Exercises to lose belly fat

Over 40? Get Rid of the Harmful Abdominal Fat With These 5 Critical Exercises

Fight off harmful belly fat with these effective 3 exercises.

Losing weight is not easy, and anyone who tells you differently is flat-out lying.

It takes hard work, dedication, and discipline to lose belly fat. However, with the right tools in hand, anyone can burn fat in this area.

In order to accomplish your weight loss goals, you need to achieve a caloric deficit. 

This basically means eating fewer calories than you use to power your workouts and movements throughout the day. While that may be simple in theory, it’s much more complicated in practice.

Of course, there are many other factors that affect weight loss as well. For instance, you need to minimize your stress and ensure that you get enough sleep every night (1). 

With that being said, the focus of this article will be on some of the best abdominal strengthening exercises you can use to increase the definition of your abdominal muscles (2). 

By performing these movements regularly, and implementing all of the aforementioned weight loss strategies, you can develop toned, strong abs.

Now, let’s take a look at the top 5 abdominal strengthening exercises!

1. Reverse Sit Ups

Reverse Sit Ups

The classic sit-up is a perfectly acceptable abdominal exercise. However, the reverse crunch tends to provide more of a challenge for most exercisers. 

This move requires some serious control and coordination throughout the core muscles and the lower body. So don’t be discouraged if you can’t perfect it right away!

How to Perform

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Next, tuck both knees to your chest, then push your heels up toward the ceiling, raising your hips and low back off of the ground.
  • Slowly lower back down to the starting position and repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps per set, 3-4 times per week.

2. Supine Bicycles

Supine Bicycles

Riding a bike is terrific exercise for your legs and your cardiovascular system. But when you perform the bicycle motion while lying on your back, you can achieve a terrific ab workout!

How to Perform

  • Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet resting on the floor.
  • Tuck your right knee toward your chest as you kick your left leg out in front of you.
  • As you do this, rotate your trunk so that your left elbow comes close to your right knee.
  • Then, reverse all of the above positions, bringing your left knee toward your right elbow.
  • Complete 3 sets of 15 reps per set, 3-4 times per week.

Many of the exercises that focus on abdominal strengthening will emphasize the rectus abdominis, also known as the 6-pack muscle.

But there are a few other key muscles that make up the core that also bear consideration.

3. Side Plank Lifts

Side Plank Lifts

For instance, the obliques are an equally important muscle group to emphasize. Side plank lifts are one of the best ways of getting this body region stronger and more defined.

How to Perform

  • Start by lying on your left side, with your left forearm tucked underneath you and your right foot stacked on top of your left.
  • Then, lift your hips up toward the ceiling by contracting your oblique muscles.
  • To complete the movement, slowly and carefully lower your hips back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 12-15 reps per set, 3-4 times per week.

4. Pushups with Hand Release

Pushups with Hand Release
Image Credit // julielohre.com

Of all the bodyweight exercises available, pushups may be the best choice for the upper body. 

Adding in a hand release activates more muscles throughout the shoulders and core, increasing the difficulty of this great exercise.

How to Perform

  • Place your hands and feet on the floor, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet spaced about hip-width apart.
  • Slowly lower your chest down to the floor.
  • Once your chest has come in contact with the ground, release your hands from the ground and raise them up toward the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for one second, then return the hands to the ground and perform a pushup.
  • Continue to repeat this pattern for 3 sets of 10-20 reps per set, 3-4 times per week.

5. Abdominal Figure 8’s

Movements involving the legs work the abs to a high degree. These exercises force the abs to stabilize the trunk, leading to increased strength and definition throughout this region.

How to Perform

  • Sit on the floor with both hands on the ground behind you, supporting your spine.
  • Next, keep the knees as straight as you can and lift both feet off the floor.
  • Draw a figure 8 shape in the air and repeat for 10-12 reps in each direction, for 3 sets per session, 3-4 times per week.


Losing weight and belly fat is no easy task. However, if you have excess belly fat, burning this tissue can go a long way toward improving your health.

There are tons of factors that affect weight loss, and exercise is an important one. By performing the above exercises regularly, you can put yourself in the best position to burn fat and achieve the abs of your dreams.

Works Cited

  1. Kline, C. E., Chasens, E. R., Bizhanova, Z., Sereika, S. M., Buysse, D. J., Imes, C. C., Kariuki, J. K., Mendez, D. D., Cajita, M. I., Rathbun, S. L., & Burke, L. E. (2021). The association between sleep health and weight change during a 12-month behavioral weight loss intervention. International journal of obesity (2005)45(3), 639–649. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-020-00728-8
  2. Fidale, T. M., Borges, F. F. R., Roever, L., Souza, G. D. C., Gonçalves, A., Chacur, E. P., Pimenta, C., Haddad, E. G., Agostini, G. G., Gregório, F. C., Guimarães, F. C. R., Arantes, F. J., Santos, L. A. D., Pereira, A. A., Antunes, H. K. M., Puga, G. M., & Lizardo, F. B. (2018). Eletromyography of abdominal muscles in different physical exercises: An update protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine97(17), e0395. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000010395

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