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5 Best Strength Workouts To Shrink Your 'Apron Belly'

Trim lower belly fat with a trainer's best strength workouts.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

An apron belly, also known as lower belly fat, is an incredibly stubborn area for many of my clients. This type of excess belly fat can occur due to substantial weight loss, after pregnancy, or during menopause. While spot reduction is not entirely possible, incorporating targeted strength workouts can help tone and strengthen the muscles in that area, leading to a slimmer appearance and greater belly fat loss. Here are five effective strength workouts for your apron belly I highly recommend, each accompanied by two to three exercises with detailed steps, sets, and reps.

Incorporating these workouts into your fitness routine will provide a comprehensive approach to slimming down your apron belly. As always, listen to your body, maintain proper form, drink plenty of water, and stay consistent for the best results.

Keep reading to learn all about the best strength workouts for your apron belly. And when you're finished, be sure to check out The 13 Best Exercises To Lose Belly Fat & Slow Aging.

Workout #1: Plank Variations—Core Stability Builder

These strength workouts for your apron belly kick off with a routine that's all about planks. Planks are renowned for their ability to engage the entire core, including the muscles responsible for maintaining a flat belly. By incorporating plank variations, you can intensify the workout and challenge your core muscles in different ways.

1. Front Planks


Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground. Engage your core, keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Complete three sets, 30 to 60 seconds each.

2. Side Planks

side plank

Lie on your side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Lift your hips, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. Perform three sets, 30 seconds per side.

3. Planks with Leg Lifts

illustration of plank leg raise, floor exercises to change your body shape after 40

Begin in a plank position. Lift one leg off the ground while maintaining a stable core. Lower the leg, and repeat on the other side. Perform three sets, 12 to 15 lifts per leg.

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Workout #2: Russian Twists—Oblique Sculptor

Russian twists target the oblique muscles, helping to shape and define the sides of your waist. This workout not only contributes to a slimmer appearance but also enhances overall core strength.

1. Basic Russian Twists

Sit on the floor, leaning back slightly while keeping your back straight. Hold your hands together in front of you, or bring them to each side. Twist your torso to one side, then to the other. Perform three sets of 20 twists (10 per side).

2. Weighted Russian Twists

kettlebell russian twist

Hold a dumbbell or any weighted object in your hands. Perform the same twisting motion, engaging your obliques. Perform three sets of 15 twists (per side) with weight.

3. Russian Twists with Leg Lift

illustration of how to do the russian twist core-strengthening exercise

Combine the twisting motion with your legs lifted. Perform three sets of 12 twists (six per side) with leg raises.

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Workout #3: Bicycle Crunches—Full Abdominal Engagement

Bicycle crunches are an excellent workout for targeting both the upper and lower abdominal muscles. The twisting motion involved engages multiple muscle groups, making it an effective exercise for slimming down the apron belly.

1. Basic Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Lie on your back with hands behind your head. Bring one knee toward your chest while twisting your torso to touch the opposite elbow. Repeat on the other side. Perform three sets of 20 crunches (10 per side).

2. Bicycle Crunches with Leg Extensions

Perform classic bicycle crunches, but once you reach the proper side crunch position, perform a leg extension with your bent leg. Then, lower it, and perform the same motion on the opposite side. Complete three sets of 15 crunches (per side) with leg extensions.

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Workout #4: Leg Raises—Lower Abdominal Toner

Leg raises primarily target the lower abdominal muscles, helping to tone and strengthen the area beneath the belly button. This workout effectively reduces the appearance of the apron belly by focusing on the lower part of the core.

1. Basic Leg Raises

leg raise

Lie flat on your back with your hands by your sides. Lift your legs toward the ceiling, keeping them straight. Lower your legs back down without touching the ground. Perform three sets of 15 leg raises.

2. Flutter Kicks

flutter kicks

Lie down flat on your back with your legs extended. Lift one leg while lowering the other, alternating in a fluttering motion. Complete three sets of 30-second flutter kicks.

3. Criss Cross Kicks

Lie on your back with your legs extended. Lift both legs off the ground, and crisscross them. Perform three sets of 20 scissor kicks.

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Workout #5: Mountain Climbers—Dynamic Full-Body Engagement

Mountain climbers are a dynamic full-body workout that engages the core, shoulders, and legs. This exercise promotes calorie burning and overall fat loss, contributing to a slimmer appearance, including the apron belly area.

1. Basic Mountain Climbers

mountain climber

Start in a plank position. Bring one knee toward the chest, alternating between legs in a running motion. Perform three sets of 30-second mountain climbers.

2. Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

Perform the same motion, but aim to touch your opposite elbow with each knee. Complete three sets of 20 mountain climbers (10 per side).

3. Mountain Climber with Twist

Bring your knee toward the opposite elbow, and twist your torso. Return to plank position, and alternate sides. Perform three sets of 15 mountain climbers with a twist.

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