While you can’t spot-reduce belly fat, a good core and abdominal workout is essential for overall fitness.
Plus, this type of strength training will make your abdominal muscles more prominent once you shed some of that menopause belly. You can’t lose weight from specific places no matter how much you work the muscles in that area.
5 Strength Training Exercises for Your Belly
These great strength exercises will build overall lean body mass while strengthening your midsection and decreasing your menopause belly. You may be surprised to find this doesn’t include lying on a mat doing a bunch of crunches! These are all compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups to burn some serious calories, all while engaging your core.
1. Farmer’s March
The farmer’s march benefits by adding in the extra knee drive and pause on one leg, a whole heck of a lot of extra work are performed at your ankle, knee, and hip (on the standing leg) and throughout your core. Move slowly, take your time, and consider shorter steps to keep your balance.
- Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides.
- They should be heavy enough that you need to engage your core, arms, and upper and middle back muscles to hold them.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together while contracting your abs.
- Bring your left knee up as high as you can, keeping your foot flexed.
- Step forward and repeat with the right leg.
- Walk 50-100 feet forward, then turn around and walk back to complete one set.
- Do three sets to start.
2. Dumbbell Squat and Press
- Grab either a light barbell or a lightweight aerobic bar.
- Stand slightly wider than shoulder-width with your hands wide apart, almost to the ends of the bar.
- Hold the bar overhead.
- Squat down until your upper legs are parallel to the floor (or slightly lower).
- Drive through your feet to stand back up, keeping the bar overhead.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
- Aim to do three sets of this move.
While this may seem more like a lower body exercise at first glance, this is actually a killer core move. Holding the weight overhead places your center of gravity much higher, making this an intense abdominal workout. The tension in your deep core muscles is also enhanced by keeping your upper body elongated throughout the exercise.
3. Spider-Man Push-Ups
Spiderman Push-ups primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, while also engaging your core and lower body.
- Start in a plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists and legs out behind you.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight.
- As you lower and exhale, bend your elbows outward to the sides while you bend your right knee to your right elbow.
- Press back up, then repeat the push-up, but this time bring your left knee to your left elbow.
- Continue alternating sides for 10-12 reps total.
- Aim for three sets.
4. Curls to Bent Over Rows
The beauty of a bent-over row is that it works your entire back, improving your posture and reducing pain and injury. You recruit your biceps, forearms, and shoulders as well, so you get the best of both worlds working the front of your upper body.
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Curl the weights up, then lower them back down.
- Now, lean forward and bend both knees while keeping your back flat.
- Extend your arms so they are straight.
- Pull the dumbbells straight up to chest level while you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
- Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
5. Reverse Lunge With Twist
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
- Hold a five- to 10-pound medicine ball with both hands with your arms outstretched in front of you.
- Contract your abs and take a big step back with your right foot.
- Plant your foot and lower your body into a lunge.
- As you sink into the lunge, twist your torso to the left with the medicine ball still stretched out in your arms.
- Then twist back to the center as you straighten your legs.
- Bring your feet together, then step back on your left leg, twisting to the right.
- Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
These exercises are great because they are all compound movements that work multiple muscle groups — your back, legs, arms, shoulders, chest, and core are all being targeted. That means you are burning more calories, increasing lean muscle mass, and strengthening your core all at the same time! That also means bye-bye menopause belly!