6 exercises to get a waistline snatched to the heavens

There are many names for the oh-so-famous bulging waistline. Whether you refer to it as love handles or a muffin top, or you instead go for the more technical ‘bilateral overhangs of fat and soft tissue on the anterolateral flan’ (no? Me neither.) - most of us find ourselves in a paradox of seemingly gaining it out of nowhere and struggling to get rid of it.

Well, the good news is that there’s never been a better time to get a cinched waist now that summer is coming up and we are slowly phasing back out into society. So, in this article, we are going to break down exactly how to achieve (and how to keep) the infamous hourglass figure in no time.

The following 6 exercises are definitely not going to make you want to be friends with us whilst you do them, but trust me, you’ll be thanking us later. They focus on sculpting and toning your obliques through repetition and resistance and will help you achieve greater balance and core strength. Get ready for your summer glow-up with the perfect Instagram selfie featuring a waist cinched for the gods.

Before we jump into the exercises, remember that it’s important to strengthen your whole core and not just your obliques. If you need a refresher on which muscles constitute the core and what they do, be sure to have a look at this article.

Now if you’re ready, here’s everything you need to know about our routine designed to help you achieve the coveted cinched waist:


Jumping oblique twist

The term ‘oblique’ describes the pillar of your torso. It is an essential part of your body’s core, as you engage your obliques with every move you make, so naturally, we selected an exercise that challenges, tones and stabilises your core to get started.

Targets: obliques, lower back, abs, calves

  • Stand with your feet together
  • Lift your arms to your shoulder height
  • Bring your fingertips to touch across your chest
  • Jump off of the ground
  • Rotate your feet to the right/left
  • Repeat this exercise for 45 seconds

Bonus tip: Try adding this exercise to your daily routine for boosted results

woman doing a jumping oblique twist on the right side

woman doing a jumping oblique twist mid jump

woman doing a jumping oblique twist on the left side

Traditionally used in martial arts to strengthen your core muscles, this exercise will help you improve your posture. It will also help tone your core and calve muscles. And of course, it will get your heart rate up for the following exercises.

Bicycle crunches

Your obliques are divided into two sections, also known as your internal and external obliques. They work together to stabilize your body and help you balance throughout your day-to-day. If you are looking for a more defined and stronger core, this exercise is definitely one for the books.

Targets: external obliques, internal obliques, lower abdominal muscles

  • Lie down flat on your back
  • Place your arms behind your head
  • Bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle
  • Twist your left elbow towards your right knee
  • Extend your left leg as you do so
  • Return to the starting position
  • Alternate sides
  • Aim for 10 reps on each side

Bonus tip: Twist your torso on each rep for best results

woman doing a bicycle crunch with right elbow touching left knee

woman doing a bicycle crunch with left elbow touching right knee

Be aware of your posture during this exercise and try not to hold onto your head too much, as this can lead to a strained neck. Try not to drop your neck as you come up. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine throughout the entirety of this exercise and take your time with each rep. Focus on your breathing and make each move count to be on the way to your dream waist.

Cross crunches

This is the one for you if you are aiming for that ‘pulled in by the waist’ look! The cross crunch or crossover crunch may be a simple exercise, but it is nonetheless one of the most effective ways to feel that burn on either side of your torso. Sure to work your obliques, this exercise also comes with many added health benefits for your spine and back.

Targets: obliques, abdominal muscles

  • Start by lying flat on your back
  • Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle
  • Place your left hand behind your head
  • Bring your right foot across your left knee
  • Bring your left elbow towards your knee
  • Exhale and keep your core engaged
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat for 10 reps on each side

Bonus tip: Carefully lift your upper back off the floor to best engage your abs during this exercise

woman doing a crossover crunch with right elbow touching left knee

woman doing a crossover crunch with left elbow touching right knee

For best results, make sure to keep your spine neutral and be sure to focus on engaging your core during this exercise. Be careful not to yank up your neck as you lift your body and try not to be too focused on crunching higher than you need to. A good way to avoid neck strain is by picturing a tennis ball under your chin as you lift up and down.

Heel touches

Let’s move onto heel touches next. A simple, yet effective oblique workout that requires no prior knowledge and can be added to any tail-end of your usual fitness routine. Combine this beginner-friendly floor exercise with weights after mastering this version to really pack a big punch!

Targets: obliques, abdominal muscles

  • Lie down flat on your back
  • Bend your knees to a 45-degree angle
  • Be sure to keep your feet flat on the ground & your arms to your sides
  • Slightly lift your head off the floor, looking towards your feet
  • Alternately reach for your left and right heels with your fingertips
  • Complete for 30 reps

Bonus tip: Carefully lift your upper back off the floor to best engage your abs during this exercise

woman doing heel touches touching left fingers to left heel

woman doing heel touches touching right fingers to right heel

Make sure to keep your obliques engaged as you lift up and be careful not to strain your neck during this exercise. As always, focus on your breathing and aim for controlled movements over a rushed run-through.

Side plank leg lift

From yoga, pilates, to HiiT; a side plank is part of all types of exercise classes. With this clever variation of a traditional plank, you can work your legs, abs, arms and oblique muscles all in one go and say goodbye to those love handles in no time.

Targets: obliques, abs, arms, legs

  • Lie down on your side
  • Lift your upper body by leaning on your left elbow
  • Bring your right leg on top of your left leg
  • Centre your hips by engaging your core
  • Lift up your right leg whilst keeping your foot flexed
  • Return to starting position
  • Complete for 10 reps on each side

woman in a side plank position

woman in a side plank position with leg lift

During this intensive exercise, you will want to focus on your form more than the number of repetitions you can complete. Be sure not to raise your hips or butt too high and watch out for a strained neck by ensuring you don’t unnecessarily lift or extend your neck muscles.

Standing oblique crunch

Let’s finish this workout session upright with standing oblique crunches, also known as side crunches. This deceptively simple exercise will sculpt your side ab wall (when done correctly) and can be performed wherever you might find yourself due to not requiring a whole lot of space!

Targets: obliques, abs, hips

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend your knees slightly & place your hands behind your head
  • Bring up one of your legs, shifting your weight to the opposite leg
  • Crunch to the side, touching your knee with your elbow
  • Engage your core and lower your leg back to standing position
  • Alternate sides and repeat for 15 reps on either side

Bonus tip: Try adding some dumbbells or a kettlebell to this exercise to crank it up a notch

woman in the starting position for standing oblique crunch

woman doing a standing oblique crunch on the right side

woman doing a standing oblique crunch on the left side

This exercise puts less strain on your back and spine and is therefore ideal for anyone suffering from lower back pain. Be sure to maintain a straight back during the entirety of this workout and focus on your breathing.

Wrapping Up

Here we go. That wasn’t too bad, eh? These 6 simple yet effective exercises will get your obliques sculpted and help you achieve that cinched waist when done regularly. Of course, this workout like all others needs to be paired with a balanced diet and plenty of time to rest. Other than giving you that instagrammable physique, this workout routine is great for your back, spine, posture and balance and you will be thanking yourself for committing to it in the long run.

Why don’t you mix up your workout routine with some of our other exercises designed to tone and strengthen your core? Check out our cushioned exercise mat for some additional support and comfort whilst pushing through these floor exercises and you will reach your fitness goals in no time.