Fitness Tip Tuesday – Ab Toning Exercises

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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  1. 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.

  2. 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! :)

  3. 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

  4. 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 :))

  5. 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


  6. 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

  7. Kristie says:

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

    Thanks for the info.

  8. 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!

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