We all have different goals when it comes to our mid-section, but if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that a strong core makes things like a slim waist and toned abs way more attainable. Many people think their core refers to solely their abs, and while it does relate to the muscles around your torso, the term actually extends to mean the muscles around your arms, hips, and legs, too. A strong core helps with bettering your posture, improving back pain and balance, and reducing the risk of injuries while working out. Needless to say, it's essential to build a strong core.
That's why we decided it's only fitting to share the ultimate waistline routine that does just that, hitting your abs from different angles to work every inch of your core: obliques, upper abs, and lower abs. Though these workouts are quick, they'll leave you feeling stronger and will ultimately pave the way for you to reach your fitness goals. From side planks to to touches, we tapped the Tone It Up girls to learn about their go-to core workouts. With their help, and that of fitness expert and personal trainer Nick Stellate, we're breaking down everything you need to know to master these quick and simple moves that you'll want to keep in your back pocket.
Meet the Expert
Keep scrolling for some of the best exercises to tone and sculpt your waistline.
Tones your shoulders, obliques, and entire core.
Start in a plank position, body in a straight line from head to toe, shoulders stacked directly over your wrists. In one sweeping motion, rotate your body to the right as you kick your left foot through. Open into a side-plank position, extending your right arm straight overhead. Return to plank position and repeat on the opposite side.
Do 15 reps, alternating sides.
"This move focuses on tightening the internal and external obliques—the areas that commonly host 'love handles'—and lower back," says Stellate. "You should perform this movement slowly to avoid back tightness."
Rock the Boat
Tones your obliques and hips.
Starting from boat pose, hold your dumbbell in both hands at chest level. With a long spine and core engaged, rotate the dumbbell across your body to the right, then to the left.
Do 15 seconds, alternating sides.
Stellate says that this move targets the the rectus abdominals (aka what's commonly known as washboard abs) and the serrate muscles located on the ribcage. "If your back gets tight while performing this move, put the dumbbell down, widen your legs, and lean forward to stretch out the lower back," he suggests.
Side Plank and Oblique Twist
Tones your obliques and shoulders.
Start in a side-plank position with your right forearm planted firmly on the ground and your left hand holding a dumbbell on the ground in front of you. For extra stability, you can stagger your legs, placing your top foot just in front of the bottom. Engaging your core and keeping the dumbbell as close to your body as possible, raise your left arm straight overhead. With control, lower the dumbbell back down and twist directly under your torso. Return back to starting position.
Do 15 reps on each side.
"This move focuses on tightening and strengthening the obliques, lower back, and shoulders," says Stellate. "Make sure to hold the dumbbell in a comfortable position to avoid putting any strain on your wrist. If you feel your lower back getting tight, put the dumbbell down, lie on your back, and pull your knees in to your chest for a few minutes."
Tones your lower abs.
Start by lying on your back with your legs extended perpendicular to the ground and your feet flexed. Holding a dumbbell in both hands, reach your arms toward your feet as you lift your shoulders off the ground. Return to the starting position.
Do 15 reps.
"This is an excellent abdominal exercise for all age groups. Beginners may want to perform it one leg at a time to avoid lower back tightness," recommends Stellate. "For extra support, you can place the dumbbell behind your head."
Tones your entire core.
Begin lying on your back with arms and legs extended out to the sides. In one sweeping motion, peel your shoulders and legs off the ground and hug your knees into your chest, engaging your core as you come up. Slowly lower back down.
Do 15 reps.