Beat Belly Bulge
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Beat Belly Bulge

Melt pesky ab flab with these simple but effective moves from Stacia Cato, a personal trainer at Peak Performance in New York City.

Beginner: Reach Up

1. Reach Up

Targets obliques, abs

  • Lie faceup on the floor, with legs extended and arms at sides, ankles crossed.
  • Keeping your shoulders down and your lower body still, engage your abs and reach your right hand up and across the center of your body.
  • Hold for a few seconds, then lower.
  • Repeat with left arm. Do 12 reps on each side.

Beginner: Standing Side Crunch

2. Standing Side Crunch

Targets obliques, glutes

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, abs engaged and knees slightly bent.
  • Lift your right leg, bending knee 90 degrees and turning thigh out to side.
  • Place both hands behind your head and crunch your right elbow to right knee 15 times.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Beginner: Woodchop with Dumbbell

3. Woodchop with Dumbbell

Targets shoulders, abs, obliques, glutes, quads, hamstrings

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in front of your torso with both hands.
  • Engage your abs, keep shoulders down, and squat, bringing dumbbell toward right foot.
  • Stand up, using your abs and glutes, while lifting dumbbell diagonally across your body to left shoulder.
  • Repeat 12 times; switch sides (starting to left) and repeat.

Intermediate: Windshield Wipers

1. Windshield Wipers

Targets obliques

  • Lie faceup on the floor with arms out to sides, legs extended and abs engaged.
  • Place a folded towel between your knees. Bend knees 90 degrees and raise legs so calves are parallel with floor.
  • Keep legs together as you lower them to the left side.
  • Return to center, then twist to the right.
  • Do 12 reps on each side.

Intermediate: Plank with Twist

2. Plank with Twist

Targets back, abs, obliques

  • Get into plank position with forearms on the floor, abs engaged, back straight and toes tucked under.
  • Twist your entire lower body (from the torso down) to the right, keeping your arms, shoulders, and head still, legs and feet together.
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then return to center.
  • Repeat, twisting to the left.
  • Do 12 times on each side.

Intermediate: Woodchop in Lunge

3. Woodchop in Lunge

Targets shoulders, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings

  • Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in front of your torso with both hands.
  • Engage your abs, keep feet facing forward, and bend your right knee into a lunge, bringing dumbbell down to your right foot.
  • Pull through left hip to rise, and lift dumbbell above your body on the left side.
  • Do 12 times; switch sides (lunging to left) and repeat.

Advanced: Side Plank Rotation

1. Side Plank Rotation

Targets obliques, glutes, quads

  • Begin in full push-up position (legs extended, abs engaged, wrists under shoulders).
  • Slowly rotate body to the right, lifting right arm toward ceiling and bringing right leg behind you.
  • Push your hips up high, away from floor, keeping both feet grounded.
  • Lower back to push-up position; then rotate to left.
  • Do 3 reps on each side.

Advanced: Reverse Crunch with Swivel

2. Reverse Crunch with Swivel

Targets abs, obliques

  • Lie faceup on floor with legs extended toward ceiling.
  • Engage your abs and lift your hips, keeping legs and heels together.
  • Swivel legs to the left, drop a few inches, then raise and swivel back to the center.
  • Lower hips, then lift and repeat, swiveling to the right this time.
  • Do 20 reps, continuing to alternate sides.

Advanced: Lateral Stretch

3. Lateral Stretch

Targets shoulders, obliques, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
  • Lunge to the left, keeping left knee over ankle and right leg straight.
  • Bend right elbow, bringing dumbbell to shoulder.
  • With back straight and abs engaged, lower torso to left and extend right arm toward ceiling.
  • Slowly return to start position.
  • Switch sides; repeat. Do 12 reps on each side.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2007.