May 28, 2023

Core Waist Exercises

No corset required.

You might have seen videos and social media posts promoting waist training devices to trim belly fat and achieve a flatter stomach. These devices—which wrap tightly around the waist and lower ribs—promise to coach your body to shed inches off your midsection. But, if they seem too good to be true, that's because they are. If you're looking for a legit way to strengthen your waist, try this six-movement core waist training exercise routine.

The following series of six exercise movements comprise one set. Repeat the six-movement sequence below three times, resting for one minute between sets.

In reality, there's no such thing as a quick way to "tighten" your core. And when people think "tighten," they usually mean "strengthen." It takes work, time, and a bit of sweat. Core exercises work when you prevent undue movement along your spine and pelvis as an exercise force is placed on your body—known as engaging your core.

These core strengthening exercises are important. According to research, having a strong core can prevent you from injuring your lower back. And training your core can also improve your balance and stability.

Be patient with yourself as you begin this series. Being consistent with these exercises can help strengthen your core and get you the waist goals you desire.

Position yourself into a side plank position on your left forearm with your feet either stacked or staggered. Place your right hand behind your head and keep it there while you try to bring your elbow toward the floor. Be sure to tighten your oblique muscles during this motion. Oblique muscles run down the side of your waist and abdomen and connect the ribs to the pelvis. Raise back to starting position.

Repeat the movement for 15 repetitions and then switch sides.

Lie on your back, your feet flat on the ground, and your arms by your sides. Crunch up by raising your chest towards the ceiling. Engage your abs. From here, reach—slide—for your right heel with your right hand. Then reach—slide—for your left heel with your left hand. Keep your abs engaged throughout the movements, and avoid leaning up.

Continue alternating right and left side reaches for 15 repetitions per side.

Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms over your head. From here, bring your right arm and left leg up towards each other using your abs, and touch your foot. Then, come to starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg.

Continue alternating sides until you've completed 15 repetitions on each side.

Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms over your head. Move both arms and legs towards each other, so they meet above your waist. Squeeze your abs as you slowly lower down to the floor in a controlled movement.

Repeat for a total of 15 repetitions.

If this is too difficult, you can try knee hugs. For this variation, do the same movement, except with bent knees.

Start by kneeling on your left leg with your right leg straight to the side. Place your left arm on the floor and your right arm behind your head. From here, crunch your oblique muscles by bringing your right knee towards your right elbow. Control the movement and keep the muscles engaged.

Repeat for 15 repetitions, then switch sides for another 15 repetitions.

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your feet raised. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Start the movement by bringing your right elbow towards your left knee and straightening—pushing the pedal—with your right leg. Hold for one second, then alternate to the other leg-elbow combination.

Continue alternating between the left and right sides for 15 repetitions per side.

Even though there isn't a quick way to tighten your core, some exercises can help you achieve the same results. Bicycle crunches, knee hugs, and heel grabbers are just some of the many exercises that can help strengthen your ab muscles.

De Blaiser C, Roosen P, Willems T, Danneels L, Bossche LV, De Ridder R. Is core stability a risk factor for lower extremity injuries in an athletic population? A systematic review. Phys Ther Sport. 2018 Mar;30:48-56.

Barrio ED, Ramirez-Campillo R, Garcia de Alcaraz Serrano A, RaquelHernandez-García R. Effects of core training on dynamic balance stability: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences. Published online August 17, 2022:1-9.