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tummy toning exercises

As women we want to make sure we are not using heavy weights when it comes to our obliques. Heavy weight creates increased muscle mass, not what we want on our outer abdominal.

For years I trained my obliques with heavy weights trying to slim down my “love handles” and they just got worse. After some reasearch I discovered I was doing the complete opposite of what I intending the exercises to be doing. It took me several months, over a year, to get rid of the muscle I created.

Have a look at our external obliques and you will quickly understand why using little weight is important when toning your abdomen.

toning exercises for women

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Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Kara says:

    Oh wow! This is great to know. I think I am a victim of this. Thanks for sharing Flavia! I do have a concern. As a woman of color I hate having to do abdominal exercises using my elbows because it makes them dark!:-( and I don’t want that. I try to avoid this for example when it comes to planks, I do them off of the stability ball and a bench using my hands but how can I avoid this with floor exercises? I have both full-body-licious and curvilicious programs and both have several exercises that use the elbows. What could I do without using my elbows?

    Thanks Flavia for being my fitness coach:-)

    • Shauntell says:

      Try buffing your elbows with a buffing cream or use a scrub on the area to gradually decrease the darkness. Using 100% Shea Butter also helps.

      • Kara says:

        Thanks Shauntell,

        I am currently using a Hydroquinone cream of 3% and that helps over time, however I am avoiding the exercises that make them dark in the first place. My concern is how can I substitute the ab exercises that use the elbows to get great results without using the elbows:-(

        • Debbies21 says:

          There’s a couple of things try using yoga jellies. These are disks used where you have a pressure point from holding a yoga position hands, knees, feet. They would probably work for elbows. Even though you are using a cream, make a scrub using olive oil kosher salt or sugar. Also make sure you moisturize right after you get out of a shower while your still damp, this locks in the moisture. Elbows don’t have any oil glands so you can use a cream which is usually thicker than a lotion. Don’t forget sunscreen, you don’t want to undo your work.

  • gracepmc says:

    Along those lines, I used to do Russian twists with KB or weight. Stopped that when my trainer heard about it. But what about twists in general — ? I don’t have much of a waist but I don’t want love handles, extra flab etc. For now I have been doing planks, and also get alot of benefit from pull ups and leg raises. Thanks.

    • Nattha says:

      Hey grace,
      You can’t get rid of lovehandles just by training your obliques. It will disappear eventually (and gradually) as you lose your total body fat, and training the obliques is part of it (but not all of it). It’s tempting to think that when you train the muscles underneath the problem area, that flab right there will go away. This is simply not true. Still, incorporate some obliques training in your balanced training program. If you get your obliques bigger by using lots of weight, it will be apparently too large (i.e. your waist is bigger) when you get very very lean.

      • gracepmc says:

        Thanks. That’s pretty much been my experience. Good diet and full body training has worked for me. Because i don’t have that little waist thing going on (and never will) I m always looking! 🙂

  • Jessicca says:

    It? Flavia? This article came timely. Like you read my mind :-)) I called to him:-D thank you! I am afraid often to practice belly there I did not create bigger muscles or not increased waist to the side. More such articles or videos about how to train a passport from the chest to groin in the shape of V. What do we pass that did not extend to the sides and a wider, stronger, which do not. I have always had a flat belly and round butt, I’m afraid I did not exercise a wider waist and belly bulging help? :-)) More such articles, tips, videos we love you xxx Flavia

  • Binita says:

    Hi Kara,

    I’ve seen elbow pads in most sports shops which are quite thin, probably for joint support, and not as thick as skateboarding pads.

    Maybe they could help when you need to lean on your elbows. It would be a shame to miss out on these really effective exercises. Hope it helps :))

  • Suz says:

    Hi Flavia
    Thanks for sharing all your great advice with us.
    I’m wondering how this affects the oblique exercises in the Curvalicious program:
    Day 1 – weighted side plank dip with rotation —should we use just bodyweight?
    Day 4 – sitting and standing medicine ball figure 8 –low or no weights?
    Day 5 – Cable side bends and cable crunches –low or no weights?

    • Flavia says:

      Day 1 – yes or up to 5 pounds
      Day 4 – 5-10 pounds only
      Day 5 – 5 pounds, up to 7.5-8 but I wouldn’t do more than that because there is resistance in the cable


  • Marie says:

    Hi there,

    I have not done much weight training but

    am fairly fit.

    I want to get more toned, can you please

    tell me which one of your products is best

    for me.

    I want a step by step system to build and

    tone up, which one is best?

    How long does it take to get the abs if i follow

    the system exactly as you present it.

    Thanks from Marie

  • Kristie says:

    i have been using heavy weights too….I wasn’t aware this would be the result of it.

    Thanks for the info.

  • KayElle says:

    Hi there,
    I find I can not get rid of love handles. I have a flat belly, not completely toned, but with slight love handles toward my back :s any advice?


    • Flavia says:

      Hey KayElle. Sounds like you may be influenced by insulin levels. You can try to cut out sugars and processed flours that cause your sugars to spike. That also is likely an area that you store more fat than the other areas and will just need some more weight loss to get that little amount off the sides!

  • Asura Six says:

    I just want to say I was one such person .. sitting round no motivation not doing much with my life. Until I watch this some videos found one that really moved me and in this video the character was well a runner. If he had to get some place he was running .. and nothing stood in his way so that got me going .. I was going to do the same. Become an unstoppable force. Well it happened I… of sorts. I put the work in I moved my mountains and got results that were beyond this world. I had obliques I wanted and more. Everything else below the belt as well. The upper part my limbs were coming along.

    The main point of this and I must stress this .. is stress but in the right amount and you have to force your way through it. I mean literally fighting gravity here. You’ll get bigger muscles and better results. But more still is sugar.. 🙂 Sorry to all those manufactures out there and who ever it may concern.. but it is poison. The only reason fruit and such carry it is so that we will eat that and get the true benefit out of what really matters… The fiber. Keep things moving is key. I mean daily. Glucose and the like even sugar cane is no good. It’s only purpose is to break down proteins and work with them to get them to were they have to go.. that means burning them only them in a health way. Get the protein to stick right were you want it. Goes the same for carbs. You’ll get fat … The only thing good about them is energy and it gets burned. If your using it it’s more than okay i not your in trouble.

    Remember keep it simple. That goes with food and workout. DO NOT over push it Only do what your body is cable of don’t listen to anything out side of you only listen to you… and your body that simple. So again foods. anything as in simple .. with over five ingredients .. your not doing so good. The less process the food has gone through the BETTER. That’s why fruits and veggies are the best. They grow you eat em.. Raw is even better. Just look at our ancestors and look now as to how much diseases and “Plague” we have. It’s so simple. Keep it simple.

    I can guarantee you’ll have someone within your life trying to tempt or divert you to teh dark side in no time XD ( lol ).

    Good Luck.

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