How to Tone the Stomach After Weight Loss

Weight loss helps you drop sizes in clothing and be more healthy, but it can also leave you with flabby skin that doesn't look like the svelte, toned midsection you envisioned. The hard work you put in to lose the extra pounds isn't in vain. Spend a little time with your mat, a medicine ball and cable machine, and you'll get the taut abs you're after.

How to Tone the Stomach After Weight Loss (Image: dimid_86/iStock/Getty Images)

Fat Loss

A big part of firming up is building muscle and reducing your body fat levels. Even if you lose weight, you may not have lost a considerable amount of fat. It sounds contrary, but you could be "skinny-fat."

Therefore, focus first on fat loss to tighten up your skin and reveal toned abs. If you lost weight by just eating fewer calories, chances are you've lost lean body mass along with fat. A quarter of every pound you lose when you don't strength train comes from lean muscle. You'll weigh less on the scale, but not necessarily look lean and defined.

Start weight training pronto — and not just for your abs. Aim for at least two total-body strength-training sessions per week . Focus on compound moves that use multiple joints and the biggest muscle of your body to burn calories, but mostly to have more muscle-building effect. Squats, lunges, bench presses, pull-ups, rows, presses and curls are some quality moves to include.

Stick to an unprocessed foods diet and avoid eating more calories than you burn, which will reverse your weight loss.


If you lose a massive amount of weight at a relatively rapid rate, such as through gastric bypass or a medically supervised very low-calorie diet, you could be left with significant excess skin that no exercise can reduce. Talk to your doctor about possible medical treatments to help you.

Target the Abs

Target the Abs (Image: vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images)

Along with total-body moves, ab-specific moves help you build more a more muscular, defined stomach. Crunches can be helpful, but they are not the only ab exercise you should complete. Moves that offer stabilization to address the deep abdominal muscles and twisting actions to train your obliques are also essential in creating a toned middle.

Plank Pose

Step 1

Plank Pose (Image: DrDjJanek/iStock/Getty Images)

Get into the top of a push-up position, but place your hands directly under your shoulders.

Step 2

Hold your body rigid, propped on your hands and toes, for three rounds of 20-second holds.

Step 3

Advance to longer holds — as much as 90 seconds — as you become stronger.


A plank held on your forearms is also effective at toning your abs.

Seated Medicine Ball Twist

Step 1

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet planted. Hold a medicine ball in both hands at your chest.

Step 2

Lift your feet off the ground to balance on the back of your sits bones. Twist your trunk to the right, keeping the medicine ball in the center of your chest.

Step 3

Repeat to the left to complete one repetition. Work your way up to two to three sets of 20 total reps.

Wood Chop

Step 1

Raise the handle on a cable machine to the highest lever. Face the machine with your left side and grasp the handle with both hands.

Step 2

Step away from the pulley until your arms are essentially straight and you feel slight tension. Position your feet about hip-distance apart and forward, not toward the cable machine.

Step 3

Keep your arms straight and pull the cable diagonally across your body — traveling from above your left shoulder across toward the outside of your right shin. Allow your feet, knees and hips to rotate and bend naturally as you twist. Avoid locking your joints.

Step 4

Control your return to start, keeping tension on the cable until you've finished 10 to 12 reps on this side. Switch positions and complete an equal number of reps facing the other way.

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