Apron Belly: How to Get Rid of the Stomach Sagging

apron belly

Can’t seem to get rid of the saggy abdominal fat? These strength training exercises will help you get rid of your “apron belly” and tighten your midsection.

Do you have stubborn belly fat that hangs like an apron? It’s the saggy abdominal fat that’s stubborn and often refuses to go.

There are many things that cause it but it’s fairly common to have if you’ve recently had a drastic weight loss or pregnancy.

While losing any type of belly fat isn’t easy, there are steps you can take to tighten and tone your abdominal area and get rid of the apron belly.

What Is Apron Belly?

What Is Apron Belly?

Apron belly, also known as pannus, is a condition where excess skin and fat hang over your lower belly, giving the look of an apron.

It’s quite common to see in people who’ve gone through significant weight loss or pregnancy.

Unlike other types of belly fat, an apron belly is made up of a combination of excess skin and abdominal fat. While the apron belly tends to be stubborn, there are steps you can take to reduce it and minimize its appearance of it.

The holistic approach is to combine regular strengthening and dynamic exercises with a healthy diet. In some cases, when the excess skin doesn’t retract after making lifestyle changes, other treatments like surgery may help.

As for the exercises, you need exercises that strengthen your muscles and burn calories that enable fat loss.

Here are 5 exercises you need to add to regular workouts for 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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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS
Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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