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7 Easy Ab Exercises to Strip Away Belly Flab Before 40

Define your core with these seamless moves.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

If you've hit your 30s with stubborn belly flab, you are not alone. Many people struggle with the slow accumulation of fat across the tummy area—especially as they approach their 40s. While targeting fat in this area can be challenging, stripping away belly fat is very possible through a combination of healthy eating to maintain a caloric deficit and the right ab exercises to target all the muscles in your core. Today, I'm sharing seven quick and easy ab exercises to melt belly flab before 40.

Far from a generic "hundreds of sit-ups" style workout, ab routines for a truly defined core that stands out among fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike require hitting your core from all the different angles and movement patterns to make sure each muscle gets worked. The following are my seven favorite quick and easy ab exercises to melt belly fat before 40. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, then move toward the next exercise. Aim to repeat three rounds of the workout at least twice per week as part of your fitness routine.

Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches are a fantastic way to target not only the rectus abdominis, but also the obliques, giving you a complete abdominal workout. This dynamic motion requires coordination and stability, ensuring that you're working on the muscles while also building up core stability.

This exercise works your rectus abdominis and obliques. To perform a bicycle crunch, lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head and your elbows flared out. Raise your legs and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Rotate your upper body, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee while straightening the left leg. Switch sides, bringing your right elbow to your left knee. Repeat for the target time.

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woman doing planks exercise

The plank strengthens your deep core muscles, providing foundational support for your spine, which can help improve posture and reduce the risk of back problems. This exercise helps target the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

To perform a plank, start in a forearm plank position with your elbows under your shoulders and your legs extended straight. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Engage your core, ensuring your lower back doesn't sag. Hold this position, maintaining tightness throughout your body. Hold for the target time.

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Leg Raises

lying leg raise exercise to melt lower belly fat

Leg raises effectively target the lower abdominal region, an area often missed in many traditional exercises. This exercise focuses on the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.

To perform leg raises, lie flat on your back with your legs fully extended and your arms at your sides or under your hips for support. Keeping your legs straight, lift them up to a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower your legs back down without letting them touch the ground. Squeeze the end range for about one second. Repeat for the target time.

Russian Twists

Russian twists

Next up on this list of easy ab exercises to melt belly fat is the Russian twist. Russian twists help improve rotational strength and power, vital for athletic movements and daily activities. This exercise works your obliques and rectus abdominis.

To perform a Russian twist, sit on the ground, leaning back slightly with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold a weight or object with both hands in front of you. Rotate your torso to the left, bringing the weight beside you. Return to the center, then rotate to the right. Repeat for the target time.

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Side Planks

side plank illustration

Side planks are crucial for developing stability in the lateral muscles of the core, ensuring balanced strength. This exercise works your obliques, transverse abdominis, and quadratus lumborum.

To perform a side plank, lie on your left side, propped up on your left elbow with your elbow under your shoulder. Stack your feet on top of each other, and lift your hips off the ground. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position, engaging your core and obliques. Hold for the target time, then switch sides.

Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers exercise, concept of exercises to melt belly fat for beginners

Mountain climbers are not only great for the core but also add a cardiovascular component. This exercise targets your rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.

To perform mountain climbers, begin in a pushup plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Engage your core, and maintain a neutral spine. Drive your left knee toward your chest without letting it touch the ground. Quickly switch, driving your right knee toward your chest. Repeat for the target time.

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Flutter Kicks

flutter kicks

The last of these easy ab exercises to melt belly fat is the flutter kick. Flutter kicks are a stellar lower abdominal exercise that also works the hip flexors, increasing core endurance. This exercise hits your rectus abdominis and hip flexors.

To perform flutter kicks, lie flat on your back with your hands under your hips or by your sides. Raise your legs a few inches off the ground, keeping them straight. Alternately kick your feet up and down in a fluttering motion. Engage your core, and ensure your lower back remains in contact with the ground. Repeat for the target time.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler