En español l Let me see a show of hands: How would you like to get more toned for summer swimsuit season? Well, that's just about everyone! I've got an exercise routine that, when done regularly, will do the trick.
This workout is designed to target and reshape your "swimsuit zones" — your tummy, thighs and hips — the body parts that tend to stand out in a bathing suit. You can do this workout in the convenience of your own home, too. For best results, perform it every other day. (Follow a prudent diet, too, because exercise doesn't work alone!)
Bicycle Waist Whittler
In a study conducted to pinpoint the best belly-flattening exercises, researchers at San Diego State University found that one of the most effective for strengthening abdominal muscles is the bicycle move, an exercise you can do virtually anywhere.
Start: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or soft surface and keep your lower back pressed as closely to the floor as you can. Clasp your hands behind your head. Bend your knees so that they are at about a 45-degree angle to the floor.
Action: Lift your shoulders off the floor, bringing your opposite knee (left knee, for example) to your opposite elbow (right elbow, for example), while straightening out the other leg. Switch legs and elbows, performing the exercise in an alternating fashion. Continue performing this exercise in a controlled fashion. Start with 25 repetitions and try to build up to 50.
Start: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or other soft surface. Bend your knees and place your arms alongside your body. Place a tennis ball on your navel. (I had to get tennis in here somewhere!)
Action: Inhale. Then on the exhale, draw your abdomen in, but without performing a crunch, in order to engage your outer abs and your inner abs. Using a tennis ball helps you see this "drawing in" movement. Repeat this breathing and movement pattern using deep controlled breaths for 25 repetitions. Work up to 50 reps.
Start: Lie face-up on an exercise mat or other soft surface, with your feet on the floor and your knees pointed upward. Keep your hands at your sides.
Action: Press both feet into the floor and lift your pelvis off the ground. Squeeze your buns together. Keep your navel drawn in and your tailbone slightly pulled in to maintain neutral alignment. Hold for three to five seconds. Breathe naturally as you lower your pelvis back to the floor. On the descent, let your spine slowly touch the mat one vertebra at a time until your tailbone reaches the floor. Repeat the exercise for 12 to 25 repetitions.
Next page: Single thigh squat. »