A slim midsection is one of the most common goals I see among clients. Achieving a slim and sleek midriff often involves more than just endless crunches. Incorporating free-weight exercises into your routine can help you build muscle, burn fat, and reveal the toned abs you’ve been working toward. If you’re ready to sculpt your midsection, here are five of the best free-weight workouts for a slim midriff to add to your fitness regimen.

Incorporating these five free-weight workouts, along with their variations, into your routine can help you sculpt and tone your middle by targeting the muscles of the core, including the obliques. Keep reading to learn all about the five best free-weight workouts for a slim midriff. And when you’re finished, don’t miss the 10 Best Low-Impact Exercises To Melt Belly Fat.

Workout #1: Russian Twists

Russian twists are an effective exercise for targeting the obliques, which are crucial for achieving a slim and sleek midriff. By adding resistance with a free weight, you’ll increase the intensity and effectiveness of this exercise.

1. Russian Twists

illustration of how to do the russian twist core-strengthening exercise
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Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet lifted off the ground. Lean back slightly, keeping your spine straight and your chest lifted. Engage your core, and twist your torso to the right. Return to the center, and repeat the movement on the left side. Continue alternating sides for three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

2. Weighted Russian Twists

Russian twist with medicine ball
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Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet lifted off the ground, holding a free weight with both hands. Twist your torso as you bring the weight down toward the ground next to your hip, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

3. Elevated Russian Twists

Sit on an elevated surface with your knees bent and your feet lifted off the ground, holding a free weight with both hands. Twist your torso as you bring the weight down toward the ground next to your hip, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

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Workout #2: Dumbbell Side Bends

Dumbbell side bends target the obliques and help strengthen the muscles along the sides of the abdomen, contributing to a slim and sleek midriff when combined with a balanced diet and cardio exercise.

1. Dumbbell Side Bends

illustration of standing dumbbell side bends
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Stand upright with a dumbbell in your right hand, feet hip-width apart. Keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly bend to the right side, lowering the dumbbell toward your knee while keeping your left arm extended. Engage your core, and return to the starting position. Repeat the movement on the left side. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

2. Seated Dumbbell Side Bends

Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in one hand, legs together, and feet flat on the ground. Bend sideways toward the floor, allowing the dumbbell to lower toward your knee. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

3. Overhead Dumbbell Side Bends

Stand upright with a dumbbell in one hand, holding it overhead. Bend sideways toward the floor. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

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Workout #3: Woodchoppers

Woodchoppers are a dynamic exercise that targets the obliques, shoulders, and core muscles, helping to sculpt a sleek and toned midriff.

1. Woodchoppers

dumbbell wood chopper exercise illustration
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Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands. Start with the weight at one side of your body, next to your hip. Engage your core, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending above your opposite shoulder. Keep your arms straight, and rotate your torso as you lift the weight. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

2. Medicine Ball Woodchoppers

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Start with the ball at one side of your body, next to your hip. Engage your core, and lift the ball diagonally across your body, ending above your opposite shoulder. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

3. Seated Woodchoppers

Sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor, holding a dumbbell with both hands. Start with the weight at one side of your body, next to your hip. Engage your core, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending above your opposite shoulder. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

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Workout #4: Standing Dumbbell Oblique Crunches

Standing dumbbell oblique crunches target the obliques and help strengthen the muscles along the sides of the abdomen, contributing to a slim and sleek midriff.

1. Standing Dumbbell Oblique Crunches

Stand upright with a dumbbell in your right hand, feet hip-width apart. Extend your right arm overhead, holding the dumbbell vertically. Engage your core, and lift your right knee toward your right elbow, crunching your side waist (as demonstrated above, but while holding the dumbbell). Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

2. Standing Side Crunches

standing side crunch with dumbbell
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Stand upright with a dumbbell in one hand, feet hip-width apart. Bend sideways toward the weighted side, bringing your elbow toward your hip. Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

3. Kneeling Side Crunches

Kneel on the floor with a dumbbell in one hand, keeping your opposite arm extended for balance. Bend sideways toward the weighted side, bringing your elbow toward your hip (as demonstrated above, but using a dumbbell rather than a cable). Return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

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Workout #5: Side Plank Dumbbell Rows

The last of these free-weight workouts for a slim midriff wraps up with side plank rows, using a dumbbell. Side plank dumbbell rows not only target the obliques but also engage the muscles of the back and shoulders, contributing to a toned and sleek midriff.

1. Side Plank Dumbbell Rows

Start in a side plank position with your left elbow on the ground and a dumbbell in your right hand. Keep your body in a straight line, and engage your core. Pull the dumbbell toward your hip, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.

2. Elevated Side Plank Dumbbell Rows

Perform side plank dumbbell rows with your feet elevated on a bench or step for increased difficulty (demonstrated above). Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps of rows per side.

3. Renegade Rows

dumbbell renegade row
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Start in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Perform rows by pulling one dumbbell toward your hip while stabilizing with the opposite arm. Alternate sides. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side.

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