If you’re in the gym trying to achieve a slim waist with ripped abs, you’re probably doing a lot of ab exercises thinking they will help.

However, training the abs too much can actually result in a thicker, more muscular waist.

I’ll provide you with training tips for your abs so that you can develop them without increasing your waist size.

Does Working Out Obliques Make You Wider?

Developed oblique muscles will give the waist a wider and boxier look. Being located on the side of your abs, they are responsible for contributing to the wideness of the waist. By not using heavy weight when training the obliques, you can ensure that you are keeping the waist as slim as possible. Diet and exercise selection also plays a major role.

What Are The Obliques

The obliques are a set of two muscles, the internal and external obliques. They are responsible for trunk flexion and rotation. The external is the thickest and runs from the lower ribs to just below your chest. The internal run similarly but are located underneath the external.

They are found on the side of your abs. When the obliques contract, it works together with the rectus abdominis and internal obliques to flex the trunk forward. This movement also contributes to breathing.

Your obliques are used when turning your trunk quickly. Swinging a gold club, tennis racket, or baseball bat all use the obliques a great deal.

Well trained obliques provides benefits such as a stronger core, giving your chest and hip muscles a large appearance, and also improving posture by keeping your waist tight.

How To Train Without Getting Wider

Training your obliques can contribute to a wider waist. If you goal is to have a slim waist, you may want to skip training them directly.

However, they are still important for a strong and balanced core. They also will help make you stronger in big compound lifts.

It’s important to note that genetics will play a big role in how wide your obliques are and what they look like. The type of training you do can also impact them though.

Body weight exercises may be better for keeping a toned and slim waistline. This is because using heavier weights can build bulky obliques.

Side planks are a great way to do so.

Start by lying on your side with your knees bent and prop your upper body up with by leaning on your elbow and arm.

Your feet should be together and your forearm should be directly below your shoulder. To begin the movement, contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from your head to feet.

Hold the position for a couple seconds before going back down. Don’t forget to switch sides. You should be balancing on the side of your bottom foot and make sure that you are squeezing your abs throughout the movement.

Try to keep your head and neck straight to prevent any strain on them.

Many people mistakenly train their abs and oblique muscles a lot thinking that this will slim and tone their waist. When the reality is training the muscle can just give the waist more of a wide look.

If your main reason for working out is to slim your waist, this may be frightening. As long as you aren’t using heavy weights to train the obliques and are eating in a calorie deficit, you will be losing size from your waistline.

The lying leg raise is another great option for keeping the core strong and tight without increasing the size of your waist.

Lie on your back with your feet together and hands out to your sides. Lift your legs up while keeping them straight, before slowly returning to the bottom of the movement.

Don’t let your legs touch the floor to keep maximum tension on the abdominal muscles. Consider the hanging version for more of a challenge. See an in depth difference between the two leg raises variations here.

Good news. Compound exercises such as the squat and deadlifts don’t activate the rectus abdominis and obliques to a high degree, so they are still safe to do while keeping a slimmer waist.

How To Slim The Waist

Eating a healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables, fibers, vitamin D, and probiotics is the best plan for achieving a slim waist.

Refined carbohydrates, sugars, and processed foods should be avoided whenever possible. This will allow you to not put on a lot of fat, which will sit around your waistline.

Eating in a calorie deficit will ensure that you are losing body fat and not gaining any excess fat in the waist area. Also consider adding in cardio to burn extra body fat.

Rather than eating processed foods, try consuming healthy fats such as fish, avocados, and nuts as they are better for your heart and easier for your body to digest.

Watching your sodium intake will also help. Salt causes the body to retain water, which can be held in the waist area.

Swapping out your daily coffee for a tea is a great way to improve circulation throughout the body and help boost your metabolism, which will burn more fat.

Walking or running every day will accelerate fat loss and can also speed up digestion. Plus, if you are doing it outside it will increase vitamin D intake.

Waistline progress can be measured with a tape measure or by monitoring waist size for pants. Note that this isn’t the best method. That is because waist size will take a longer time to shrink and may cause you to get discouraged.

As long as you are taking the necessary steps such as eating less and working out, you can be sure that it is working.

Also take note that there is no such thing as spot trimming. No matter how much you train the obliques or ab muscles, if there is a layer of body fat on top, you will not see them or lose any weight.

Healthy eating habits and cardio must be implemented to slim down the waist.

What To Avoid If You Want A Slim Waist

Avoid performing weighted side bends if you don’t want the size of your waist to increase. They directly target the oblique and are a great way to overload them.

However, if a slim waist is your goal then this is not what you want. This exercise will cause the obliques to get thicker and wider, creating the appearance of a wider waist. Many women may not want this if they prefer a slimmer waist.

Also, avoid weighted crunches or sit ups. Or really any weighted ab workouts for that matter, if your goal is to have a slim waist.

Weighted ab workout will cause the abdominal muscles to grow bigger and blocker, which may give the appearance of a wider waist.

Again, avoiding processed fatty foods will prevent you from holding fat is your waistline.

Reduce alcohol intake as it provides a lot of empty calories. Or consider drinking less sugary and calorie dense options.


As long as your aren’t using crazy amounts of weight in your ab exercises, your waist won’t get too wide. Diet and fat loss should be your main goals for trimming down the waist.

Consider that genetics also play a big role.

Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!

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