8 Exercises to Shrink Your Waistline

Losing weight and getting fit can be a real challenge. Keep reading to discover 8 exercises to shrink your waistline.
8 Exercises to Shrink Your Waistline

Written by Daniela Andarcia

Last update: 05 May, 2023

It can be a real challenge to shrink your waistline, especially for those who accumulate fat in the abdominal area. If we add to this that you spend several hours a day in a chair and don’t do any type of exercise, you probably think that getting rid of these annoying rolls is an impossible mission.

However, this turns out to be just a myth. Discipline, exercise, hydration, and a good diet are the perfect equation if you want to shrink your waistline. At the same time, you’ll be healthier by reducing the risk of diabetes or heart disease related to the diameter of the waist.

How to burn fat in the waist and abdomen?

Putting a healthy lifestyle into practice is key to shaping your waist and achieving a toned core. The good news is that these habit changes can be made progressively.

Start by replacing foods that contain refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, soft drinks, candy bars, and chips, with healthier vegetables, fruits, and beverages in your diet. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, refined carbohydrates are associated with health problems such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Staying well hydrated during the day is essential when it comes to reducing belly fat. And this is crucial if you want to see significant results in your waist. In addition to what has been said, you must incorporate an exercise routine focused on these areas of the body.

These localized exercise routines to shape the waist and tone the belly should be complemented with warm-up, cardio, and aerobics. There’s scientific evidence that you can’t reduce belly fat with abdominal exercises alone, so you must work the body as a whole.

A woman measuring her waistline.
The reduction of the abdominal circumference affects metabolic and cardiovascular risk.

1. Touch your ankles inside and out

This is usually an ideal routine for beginners, as you’ll be lying on the floor. You should perform 3 sets of 5 five repetitions, with 30-second breaks between each one.

Start by lying on the floor with your legs suspended and bent at a 90-degree angle. While in that position, lift your torso off the ground and lean towards your legs.

At that point, try to touch the inside of your ankles. Having achieved the objective, return to the starting position and repeat the movement, but this time, try to touch the outside of your ankles. Repeat until you complete the series.

2. Side plank

Use a mat and get into a side plank position, that is, on your side with your forearm resting on the mat and in line with your shoulder. Bring your feet together, keep your torso off the ground, and make sure you maintain the correct posture.

Being in the described position, raise your free arm towards the sky. Then, take it to the ground and rest the same forearm next to the forearm of your other arm. This will help you alternate and bring raise each side toward the sky. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

3. Movement with a bar

For this exercise, you’ll need a metal or wooden bar, preferably hollow or light. With both hands a short distance from each end of the bar, lean your torso to one side, then the other.

Make sure not to move your shoulders or legs as you perform the movement. At all times, keep your core tight. If you do this exercise in front of the mirror, you can perfect the movement and improve the results.

4. Twist of the trunk

This is one of the simplest movements, but it’s very effective. It consists of stretching the sides of the trunk imitating the movement of trying to reach an object on a high shelf. A study published in the Revista Iberoamericana de Fisioterapia y Kinesiología showed that this well-executed movement serves to avoid muscle contractures.

Repeat leaning to the sides, standing, or sitting in a chair. The important thing is to do it several times a day. Another variant that you could try is to extend your arms toward the ground as if you were going to pick something up, but without bending your legs.

5. Leg raises

While standing and wearing comfortable clothing, raise the leg of your choice and take it as far as you can in the direction of your chest. In unison, bend your arms to a 90-degree angle, making sure your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling.

Now, when you raise your legs, you should try to touch the opposite elbow with the knee. Once the goal is achieved, repeat with the opposite limbs. You should carry out 4 series of 5 repetitions with their respective rest.

6. Cross climber

On a mat, lie on your stomach and position your arms as if you were going to perform push-ups. Being in that position, make sure that your body is aligned.

Then, take the leg of your choice forward towards the opposite arm, as if you were trying to touch it, and, with a quick movement, take it back. Repeat alternating legs. Do 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg to start.

7. Trunk movement

Putting your trunk in motion is very useful when it comes to reducing waist measurements. In addition to being very fun, you’ll be able to remember moments from your childhood when you played with a hula hoop.

It’s okay if you don’t have one. You can emulate the movement by rotating your hips in a circular way. Remember to keep your belly tight at all times. We recommend performing 30 repetitions or more in both directions.

Woman dances hula hoop.
Hula hooping is useful if you want to shrink your waistline, but it can be done without the device.

8. Plank with a race

Locate your elevated body parallel to the ground, taking only the palms of your hands and the balls of your feet as a point of support. Remember to extend your arms and make sure your body is aligned.

From this position, move your knees toward your elbows rhythmically and continuously, emulating the movement that occurs when you climb or run. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions with 30-second breaks.

Other disciplines and effective activities to shrink your waistline

If doing repetitive exercises isn’t your thing, try practicing some of these 4 effective activities or disciplines to shrink your waistline.

1. Supervised yoga

According to a study published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, yoga reduces waist circumference and abdominal fat. Its effectiveness is due not only to the calories you burn when practicing it but also because it controls stress, one of the factors associated with being overweight.

2. Belly dance

Without a doubt, belly dance should be included in this list, because although it’s not an exercise per se, its effectiveness in shaping the waist is undeniable. The focus of this dance is the movement of the belly and the hips, which contributes to a molded and toned waist.

3. Boxing

Sports such as fitness boxing and boxing involve effective hip and trunk movements to shape the waist in short periods. At the same time, it helps you improve physical resistance, as well as tone other areas of the body.

4. Jumping

To shrink your waistline, you must include cardio exercises. This will help you get rid of the most problematic fat: That in the abdomen and the waist. Jumping rope, for example, allows you to activate the burning of calories and, for the more adventurous, there’s jumping on the trampoline.

Put in the work if you want to shrink your waistline

If you want to achieve a smaller waistline, you should start by planning your meals and exercise routines. Incorporate some of the aforementioned exercises into your regular training and perform them two to three times a week. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with healthy, low-sugar drinks, such as teas, infusions, natural juices, and, most importantly, water.

  • Yu, D., Shu, X. O., Li, H., Xiang, Y. B., Yang, G., Gao, Y. T., Zheng, W., & Zhang, X. (2013). Dietary carbohydrates, refined grains, glycemic load, and risk of coronary heart disease in Chinese adults. American journal of epidemiology178(10), 1542–1549. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwt178
  • Vispute, S. S., Smith, J. D., LeCheminant, J. D., & Hurley, K. S. (2011). The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. Journal of strength and conditioning research25(9), 2559–2564. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb4a46
  • Calle Fuentes, P., Muñoz-Cruzado, M., Barba, Y., Catalán Matamoros, C., & Fuentes Hervías, M. T. (2006). Los efectos de los estiramientos musculares: ¿qué sabemos realmente? Revista Iberoamericana de Fisioterapia y Kinesiología. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1138-6045(06)73113-6
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