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FEB 1, 2024

Best Exercises to Slim Your Waistline and Tone Your Abs

Discover the Best Exercises to Slim Your Waistline and Tone Your Abs. Achieve your fitness goals with these effective workouts.

Read time: 7 minutes

For most of us looking to lose weight, it’s almost exclusively in one area. Historically, regardless of gender or age, many of us look down at our midriff and feel it could be better. And whether that’s to slip into your favorite pair of jeans or just cut a better silhouette, it’s a perfectly normal and common goal.

But getting there isn’t always easy. It’s a careful combination of proper dieting and burning off more calories than you’re consuming. That said, targeted workouts can also help. So once you’re able to shift any excess weight, the muscles beneath will be in great shape.

Key Exercises to Slim Your Waistline

So if a toned, slender waist can be achieved through a combination of exercises and proper nutrition, what are some of the key exercises that can help slim down your waist by toning the abdominal muscles?

Abdominal Crunch Variations

Exercises focusing on your core are essential for toning your abs and slimming your waistline. And fitness professionals recommend combining both resistance training and cardio to achieve optimal results.

Waist-Targeting Cardio: Twists and Squats

Abdominal crunches are among the most popular exercises for creating a stronger core and slimmer waist. And different variations of crunches can be performed to target specific areas better. Here are three effective variations:

  1. Bicycle Crunches - Lie on your back with knees bent and feet lifted off the floor. Your hands should be behind your head. Alternate touching your elbow to the opposite knee while extending the other leg straight, like pedaling a bicycle. The twisting motion helps engage more muscle fibers in the obliques.

  2. Reverse Crunches - Lie flat on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet lifted off the ground. Lift hips off the mat and bring knees towards the chest with an exhale while keeping shoulders on the mat. Inhale and lower back down to the starting position.

  3. Vertical Leg Crunches - Start by lying flat on your back, raise both legs together, keeping them straight; use your abs to lift your head, neck & shoulder blades off the ground, trying to touch your toes as you contract deeper into your abdominals.

Tip: Combine these crunch variations with oblique twists for a full ab workout routine

It's important to note that these exercises alone won't reduce belly fat or instantly shrink your waist size. For maximum results, a holistic and diverse routine of exercises is required.

All about Planks

The plank is an important and often underrated exercise in any fitness program due to its massive benefits on overall stability and strengthening of the abdominal muscles, among other muscle groups. The primary focus of planks is endurance training for core muscles rather than targeting specific areas like love handles or muffin tops.

You can modify basic planks to target different zones of the midsection. Some variations include:

  • Side plank: This focuses primarily on obliques, and it entails supporting oneself with one arm while resting feet on top of each other and holding the position for 10-20 seconds.

  • Plank jacks: These are cardio-intensive variations of planks that help burn calories while targeting core areas simultaneously. Get into a high plank position, engage your abs, keep your hips leveled throughout the exercise, and jump both feet apart as you would during jumping jacks.

  • Hip dips: Begin in a low plank position, with elbows resting on the ground and toes and forearms propped up. Twist your hip to one side so your hip hits the ground concerned. Alternate between sides for optimal results.

While core exercises such as planking can be challenging initially, adding them gradually to workout routines will help you on your way to achieving that figure you’re after.

Weighted Workouts for the Waistline



Russian Twist

Sit down, holding onto a medicine ball (optional). Lift your feet off the ground and lean back slightly. With your abs engaged, twist your torso to touch the ground beside you with the medicine ball or clasp your hands together. Repeat this 20 times for each set for optimal results.

Squat Jumps

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Begin with a regular squat with your abs engaged, then jump up as explosively as possible. Upon landing, lower back into the squat position and repeat the process five times for four sets each workout session.


Russian twists and squat jumps offer a fantastic way to incorporate weights or body weight in cardio-based routines that target the waistline. Not only do these exercises improve balance and stability, but they also encourage calorie burning.

