The 14 Best Exercises to Tighten and Tone Your Stomach and Sides

The only abs and oblique exercises you need to do to tone your stomach and sides are right here. try the 5 minute ab workout at the end.

Today you are going to learn exactly how to tone your stomach and the sides of your stomach through exercises.

Achieving a toned stomach and tighter sides is something you can easily achieve by doing the right exercises.

For a flatter tummy and tighter waist, you need to focus on developing and strengthening your entire core.

Working in what’s called different planes of motion, aka doing different types of movement around your core by doing a variety of exercises. Doing sit-ups and crunches will only work your abdominal muscles which are on the front of your torso and work to move the rib cage towards your pelvis.  

For tighter sides, you need to focus on training your oblique muscles. I know it’s weird but I love a good set of tight obliques.

The obliques are the muscles that help support your posture and help with rotational movements around the spine. They cut in from your ribs down at an angle to your abs or “tummy”. They also look good and help shape your waistline. That’s what you want right.

Look good, feel good. Win Win.

If you’ve read our abs posts then you’ll know that to get a flat stomach you do need to cut the fat from that area and to do that you need to combine a healthy diet with exercise.

You could try doing sit ups day after day but it won’t do you any good. It won’t burn the fat as much as diet and a good workout plan.

So if you really want to cut the fat and get your midsection looking on point then the quickest way to do it is to;

  1. Eat clean to get lean. Low carbs and increase the protein to get your body burning more fat.
  2. Do 30 minute HIIT 4 days a week, and if you are feeling brave add in a few cardio sessions as well.
  3. Implement these core exercises into your workouts

You can do this by trying our Free 7 Day Challenge Diet and Exercise Plan below.

The best exercises to tone your stomach and sides

The following exercises are some of the most effective that will help you achieve a flatter stomach and tighter toned sides fastest.

There are so many to choose from but these are some of my favorites that I use with my clients and what we do at home.

There are exercises for every level so you should be able to start working on getting your midsection tighter.

You don’t need any equipment to do these ab and oblique exercises maybe just an exercise mat.

We will start with the best exercises to tighten and tone your sides and then move on to your tummy.

After you’ve read through and tried all of the following exercises you will know how to tone your stomach, front and sides.

Best Oblique Exercises To Tone your sides

Do these exercises to focus on your sides and creating a slimmer more toned waistline.

Russian twists

These are great with a small weight. Try not to rush through them as you’ll feel your sides working harder the slower you go.

Ab cycle

This has to be one of the most effective abs and oblique exercises you can do. Try to include it as much as possible.

Oblique crunch

This is old school, but highly effective. Start with small movements like you would in a crunch.

Side plank

Once in position, just stay still. Don’t move a muscle, you’ll feel it working. Take our word for it.

Thread the needle

One of our first progressions from the side plank is this beauty. When you twist you actively work your oblique muscles that were already working hard to keep you in the side plank position.

Focus on fulling in your sides while you twist.

Swivel plank

If you’ve not done this variation of the plank you may find it strange to begin with but it’s become one of our favorites. Start slow and try to feel your sides working.

Spiderman plank

Abdominal exercises – best exercises to tone your stomach

Working the muscles at the front, your abdominals, these are the best exercises you can do for a flatter tummy.


You can’t beat a crunch. Legs down or up its a must ab exercise to include in your routine.

in Outs

If you want a fun ab exercise to try this is the one. It’s simple to do and effective. Try it with your hands off the floor for a greater challenge.

Alternate leg v Sit

You can mix this ab exercise up by doing a crunch instead of a full sit up for a more intense workout.


The plank is a simple core exercise but it’s effective and great for pulling your belly in. See how long you can hold it for.

Don’t be afraid to drop to your knees when it gets tough.

Slow mountain climbers

Do not be fooled! When done slowly mountain climbers really target the lower and upper part of your abdominals. Try pausing for a second when your knee is under your chest and squeeze your abs.

Crunch claps

These are a fun exercise to add variety to your ab workout and they really do work.

Reverse crunch

There are not many exercises that you will find that work your lower part of your abs as much as these. Do them with most workouts if you want to target that area.

How to implement these exercises

We’ve given you the exercises now you need to go and try them out.

To help get you started pick 3 exercises from each list and do 20 reps of each.

Alternatively, you could try our 5 minute abs workout below. It targets your entire core for tighter and more toned abs and obliques.

Get flat toned abs with this super quick 5 minute ab workout for women using a mix of exercises to work your entire core. Abs workout for women.

Have some fun with it.

hiit workouts
The 14 very best ab and oblique exercises to tighten and tone your tummy and sides. Do these ab exercisees at home as part of your workout for a flatter more defined stomach in no time.

Lose the belly fat faster with our diet and exercise plan

Tighten and tone your tummy and sides with these core exercises that will directly target your abs and oblique muscles.

Lose weight and get in great shape with our 6 Week Flat Belly Challenge. Where we guide you through our diet and exercise plan designed to help you drop the pounds fast while transforming your body shape.

The plan will help you learn new healthy habits, helping you to lose weight long into the future.

The program comes complete with a food guide, our HIIT workouts with videos and more that can all be done at home or at the gym.

Click Here To Learn More About The 6 Week Flat Belly Challenge

The 5-Day Abs Challenge

Get five 10-minute ab workouts FREE for a flatter more defined waist.