When looking to slim down, focusing on diet and cutting back on sugars and fats is never enough – any diet needs to be accompanied by exercise if you are looking to shed the pounds fast. Exercises for slimming down the waist and tightening the core are exceptionally popular, and these should be incorporated into a well-rounded exercise routine, which ideally involves working out five days a week. While there are a number of exercises that can help you work on your core, these five workouts have been selected by the ACE (American Council on Exercise) as exercises that yield the best and quickest results.

The Bicycle Maneuver

Place both your hands behind your head and lay down on your back. Bend your knees gradually and bring them upwards. Slowly have your right elbow touch your left knee, hold it for a few second, and release gently. Repeat with your right knee and left elbow. If you are just starting out, you can do the bicycle maneuver 12 times per set. Work your way up to 3 sets per workout.

Crunches on Exercise Ball

Doing crunches on an exercise ball can be extremely effective, as it really works your core and engages all muscle groups, improving their strength and stability. To perform this exercise, lay down on your mid-back on the ball, and keep your legs out and bent so the ball remains stable (in a sort of sitting position). Then place your hands behind your head, with the elbows out. Slowly crunch upwards, hold for 3-4 seconds, and then gradually release, assuming the position you started with. Work your way up to 3 sets of 12.

Vertical Leg Crunch

Lay down flat on your back and extend your legs, stretching them upwards so they are pointing at the ceiling. Put your hands behind your head, and use them to lift your upper body up and off the floor. Hold this position for a good 5-6 seconds, and then release slowly, maintaining control over your muscles throughout. Start small, and gradually work up to 15 reps per workout.

Torso Track

You will need an ab wheel for this exercise, so if you do not own one, try and purchase one from a local fitness store. Get down on the floor on all fours, and then hold the wheel by its handles. Slowly start rolling the wheel forward, extending your body with it. Extend, and then slowly roll back to your starting position. All your core muscles will be worked this way, and as your body increases in strength, you will be able to manage a higher number of reps.

Long Arm Crunch

Lay down on your back, and assume the position you would take when performing a regular crunch – however, extend your arms upwards, and hold them there above your head. Then, use your ab muscles to push yourself up, using your arms for added strength and balance. Hold and release. Once again, working your way up to 3 sets of 12 is ideal.