There’s a good chance that you want stronger abs so that you can prevent injuries and tackle everyday life with ease and confidence. You may also want your midsection to be slimmer so that you can fit into a favorite pair of pants that are feeling a bit too snug. At the same time, you might be interested to know that the size of your waistline can impact your overall health. For instance, being a little bulky around the belly and having too much visceral fat can increase your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. With this in mind, you’ll want to check out the following exercises for a smaller waist from the head coach and founder of Weight Loss Made Practical Matt Claes, kuudose celeb trainer Joey Thurman CES CPT FNS, and Expert Fitness LLC. personal trainer Nathan Lloyd. These are moves trainers swear by, so check them out below. And next up, don’t miss The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Even if running isn’t your favorite form of physical activity, Claes points out it’s one of the most stellar exercises for a smaller waist. “This is because of the high-calorie burn you get in such a small amount of time,” he explains.
If you’re not an experienced runner, you can gradually add it to your workout routine by “starting with short intervals of 5 minutes of running with enough rest in between [or] 10 minutes or more if needed.” Claes says, “If this goes well without any pain, you can slowly increase speed, distance, and time from training session to training session.”
Claes also mentions that when you start running regularly, you should let your body rest for a minimum of 48 hours between runs. (This does not apply to more experienced runners.)
If you’re really not into running, Claes suggests rowing. “This type of low-impact exercise will generally be more suited than running for individuals who are carrying around a few extra pounds and/or are new to exercise,” he says. “The risk of any joint issues is a lot lower in rowing because there aren’t any jumps involved.”
As for the kind of results you might see if you start working rowing exercises into your routine, Claes says that it torches an impressive amount of calories in a short amount of time. Thurman’s also a fan of rowing, noting, “Rowing motions such as a cable row from different angles, bent-over row, TRX row, or dumbbell rows all hit the back muscles to a certain extent. Getting a better back will help your posture, add muscle tissue, and give the illusion of a smaller waist.”
To correctly perform Cable Rows, Thurman instructs, “Take a seat on a cable row machine with your hands facing one another either with a handle where both hands can grab or two cable handles.” From there, he continues, “Sit upright with your shoulders in line with your hips and tighten up your abs by simply drawing in your belly button. Pull your elbows back thinking about retracting your shoulders as you pull back so that the elbows end up close to your side pockets. Take a pause at the end and control slowly back to the start point and repeat.”
While you should aim to perform rowing exercises twice a week, Thurman says 3 sets is an ideal goal for beginners, while those who are more experienced may want to shoot for 5 sets. As for reps, Thurman notes that while “reps can be anywhere from 5 to 20,” you might also want to consider “going to the point of form failure or where you can’t do 1 to 2 more reps or reps in reserve.” Beyond that, he explains, “People get caught up in reps and don’t focus on form and going close to failure.”
The last of these exercises for a smaller waist is the Bicycle Crunch. Lloyd says this move targets all of your ab muscles, so get ready to feel the burn!
After laying a mat down on the floor to make sure you’re comfortable, Lloyd instructs, “Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. [Put your hands behind your head,] bring your right knee up to your chest, and twist your torso so that your left elbow touches your right knee. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side.” Continue to switch sides until you’ve completed 20 to 30 reps total.