Integrating Resistance and Flexibility in Routine

While incorporating abdominal-focused workouts into your routine is beneficial, achieving optimal results also requires implementing resistance and flexibility training.

  • Integrating both elements into your workout regimen will

    • Strengthen your core

    • Improve overall body posture

    • Decrease the risk of injury.

  • Resistance training involves using weights or other types of resistance to challenge and engage the muscles further. Regular practice will increase muscle mass, burn fat, and enhance metabolism long after the workout.

  • On the other hand, flexibility and stretching exercises aim to loosen up stiff muscles and joints while improving mobility. A flexible body decreases stress, improves posture, reduces pain, and enhances coordination and balance.

Effective weighted exercises work by stimulating muscle fibers around the targeted area. Here are some moves to incorporate into your routine:

  1. Hip bridge with abduction - Lay on your back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place a weight plate across your lap. While engaging your glutes, raise your hips off the floor while extending one leg outward before closing it back in slowly.

  2. Plie squats - Hold a dumbbell at shoulder level with elbows bent outwards while keeping feet wider than hip-width apart. Squat downwards by shifting weight from heels while maintaining an upright position.

  3. Shifting lateral lunge - Stand with feet more substantial than shoulder-width apart while targeting the sides of the waist area by leaning down to one side.

  4. Neutral grip dumbbell bent over rows - Holding dumbbells at arm's length while keeping a neutral grip, push the upper body forward at a 45-degree angle while pulling weights towards mid-sternum.

  5. Butt kicks - While standing up and maintaining an upright posture, lift heels towards the glutes repeatedly. Take it one step further by holding weights on both hands while performing this action.

  6. Bear crawls - On all fours, alternating between moving the opposite arm and leg forward for a set distance or time with resistance bands tied around your waist.

  7. Jumping jacks - Do them initially without any added weight, and increase the intensity by holding dumbbells or weighted plates while performing jumping jacks.

These exercises can help achieve a slimmer waistline through regular practice. As you gradually progress in your fitness routine, increasing the weights will further challenge and engage your muscles.

Importance of Flexibility and Stretching

  • A toned waistline isn't just about getting rid of excess fat and toning muscles. While some exercises primarily target the abdominal muscles, incorporating flexibility and stretching movements lets you increase your range of motion while helping to prevent injury.

  • Lack of flexibility can cause a strain on the muscle tissue responsible for aligning your spine and posture. Practicing yoga or taking short breaks throughout the day to stretch can significantly impact your waistline goals.

  • Incorporate simple exercises like side bends, seated twists, and pelvic tilts that engage different core muscles and allow them to lengthen and contract during the workout.

Diet Recommendations for a Slimmer Waist

If it wasn’t clear already, let’s say it again: a well-toned waist is only achievable through consistent exercise routines and proper nutrition. So, the food choices you make on a daily basis significantly impacts your goal.

  • Consuming whole foods over processed ones is vital for maintaining healthy calorie levels.

  • Moderating salt intake helps reduce bloating caused by water retention, providing an illusion of a narrower waistline.

  • Proper hydration decreases constipation, aids digestion, and curbs unnecessary calorie intake from sugary drinks, leaving you feeling fuller.

  • Including nutrient-dense foods such as leafy greens, protein-rich nuts and seeds, and complex carbohydrates like legumes and oats provide the body with additional fiber that slows digestion when incorporated into meals.

  • Having much-needed nutrients energizes you during workouts and supports muscle recovery after exercising.

  • Furthermore, it's essential to practice mindful eating instead of mindless consumption habits driven by stress or boredom since overeating can sabotage any progress made during exercise routines.

Essential pointers to keep in mind

  • First, don't skip meals.

  • Steering clear of breakfast or any other meal could increase overall calorie intake and negatively affect waistline progress.

  • Second, balance your macro and micronutrient consumption based on individual weight loss goals and daily caloric expenditure.

  • Finally, limit alcohol consumption as it adds empty calories to your diet while dehydrating the body.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.

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