do side plank waist exercises make waist bigger?

I really like your site! I have a question, I hope you can answer. Yesterday morning I started a hatha yoga class, but for some reason the instructor had us do a side push up type of exercise (lay on one side, feet stacked on a block, propped up on elbow, and then raise and lower midsection for 10 - 15 reps and then switch sides). I've never done any kind of exercise for my abs before, and I have a naturally small waist that I've always been happy with, last night my sides, especially right where my waist is the smallest, were very sore, and today even more sore, I now realise that the exercise he had us do was for the obliques, and I'm worried that it will make my waist bigger!


My question is will having done that exercise yesterday and eating quite a bit of protein yesterday make my waist bigger?

I don't even want it even a tiny bit bigger! I'm worried now. I'm 38 years old and have never done any kind of exercise before, I've been lucky enough to get away with it, but have recently been interested in starting to exercise because at this age things just aren't the same! I mostly just want to improve my butt! I like your ideas a lot because they make sense to me, and match up with how I think about exercise and the female body. I'm just worried now that my waist will get bigger and if I continue to exercise, even if I don't focus on the obliques or abs, then it will continue to get bigger because I've read that most exercise works your core in a way anyway, and I want to continue to do exercises to improve my butt like lunges, squats, bridges, step ups, etc and yoga as well, but I definitely don't want a bigger waist.

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Feb 03, 2014
balanced fitness plan for small waist fit booty feminine figure
by: monica

Hi Jilc, Thanks for posting your question. It's a great one and your concerns are totally valid! First let me put your mind at ease by confirming that YOU CAN NOT bulk up your core or lose your waist from 1 side plank exercise and 1 yoga class. The soreness just means you isolated a muscle in a way you had never done before and will go away. If you got even a mild pump that made your waist look thicker for a day that will go away too. Also eating too much protein only makes you big if you also eat too many overall calories for extended periods of time.

Not sure why that yoga instructor would have students do oblique exercises. I've been practicing yoga since 2004; started with Anusara then Hatha and Vinyasa (all at local studio) then online yoga and Shiva Rea flow yoga then got certified in mind body yoga qnd have never been exposed to oblique isolation in yoga practice.

Maybe instructor was trying to improve oblique strength for poses like side angle, triangle pose, side plank or advanced poses like flying warrior BUT the secret to yoga isn't isolation.

In yoga the more you integrate pelvic floor, transversus abdominis, shoulder and back muscles the easier the poses get. That yoga instructor probably doesn't understand the basics of alignment or progression so you may want to avoid this person to avoid injury.

Now let's address your exercising concerns. There are tons of workouts that target the core heavily. And yes they can bulk up your core even when they are not core focused but that should not discourage you from finding a balanced fitness plan that allows you to strengthen and tone your lower body, burn fat so you look more toned and so your waist stays small.

If you have never exercised before then basic lunges squats bridges step ups will do wonders for your butt. Yoga will help you relieve fat storing stress hormones and boost flexibility. Cardio whether walking, classes or total body circuits will prevent weight gain around the middle as you get older.

The key to maintaining a fit feminine figure is to find a balance of workouts that benefit your unique body shape. This varies from female to female and fitness experience but is so easy once you learn the fitness blueprint that's right for your unique body type. All the workout plans here on the site show you how by helping you identify your body type then providing a workout blueprint you can follow (printouts + quick videos).

If you are new to fitness you may want to start with YBFF plan or if you want to focus more on the booty then get started with Love Your Booty plan. I'm having a contest right now and giving away a copy of Love Your Booty so be sure to enter to win.

Feb 05, 2014
Thank you so much for replying!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for replying to my question, I really appreciate it! You seem to be very knowledgeable about fitness and the female body. I've been trying to educate myself on fitness and overall health and it is very easy to see the way most fitness professionals recommend is not the way to keep your female body shape, from what I can see it's a great way to get a very boxy looking midsection and lose your boobs and hips, definitely not what I'm looking for. I would say that I have close to hourglass shape with a bit of pear tendency, measurements are 37" bust/24" waist(23 if I don't eat a lot that day or if I suck it in!/37 hips, 120 pounds, 5' 2", and I'd like to keep it this way, I'd really just like to lift and round my butt. I really appreciate all of the tips on your site as well as those that you've just given to me as well, if I lived near your studio I would definitely sign up for private sessions with you!

I can understand doing a normal side plank in a yoga class, but he had us doing a side plank "crunch" type movement for 10 - 15 reps/ side! I have found out the hard way that that really isolated the obliques! I just found out he was a student teacher in training and only gives classes there once in a while. I think for now I will start out with the more slow and relaxed yin yoga classes, and maybe add in some hatha later on. I have read that you suggest gentle exercise like this is great for overall stress reduction and good for the body as well.

My obliques were very, very sore and swollen for 3 days, and now on day 4 not quite as sore but still swollen (I keep thinking they're going to stay this way, but it just can't be possible for them to grow that much from one session regardless of how much protein and calories I ate that day, well at least I hope not, I did eat a lot of calories that day too unfortunately) and when I move certain ways I can see them 'pop out' mostly at the smallest part of my waist and a bit lower down as well. They now seem to be 'fired up' and I'm really hoping they won't stay that way now. I worry because losing my waist is my biggest fear about working out, along with getting too muscular looking. It actually scares me so much that I'd rather not work out at all!

Again, thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I will definitely keep checking in to your site for all of your great tips and information that you have here. I think it would be so great if it were possible to get one on one training from you.


Feb 27, 2014
planks that slim waist vs bulk waist
by: monica

Yes sadly those waist thickening hip dip planks seem to be all the rage on youtube and in bootcamps and fitness classes. Not sure why when there are so many dynamic planks that actually burn tons more fat and slim the waist effectively.

Here's some belly fat "love handle" exercises that really thicken the waist. Most women who visit this site want NOTHING to do with a thick torso like this celebrity trainers torso. Even the regular forearm side plank is awful for waist slimming because it hardly burns any fat. I just don't understand why the weighted side bend is still so popular with women. It's the worst exercise for slimming the waist EVER!



Here's the types of planks I teach in all my fitness plan ebooks with video tutorials. I featured even more effective planks for an hourglass waist and fat burning in an older blog post and in my pilates for women article as well as the fatloss exercises page.



Burning ab fat and shrinking your waist is simple when you focus on the right types of exercises : )

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