Skip to content

4 Dumbbell Exercises To Get a Tapered Waist

Achieve a toned, sculpted look by adding these exercises to your routine.

If you're looking to tone your waistline, you've come to the right place. All you need is a pair of free weights and some solid resistance exercises to shrink and tone your waist. We reached out to Caley Crawford, NASM-CPT and director of training and experience for Row House, and are here with four dumbbell exercises for a tapered waist. So grab your weights, and let's get started!

Don't underestimate how effective using free weights and resistance can be when it comes to getting your waistline into shape. Crawford tells Eat This, Not That!, "Building muscle will allow your body to burn fat faster. Additionally, you need muscle to get that 'toned, sculpted' look. You can't JUST do cardio."

The following exercises will put your entire body to work and were chosen specifically to build strong muscles in addition to offering solid cardio. These compound movements will give your heart and body an excellent workout. You will also torch more calories much more efficiently. Crawford notes, "The breathing is important as well. Activate your breath to engage your abs more fully. The transverse abdominis is key in trimming your waistline specifically."

Add the below exercises to your workout to sculpt and tone your waist. You will see improvements in no time with consistency! Keep reading for Crawford's four dumbbell exercises for a tapered waist, and next, be sure to read The #1 Standing Ab Workout for a Visibly Toned Six-Pack.

1. Thrusters

The thruster is a total-body exercise that activates all of your major muscle groups. "The bigger the muscles working, the harder the body has to work, the more burn you get," Crawford explains. "[The] core is activated the whole time as well which will have a direct impact on toning of the midsection of your body."

To perform this exercise, hold a dumbbell in each hand at just above shoulder height. Plant your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Then, activate your abs, and press your hips back as you descend into a squat. Your hips should go lower than your knees. Press your feet into the ground as you quickly rise back up to standing, pushing the dumbbells overhead. Then, lower the dumbbells to just above shoulder height, and repeat.

2. Reverse Lunges + Twist

goblet split squat lunge

The reverse lunge and twist exercise is a total-body movement that will help your body burn more calories. To get started, hold a dumbbell in a "goblet" position at your heart's center. Then, complete a reverse lunge by stepping one foot behind you, bending both knees, and descending into a lunge. Next, twist in the direction of your front leg. This will target your core and legs, as well as provide your biceps with some isometric work. Make sure to exhale when you twist in order to engage your transverse abdominals. "Activate it with [your] breath as [you] activate it with the twist. That is THE muscle you need to get working to impact your waistline," Crawford says.

The Only 7 Belly Fat Exercises Worth Doing at the Gym

3. Turkish Sit-ups

Crawford prefers the Turkish sit-up to traditional sit-ups because it calls for a totally different level of core activation and stabilization. To begin, you'll lie back with one leg bent and the other fully extended. One of your arms should also be extended above you while holding a dumbbell. Keep the other arm by your side. Next, using your elbow as support, rise into a "sit-up." Keep the dumbbell pushed toward the ceiling so it comes over your head. Note that there should be minimal to no movement with your arms during this motion. "The dumbbell is always pressing up to the sky," Crawford stresses. "This makes it really challenging on the core."

7 Best Exercises for a Tapered Waist

4. Flutter Kicks + a Dumbbell Press-up

The last of the dumbbell exercises for a tapered waist is the flutter kick with a dumbbell press-up. This move requires holding a heavy dumbbell above your chest while performing flutter kicks. The added weight will help activate your upper body while your core is all fired up. "[The] most important thing here is your breathing and your lower back pressing against the ground," Crawford explains. "Make the kicks bigger if you feel your low back come off the ground. Shallow quick breaths focusing on abdominal engagement on the exhales."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
Filed Under