Struggling to shed that stubborn saggy abdominal fat? These strength training exercises are designed to target your ‘apron belly’ and firm up your midsection.

Do you find yourself grappling with persistent belly fat that hangs like an apron? It’s a common issue, particularly after significant weight loss or pregnancy.

While eliminating belly fat is no easy feat, there are actionable steps you can take to tighten and tone your abdominal area, bidding farewell to the apron belly for good.

What Is Apron Belly?

Apron Belly

“Apron belly, also known as pannus, is a condition characterized by excess skin and fat that hangs over the lower abdomen, resembling an apron.

This phenomenon is commonly observed in individuals who have undergone significant weight loss or pregnancy.

Unlike other types of belly fat, an apron belly consists of both excess skin and abdominal fat. While it can be stubborn, there are steps you can take to reduce it and minimize its appearance.

A holistic approach involves combining regular strength training and dynamic exercises with a healthy diet. In cases where excess skin does not retract despite lifestyle changes, surgical treatments may be considered.

When it comes to exercises, focus on strengthening your muscles and burning calories to facilitate fat loss. Here are five exercises to incorporate into your regular workout routine to target apron belly.

1. Dumbbell Front Squats

Dumbbell Front Squats

Squats are an amazing exercise that can help the body in myriad ways. The front squat variation also helps to incorporate some shoulder work, and the nature of this squat kicks your quads into overdrive.

How to Perform:

  • Start standing, holding one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your elbows and place the dumbbells on the front of your shoulders, resting them there, if possible, with your hands supporting them.
  • Squat down as deeply as you can without your back collapsing forward or your heels coming off of the ground.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range, stand back up to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps for 3 sets per session, 2 sessions per week.

2. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

Rows are a foundational movement in resistance training. This exercise works the biceps and back to a high degree. 

This option is a nice alternative to the previous exercise for those who find the other position too uncomfortable. 

How to Perform:

  • Start standing, with one dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend forward at your waist, keeping your back flat. 
  • Pull both weights up toward your chest by bending your elbows and pinching your shoulder blades together.
  • Return the weights to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-15 reps per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

3. Dumbbell Wood Chops

Wood Chops

Wood chops are great for athletes whose sports require rotation. For instance, golfers, tennis players, and many others can benefit from this move. It’s an awesome exercise for building core power and strength.

How to Perform:

  • Grab one dumbbell with both hands.
  • Twist toward your right and bend your knees so that you can bring the weight close to your right foot.
  • Next, twist toward your left as you simultaneously push the weight toward the ceiling. 
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps per side, per set, for 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

4. Dumbbell Double Arm Swings

Dumbbell Double Arm Swings

The kettlebell swing is an amazing exercise for virtually every muscle in the body. Luckily, you don’t even have to have a kettlebell to complete this move; a dumbbell works just fine!

How to Perform:

  • Grasp the top of the dumbbell with both hands, keeping your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Using your glutes and hamstrings to power the movement, swing the weight forward.
  • Once you’ve got it to about waist height, allow the weight to swing back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions per set, 3 sets per session, and 2 sessions per week.

5. Russian Twist

Russian Twist

It’s unclear when this move became extremely popular. Many people point to the scene in Rocky IV in which the Russian opponent, played by Dolph Lundgren, is seen performing the movement. 

At any rate, the Russian twist is an excellent exercise for strengthening the obliques.

How to Perform:

  • Start in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Lean your trunk backward until you feel your abdominal muscles engage.
  • Then, with or without a weight in your hands, twist your trunk from side to side, aiming to tap the ground on every rep.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per side for 3-5 sets per session.

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