground. Press your right heel into the floor, and push off to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side for one rep.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Keeping your back straight and your chest up, bend your knees, and push your hips back like you’re about to sit on a chair. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Press through your heels to return to the starting position.
3. Bicep Curls
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended down and your palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows close to your torso, curl the weights to your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position.
4. Tricep Extensions
Hold a dumbbell with both hands, and lift it overhead, arms fully extended. Bend your elbows while keeping your upper arms close to your ears, lowering the dumbbell behind your head. Straighten your arms to lift the dumbbell back overhead.
5. Overhead Presses
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbells to shoulder height, palms facing forward. Press the weights up until your arms are fully extended overhead. Slowly lower the weights back to shoulder height.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or pair of dumbbells in front of you with an overhand grip. Hinge at your hips to lower the weights toward the ground. Keep a slight bend in your knees, back flat, and chest up. When you feel a stretch in the hamstrings, reverse the movement by driving your hips forward and returning to the starting position.
No equipment? No problem! Bodyweight exercises can be just as effective as weighted workouts when done right.
“Bodyweight movements can be added in as an interval style of workout. Do three to five sets of 30 seconds of work with 15 to 30 seconds of rest between sets,” instructs Furr.
Start in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the ground while keeping your body aligned from head to toe. Once your chest almost touches the ground, push yourself back to the starting position.
2. Air Squats
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees, push your hips back, and lower yourself as if you’re about to sit in a chair. Return to the starting position by pressing through your heels.
3. Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump your feet out while raising your arms above your head. Immediately jump back to the starting position.
4. Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position. Drive one knee toward your chest without letting your foot touch the ground. Return it to the plank position, and quickly switch to the other leg. “It’s like ‘running’ in a plank position,” says Furr.
Start in a standing position. Drop into a squat position, and place your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, and perform a pushup. Jump your feet back toward your hands. Explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms overhead.
6. Skater Jumps
Begin in a slight squat position. Jump to the right side, landing on your right foot and crossing your left foot behind your right ankle while swinging your arms to the right. Push off your right foot, and jump to the left, switching legs and arms in mid-air, mimicking the movement of a speed skater.
Your core involves more than your abs. It’s the control center of your entire body. “Abdominal movements are essential to building a stronger midsection. Perform three or four sets of 15 to 20 reps for these core exercises,” says Furr.
1. Dead Bugs
Lie flat on your back with your arms extended straight toward the ceiling. Keep your legs raised and your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Simultaneously extend your right arm behind you and your left leg out in front, keeping both just off the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side (left arm and right leg). Ensure your lower back stays in contact with the ground throughout the movement.
Start in a pushup position, but rest on your forearms instead of your hands. Ensure your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Tighten your core, and hold the position without letting your hips drop or rise.
3. Leg Lifts
Lie flat on your back with your legs extended out and your arms at your sides, palms down. Engage your core, and lift your legs to a 90-degree angle, keeping them straight. Slowly lower them without letting them touch the ground.
4. Bicycle Twists
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows out, and legs lifted with knees bent at 90 degrees. Bring your right elbow toward your left knee while extending your right leg straight out. Switch sides, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee while extending your left leg out. Continue alternating in a pedaling motion.
5. Toe Touches
Lie on your back with your legs lifted straight toward the ceiling and your arms reaching up. Engage your core, and crunch up, attempting to touch your toes with your fingertips. Lower back down, and repeat, ensuring you’re lifting with your core and not straining your neck.
6. Reverse Planks
Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your arms resting at your sides. Place your palms on the ground behind you, fingers pointing towards your feet. Engage your core, and lift your hips off the ground, pressing through your palms and heels, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position, ensuring your hips don’t sag. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight throughout the hold. Lower back to the starting position.