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10 Exercises for a Lean & Tight Waist in Your 30s

Shrink your waistline with these expert-recommended moves.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

It's no secret that your body goes through changes as you age. Your metabolism may slow down and your hormones can act up, causing unwanted weight gain. Fortunately, we've got your back. Rose McNulty, CPT, a NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach with Garage Gym Reviews, spoke with us and shares 10 killer exercises to effectively target your abs, obliques, and deep core muscles for a toned and sculpted midsection. Put on your sneakers, and gear up for the 10 best exercises for a slim waist after 30.

"While your overall calorie intake versus calories burned is the most significant factor in revealing toned abs, plenty of exercises help strengthen and chisel your core," says McNulty. "The following exercises, in combination with overall strength training and cardiovascular exercise, are your ticket to slimming your waist and building core stability."

If you're ready to embark on a journey to a toned, firm waistline (so you can rock those crop tops and feel confident at the beach), read on to learn more. And when you're done, don't miss The Best Core Workouts for Flatter Abs After 40.

Bicycle Crunches

two women doing bicycle crunches during ab workout on floor

The bicycle crunch is a top-shelf ab exercise that mimics the bike pedaling motion to activate those core muscles. Your obliques in particular will feel a solid burn during this one.

To begin, McNulty instructs, "Lie on your back with your hands gently holding the back of your head. Bring your knees up toward your chest, then alternate bringing your right elbow to your left knee and left elbow to your right knee in a bicycling motion. As you bring your knee and elbow together, straighten and lower the opposite leg until it hovers above the floor." Aim for 15 to 20 reps per side for three sets.

Leg Raises

lying leg raise exercise to melt lower belly fat

The leg raise will activate the muscles in your lower abs, helping to tone your midsection while enhancing core stability.

To perform the exercise, McNulty explains, "Lie on your back with your hands by your sides. Lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight, until they are perpendicular to the floor and your hips form 90-degree angles. Slowly lower your legs back down without touching the ground." Complete three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

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Flutter Kicks

flutter kicks

Flutter kicks are a fantastic exercise for engaging your lower abs and boosting core strength. Plus, they're simple and can be performed anywhere.

McNulty tells us, "Lie on your back with extended legs, and lift your heels a few inches off the ground. Lift one leg and let the other hover just above the floor, then alternate, keeping your legs as straight as you can the entire time." Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps per leg.


woman doing forearm plank, concept of the best exercises for a slimmer body

This classic core exercise will fire up your entire core, so get ready to feel the burn.

"Start in a pushup position with your body in line from shoulders to ankles and your hands directly beneath your shoulders," instructs McNulty. "Lower down onto your forearms with your elbows directly under your shoulders, engage your core, and keep your hips low to maintain a straight line from shoulders to ankles." Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, and complete three rounds total.

Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers illustration

The mountain climber provides you with an effective full-body movement that will challenge your cardio abilities.

To perform them, McNulty says, "Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders, then alternate, bringing one knee toward your chest at a time. Your spine should be neutral throughout the exercise, and your movements should be quick but controlled." Perform three rounds of 30 to 60 seconds of continuous mountain climbers.

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Russian Twists

woman doing russian twist exercise

Russian twists are a next-level ab exercise that will put your core strength to the test.

"Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet elevated. Lean back slightly, and twist your torso from side to side, touching the ground on each side," says McNulty. Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 reps per side.


V-ups exercise

Next up on this list of the best exercises for a slim waist is the V-up.

"Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and arms stretched overhead," says McNulty. "With your abs engaged, lift your upper body and legs off the ground simultaneously to create a 'V' shape with your body. Slowly lower back down to the starting position." Complete three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Side Plank With Hip Dip

side plank hip dip

This unique movement effectively targets your obliques and deep core muscles.

"Start in a side plank position with your forearm on the floor and your feet stacked on each other. Lower your hips toward the ground until you reach the end of your range of motion, then lift them back up to the starting position," explains McNulty. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.

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Standing Side Crunches

standing side crunch with dumbbell

Standing side crunches are a convenient and straightforward exercise for targeting the obliques and cinching your waistline. You can incorporate added weight such as a dumbbell for an additional challenge.

"Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and place your hands behind your head. Bend to one side, bringing your elbow toward your hip. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side." If working with a dumbbell, keep one hand behind your head and extend the other arm at your side while holding the weight. Lower the weight down the side of your leg toward your knee. Aim for 10 to 15 reps per side for three sets.

Alternating Toe Touches

Alternating toe touches are another dynamic movement that targets your entire abdominal area.

To execute these, McNulty says, "Lie on a mat with your back on the floor, legs extended, and arms stretched overhead. Lift your upper body off the ground, and reach your right hand toward your left foot while lifting your left leg toward your right hand. Lower back down, and repeat on the other side." Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps per side.

Adam Meyer, RHN
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam