Young Man Showing Off Abs Through Unbuttoned Shirt

How To Get a Smaller Waist as a Man

A slim waist is a much sought after component of the male physique. The smaller your waist is, the more aesthetic and muscular you look.

A smaller waist enhances your physique by improving the shoulders-to-waist ratio. The shoulders-to-waist ratio is generally one of the first things noticed about your body and has been found by studies to be one of the single most attractive physical characteristics of a man.

For bodybuilders, a slim waist will elevate the results of your training and boost the appearance of having size. A small waist makes you look bigger by contrasting the width of your upper body. By decreasing the circumference of your waist, you can attain the ‘V’ look and yield better outcomes from periods of fat loss during cutting.

There are multiple methods to decreasing your waist size. These methods can be grouped into dieting correctly, doing specific training exercises, and adding changes to your lifestyle.

How Your Diet Can Decrease Waist Size

The food you eat and your overall caloric intake has a strong influence on your waist size.

Losing excess body fat is one of the quickest ways to instantly improve your physique and reduce the extra mass covering your waistline. If you are at a high body fat percentage then it’s going to be very difficult to accomplish an optimal shoulders-to-waist ratio and look both muscular and lean.

To lose body fat, you need to eat below your maintenance calories (the number of calories at which you will neither lose nor gain weight). Eating below maintenance puts you in a negative energy balance that forces the body to burn fat as a source of energy. By staying in a caloric deficit over long periods of time, you will lose excess fat and slim down your waistline.

Another way your diet can slim down your waist is by adding more foods with high thermic effects to what you eat. The thermic effect of food is the amount of energy, or calories, required to digest and use that food after eating it. Among the macronutrients, protein has the highest thermic effect and takes the most energy for the body to process. Foods high in protein, like eggs, fish, chicken breast, and low-fat greek yogurt, are going to elevate the amount of thermogenesis your body is doing and make losing fat easier.

Finally, avoiding processed food and sugars can also make your diet more effective for lowering body fat levels and shrinking your waistline. Both processed food and sugar have a negative impact on hormones and do not require energy to digest, making them damaging to a cutting diet and critical to avoid in high quantities.

Exercises To Do For a Smaller Waist

Next, the single best exercise to do for a smaller waist is the stomach vacuum.

The stomach vacuum exercise activates the transverse abdominis muscle which functions as a sort of natural girdle, keeping your core tight and waist slim. Strengthening your transverse abdominis muscle can give you more control over your outer abs and will help create a more V-shaped physique.

The stomach vacuum exercise is best done in the mornings or after training when there is not much food in your stomach. You should do it standing and try to increase the amount of time you can suck in your stomach each session.

Also, training your abs and obliques themselves will give your body more of a “hard” look and can tighten up your midriff which emphasizes your waistline, making it appear to be more small than it is.

In addition to exercises that target your inner abs, outer abs, and obliques, any added muscle to your shoulders, back, and quadriceps will also improve your V-taper and bolster the appearance of a smaller waist. Adding muscle to your lats, shoulders, traps, and upper back all can enhance the shoulders-to-waist ratio and boost your overall proportions while building strength.

Lifestyle Changes That Can Decrease Waist Size

Lastly, a healthy lifestyle is crucial for building an aesthetic physique. To attain the maximal results from your training and diet, your overall lifestyle should be set up to facilitate muscle growth, ideal hormonal function, and effective fat loss.

The most critical components of a healthy lifestyle are sleep, activity level, frequency of training, and alcohol consumption.

The optimal number of hours to sleep every night is 7-10 hours depending on age. If you are over 25 then you only need 7-9 hours per night whereas if you are younger, you need closer to 8-10 hours per night.

Along with sleep, your activity level and the frequency of your training should be high enough to keep testosterone levels in a good range and calories burning, but not so high that you burn out either physically or mentally. For most people this means 4-6 weightlifting sessions per week and 1-3 anaerobic cardio workouts. You can also just increase your steps per day and swap out the anaerobic cardio sessions for “lifestyle cardio” that you can incorporate into your routine.

Alcohol consumption should be kept to a minimal to moderate amount and drug use should be done sparingly in a way that balances both your training and your ability to enjoy the weekends. Both alcohol and other common recreational drugs can throw off your diet and training, and negatively affect your progression to a decrease in waist size.


Overall, to get a smaller waist, you should eat in a caloric deficit to lose body fat, use stomach vacuums and core exercises to train your inner and outer abs, and maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you get the best results from the effort you are putting in. By optimizing your eating, training, and all-around lifestyle, you will reduce your waist circumference and obtain a well-developed physique.

For more on training and body composition, such as how much muscle you can gain in 3 months and how stretching helps build muscle, click here.