If you’re in your 40s and trying to shrink belly fat, we have just the healthy game plan for you. First off, it’s important to get in your daily steps and cardio, eat at a calorie deficit, and do strength training—with a major emphasis on the strength training part. This is because as you head into your 30s and 40s, you begin to lose muscle mass (around 3% to 5% every 10 years, to be exact), and your metabolism drops if you don’t do anything to maintain or build it up. So it’s critical to start lifting weights as early as you can and make it part of your lifestyle.
When performing strength training, I recommend choosing free weight exercises. And those free weight exercises should include compound movements—push, pull, squat, and hinge. If your main goal is to shrink belly fat, your training program should have exercises that cover all of those movements. This is because they incorporate more muscle groups, leading to recruiting more muscle fibers and you burning more calories.
Here’s a list of exercises that cover each pattern. Incorporate the following into your program, and get ready to melt belly fat. Next up, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Begin this exercise by holding a pair of dumbbells up to your shoulders. Keep your core tight, push your hips back, and squat down until your quads are parallel to the ground. Then, drive through your heels and hips to stand back up, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
For this exercise, position yourself parallel to a bench so that one hand and knee are firmly planted on the surface for balance. Grip a dumbbell with your opposite hand and your arm extended straight down toward the floor. Then, pull the dumbbell up towards your hip, squeezing your lats and upper back at the very end of the movement. Straighten your arm back down, and get a nice stretch at the bottom before performing the next rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each arm.
Grab your dumbbells, and hold them up at shoulder-width height with your palms facing toward you. As you lift the dumbbells over your head, rotate your palms and elbows out and away from you, and press the weight up in a smooth motion. Flex your shoulders at the top, then reverse the movement back to the starting position before performing another rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
To perform this movement, grab a pair of dumbbells and have them in front of you. Keeping your chest tall and knees soft, push your hips back while dragging the weights down your thigh. Once you get a nice hamstring stretch, drive your hips forward, and squeeze your glutes to finish. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.