For people over 30—and women in particular—getting a more cinched waist is a common fitness goal. As you age, you may notice a greater accumulation of fat or rolls around your waistline, even if the number on the scale isn’t going up. According to the Mayo Clinic, this could be the result of decreased estrogen, as estrogen plays a role in determining where fat is distributed throughout your body. So, what’s the solution? Well, Luke Elion, a NASM-certified physical trainer who specializes in strength training, HIIT, powerlifting, and hypertrophy, explains that strength training is an excellent way to gradually strip away excess belly fat while maintaining lean muscle. Your workout routine is about to get a necessary update, as Elion shares five of the best strength exercises for a lean waist after 30.
“With a little bit of hard work and consistency, [these exercises] will help you build a lean and strong waistline,” Elion tells us. Below, you’ll find Elion’s top-recommended strength exercises for a lean waist after 30. He recommends performing two to three sets of 30-second intervals for each exercise, noting, “Start slow, work hard, and stay healthy!”
Keep reading to learn more, and when you’re finished, don’t miss The Best Core Workouts for Flatter Abs After 40.
“This exercise is done with a cable and is amazing for core strength and stability, helping to earn you a lean waist,” Elion explains.
Make sure the cable is set to the height of your chest and you’re using a light weight to begin with. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart. With both hands holding onto the cable’s handle—and your body positioned perpendicular to it—pull the cable toward your chest with extended arms. Hold it there or press it for an extra core burn.
Next up, we have the core wood chop. You can perform this move immediately after the Pallof press, as it also utilizes a cable with resistance.
Begin by setting the cable at about shin level, and grab onto the handle with both hands. Aim to bring the cable from the start position up and across your body to the opposite shoulder. Then, reverse the movement.
The cable crunch is another stellar strength movement for your waist and core. “For this exercise, you kneel on the ground with a cable high above your head,” Elion explains. “A rope attachment is preferred for this exercise. Start with light weight, and please do this with caution. If you do it wrong, hurting your back is possible. If done right with due diligence and proper form, it will feel like a weighted crunch and put stress on your abdominal muscles or six-pack.”
To begin, kneel on the floor, and lower the cable rope attachment until your hands are next to the sides of your face. Allow the weight to create an arch in your back. Make sure your hips remain still as you contract your core and crunch down until your elbows are by your thighs. Hold the bottom of the movement before lifting to the position you started in.
“The leg lift may sound boring, but when done right, it will provide you with a strong, lean lower abdomen,” Elion tells us.
His favorite way of performing this exercise is in the captain’s chair at the gym. Your knees should be bent to 90 degrees. Engage your core, and raise your legs as close to your chest as you’re able to. “If your pelvis isn’t tucking up toward you, it will bother your lower back and almost only use your hip flexors instead of your abdomen muscles,” Elion explains.
Finally, we have decline crunches. Start by situating yourself on a decline bench. Lie down, and position your feet under the rolls of the bench. Place your hands at the sides of your head, and crunch your torso up toward your legs. Make sure your lower back stays pressed to the bench. If this exercise is too easy, feel free to hold a weight plate that fits your current skill level.