Top 4 Ab Exercises for a Tight Toned Tummy

Looking to get a tight toned tummy? These exercises are some of my absolute favorites to do the trick.

I must first be clear that no amount of ab exercises can get rid of belly fat without the proper nutrition for your energy needs. But if you are lean these are some of the exercises that will tighten and tone up your waist.

We’ll go over the details of how to do each exercise here but I do recommend you use them in conjunction with a full body fat loss program for best results.

To add this Tight Toned Tummy Workout to your routine, use it at the beginning or end of your regular strength training workouts OR on your rest days. This should take you no longer than 10-12 minutes to complete, and you can do it up to 5x per week.

You may follow the recommended number of reps given for each exercise, but also listen to your body and what it can handle. If you are just starting out you can do just half of the reps and work your way up to more.

If you have a very strong core you are welcome to double the reps or do as many as needed to feel the effects. Your core work should be personalized, focused and based on what you are feeling.

Here are the 4 exercises and how to do them:

All Fours Tummy Vacuum

Tummy Vacuum Exercise

Tummy Vacuum’s are amazing for slimming the waist. The goal here is to pull your belly up and contract the core muscles against gravity. By doing this you are training your waist to be slimmer and tighter and creating muscle memory for your belly to pull in towards your spine.

This exercise looks a lot like “cat/cow” but the emphasis is much more on the “cat” position and the contraction of the belly muscles.

To start, get in an all fours position with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders.

Relax your belly and form a natural (not over emphasized) curve in your lower back. Take a deep breath in.

Next, forcefully exhale the air out of your tummy at the same time as rounding your spine as much as possible. Think “angry cat”.

Keep your neck in a neutral position by looking down at the ground between your hands.

Tighten your waist as much as possible and make sure you’ve blown as much air as you can. On the inhale return to the relaxed all fours position.

It should feel like hard and fast forceful contractions, with slow and steady relaxations.

The pace should be like this: 2 seconds to contract, 2 second hold, and at least 4 seconds to relax. Aim for each rep taking approximately 8 seconds to complete.

All Fours Tummy Vacuum’s, DO: About 8 reps that take 8 seconds each. The whole set should take you just over 1 minute.

Side Plank Crunches

Side Plank Crunches

Your obliques are an important part of your tight toned tummy because these are the muscles that run down the sides of your abdomen. Tightening up these muscles develops an hourglass shape and gives you definition, not just down the middle of your abs, but also on the sides. By doing your side crunches in a plank position you’re getting double benefit from the plank and from the crunch.

Start in a side plank position with your top hand just behind your ear and your top leg lifted about one foot above your bottom leg.

Bend the knee of the top leg bringing it in towards your top elbow and crunch down so that the two meet in the middle.

Exhale all the air out and focus on tightening the side of your torso as much as possible.

Extend your leg and elbow at the same time to feel a stretch across your top side.

Repeat focusing on the lengthening and shortening of that side of your waist.

The pace should be like this: 2 seconds to pull in & contract, 2 seconds to hold, and 2 seconds to return to the starting position. Each rep should take you about 6 seconds to complete

Side Plank Crunches, DO: 10 reps on the right, then rest about 5-10 seconds and do 10 reps on the left. The whole set of both sides should take you just over 2 minutes

Swiss Ball Crunches

Swiss Ball Crunches

I love crunches on the swiss ball mainly because it is much more comfortable on the back then doing them on the floor, but also because you’ll increase your range of motion and get more benefit from this simple exercise. When doing these properly the only place you should be feeling fatigue is in your ab muscles.

To start, lay on the swiss ball making sure that the ball is centered on your back.

You butt should be resting on the front end, and your shoulders on back end.

Plant your feet into the ground and tighten up your legs making sure you don’t shift your hip or knee position as you crunch.

Some common mistakes with beginners are to straighten and bend their knees or pull on their neck as they crunch. With proper form there should be no leg or arm movement, only flexing and extending of your torso.

The pace should be like this: 2 seconds to crunch, 1 second pause, and 2 seconds to extend back. The whole set should take you about 75 seconds.

Swiss Ball Crunches, DO: 15 reps, focusing on the contraction and tightening of your tummy.

Swiss Ball Plank Pikes

Swiss Ball Plank Pikes

Planks are absolutely the best when it comes to slimming the core because as mentioned before we are working against gravity which provides a tremendous amount of resistance. The Pike takes swiss ball planks to the next level! If you are a beginner you may just want to stick to plank holds on the ball as shown in the first photo, but if you’re ready for more give this pike movement a try.

To start, get into a plank position with your shins resting on the swiss ball.

Tighten and contract your core muscles and tense your legs as much as possible so they remain super straight throughout the movement.

Lift your hips up and roll the ball towards you until your toes are on the ball and your hips are over your shoulders.

Suck your belly muscles in and aim to round your lower back as much as you can.

Slowly return back to the starting plank, pause for 2 seconds and start again.

You should exhale each time you lift and inhale on the lowering portion.

The pace should be like this: 2-second plank hold, 2 seconds to lift, 2 seconds to hold at the top, and 2 seconds to lower. Each rep should take about 8 seconds.

Swiss Ball Plank Pikes, DO: 8 reps that take 8 seconds each. The whole set should take you just over 1 minute.

Now that you are familiar with each move and how to do them, it’s time to put it all into a complete tummy-toning workout.

Do 2 rounds of this circuit of 4 exercises resting about 15 seconds between exercises for an approximately 10-12 minute core training addition to your full body training plan.a

It doesn’t take long to tighten and tone your core when your focus is intense!

Use this add-on up to 5x per week to see your tummy tighten up over the next several weeks.

Keep in mind your results will be most noticeable when this workout is used as part of a total body fat loss program. You may not see the results you’re looking for without any attention to diet or training the rest of your body.