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The 6 Best Strength Exercises to "Cinch" Your Waist

Slim down your waist, and accentuate your curves.

A slim and slender waistline is a coveted aspect of the classic hourglass figure. If your goal is to achieve a narrow waist and accentuate your curves in all the right places, we have some expert-approved moves that'll help you do just that. Tyler Read, the founder of and a personal trainer who has been involved in the health and fitness world for the past 15 years, offers up six of the best strength exercises to "cinch" your waist.

In order to sculpt a cinched waist, you need to melt fat by consuming fewer calories than you torch, says Read. He adds, "Additionally, more muscle mass at the hips gives your waist a smaller appearance by comparison. The muscle building will increase your resting metabolic rate, which makes it easier to maintain the calorie deficit you need to burn fat. The compound exercises themselves burn calories, which [also] helps with the deficit. Finally, core-specific exercises add more definition to the area by targeting core-specific muscles." When combined together, these factors make strength training an excellent and incredibly productive approach to getting a slim waist when compared to cardio.

The below strength exercises provide a killer combination of the following: sculpting lower-body muscle from the compound lower-body motions, a tightened and toned waistline due to muscle-building in the core, and lastly, an overall calorie burn. Keep reading to learn about Read's six strength exercises to cinch your waist. And when you're finished, be sure to check out the 7 Exercises That Hit & Tone Your Belly at Every Single Angle.


woman doing forearm plank at the gym

To set up for planks, situate yourself on a workout mat by placing your hands shoulder-width apart and coming onto the balls of your feet. Lower down to your forearms so that your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Activate your core, squeeze your glutes, and maintain a straight body as you hold this position. Make sure your back doesn't dip!

Russian Twists

woman doing russian twists with medicine ball

For Russian twists, you'll begin by sitting on a workout mat with both knees bent and your feet lifted. Lean back slightly so your upper body forms a 45-degree angle with the floor. Keep your arms out in front of you or your hands clasped together. (You can also incorporate added weight like a medicine ball or weight plate.) Activate your abs as you alternate twisting to your left side, then back to the center, then to your right side, and back to the center.

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Side Planks

fitness woman doing planks during her at-home workouts

Side planks start with you placing your left forearm on the ground to serve as support. Make sure your palm faces down. Stack your feet. Activate your core in order to push your hips off the floor. Your body should make a straight line from your head all the way down to your feet. Remain in this position before repeating the same motion on the opposite side.


woman doing walking or forward lunges

Lunges have plenty of variations from reverse lunges to lateral lunges, but let's go with the forward lunge. To begin, plant your feet shoulder-width distance apart, and take a big stride forward with one leg. Bend your knees as you descend into a lunge, all while maintaining a straight upper body. Make sure your front knee doesn't travel beyond your toes. Then, press through your front heel in order to rise back up. Bring your back leg forward in order to repeat the same movement on your other side.

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woman doing bodyweight squats

To perform bodyweight squats, plant your feet shoulder-width distance apart. (You can also opt for a narrow stance by placing your feet hip-width distance apart.) Extend your arms in front of you, or keep them at your sides. Next, bend both knees, and hinge your hips back as if you're sitting back on an invisible chair. Descend into a squat until your thighs reach a parallel position to the ground or lower. Then, press through both feet in order to stand up.


woman doing dumbbell deadlifts at gym

Last but not least on Read's list of the best strength exercises to cinch your waist is the deadlift. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, and, using an overhand grip, hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Maintain a tight core, and hinge your hips back as the dumbbells lower down your thighs and toward the ground. Press through both feet in order to return to the start position.

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