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6 Simple Exercises to Shrink Your Waistline After 40

A trainer reveals his top exercises for clients who struggle with melting fat in their midsections.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

It's no secret that after 40, keeping the weight off your midsection becomes a challenging endeavor. While many people try long hours of cardio, crash diets, and other unreliable weight loss methods, the truth is, the right exercise program and a sustainable lifestyle that puts you in a caloric deficit are the time-proven methods that can help you lose weight and keep it off for good. The following moves are my top choices to assign clients who struggle with melting fat in their middle. So if you want to shrink your waistline after 40, check out the below six simple exercises.

These exercises include a combination of core and compound movements to tone your abs, build muscle, and burn calories, all contributing to the loss of fat around the midsection. Perform each exercise for three sets of 15 repetitions, or 30-second holds for isometric exercises. Keep reading to learn more about the best exercises to shrink your waistline after 40, and next, don't miss The #1 Weekly Workout You Need for Faster Abdominal Fat Loss.


illustration of how to do the bird dog exercise

The bird-dog is a crucial exercise for core stability and balance. It also helps promote a defined midsection. Performing bird-dogs targets your abs, lower back, glutes, and shoulders.

To perform a bird-dog, start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your left arm in front of you and your right leg behind you simultaneously, maintaining a straight line from the tip of your fingers to your toes. Hold this position for a moment. Bring your elbow and knee together underneath you, squeezing the end range for about one second. Switch to the other arm and leg, and repeat. Aim to keep a stable, square hip position throughout the exercise. Repeat for the target repetitions.

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barbell back squat illustration

Squats are known as the king of exercises for a good reason. This compound movement engages numerous muscles, especially your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, resulting in more calories burned both during and after your workout.

To perform a barbell back squat, position a barbell at shoulder level on a squat rack. If available, set the safety pins just above waist level. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift the bar off the rack by straightening your torso and legs. Lower your body by bending at the knees, keeping your chest up, and maintaining a neutral spine. Rotate your left foot inward slightly as you lower your left knee for optimal biomechanics. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, push evenly through the full foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.


reverse lunges exercise

Lunges are an excellent lower-body exercise that improves balance and coordination while engaging the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

To perform a lunge, start by standing tall with your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right foot and lower your body until your right knee forms a 90-degree angle and your left knee nearly touches the ground. Rotate your left foot inward slightly as you lower your left knee for optimal biomechanics. Push evenly through the full foot of your front leg to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions, and then switch legs.

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Seated Rows

illustration of man rowing

Next up on this list of simple exercises to shrink your waistline after 40 is the seated row. The seated row is an effective exercise for developing strength in your upper back, shoulders, and arms, supporting your overall body balance and posture, which indirectly helps your waistline.

To perform a seated row, sit at a rowing machine with your feet braced and your knees slightly bent.
Grasp the handle with both hands, and sit upright. Pull the handle toward your abdomen while avoiding shrugging throughout the range of motion and visualizing crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit as you retract your shoulder blades and squeeze at the end range of motion. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat for the target repetitions.

Glute Bridges

illustration of wrong and right ways to do a glute bridge

Glute bridges primarily target your glutes and hamstrings, helping to strengthen your lower body and core. Furthermore, developed glute muscles contribute to the appearance of a tighter midsection.

To perform a glute bridge, start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your sides. Push through your full foot to lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Hold at the top of the movement for about one second, squeezing the end range. Slowly lower your body back down to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.


woman doing planks exercise

The final exercise to shrink your waistline after 40 is planks. The plank is an isometric core strength exercise that improves stability and posture. It targets not only your abs, but also your lower back and shoulders.

To perform a plank, begin in a pushup plank position with your forearms on the ground and your elbows aligned below your shoulders. Engage your core, and keep your body straight from head to heels. Keep your head relaxed, and look at the floor. Hold this position, visualizing drawing your lower rib towards your pelvis and engaging your abs. Ensure that your hips don't sag or raise too high throughout the hold. 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