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Waist-er-cise

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"Whittle your waist," as they used to say. Unfortunately, spot-reducing doesn't work. However, you can tone the muscles in your midsection with these powerhouse exercises. Do them every other day. These specific moves will increase the strength in your core as well as the upper body. The real necessities for making long-lasting changes to your body are a combination of good nutrition, cardio exercise and strength training. Developing a skinnier waistline accomplishes two things. First, it boosts your self-confidence. Being smaller in the middle changes how you stand, how you dress and how you sit. Have you ever seen someone who sits down on the sofa and immediately grabs a throw pillow and puts it in front of them? Secondly, it lowers your risk for chronic health complications like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Good exercise to achieve this goal involves more than just the belly and waist, which is why you need to set your goals for total body weight loss.

No matter what you do physically you will never achieve a skinnier hourglass waistline if you continue to follow unhealthy eating habits. Your best bet is to cut back on your daily calorie intake and eat foods high in nutrients, like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. Paying attention to what goes in your mouth is just as important as the workout, if not even more. Additionally, abdominal exercises can help tone and tighten your waist as you get into better condition. Add in some classics like reverse crunches, hanging knee raises, crunches, planks and back extensions. These will help engage more muscles to help carve out that midsection. These muscles are the rectus abdominis, obliques and erector spinae. The rectus abdominis is in the middle of the stomach (the six-pack), obliques sit on the sides (the waistline), and the erector spinae is in the lower back.

Don't forget the cardio. The best way to create a skinnier waist is by doing cardiovascular exercise. Cardio burns fat throughout your entire body, it doesn't just pick the spot that has more fat. All forms of cardio are effective, provided you enjoy it and you do it. Swimming, walking, running, indoor cycling, kickboxing, elliptical training, rowing, dancing and jumping rope are all good options.

These are the "sexy six" moves for the waistline. You can do them right at home with only a few pieces of equipment: a mat, 5lb. (or more) dumbbells and some type of ball -- a medicine ball would be great, however a soccer ball, basketball or small exercise ball will do.

To begin, try each exercise a few times just to get the feel of it. Then, go through each exercise doing the suggested reps and sets. Do the "sexy six" every other day in addition to your cardio and other strength/conditioning moves. With consistency you will be looking for your belt, and when you put your hands on your waist, you will feel a difference.

Side Plank:

Lie on your left side on the floor with your legs stacked, lift your torso on the left elbow so that the left forearm is perpendicular to the torso. Stagger your feet so that the side of the right foot is on floor in front of the left foot for a wider base of support. Lift hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Belly button pulled in. Hold for 5 counts, then lower. Do 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

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Side Plank With Knee Pull

Begin in a side plank position with your weight supported on your forearm and your legs straight with the ankles stacked on top of each other. Your body should form a straight line from your ear to your ankle, with belly button pulled in. Lift your top leg, bending your knee to bring your foot next to the inside of your straight knee. Hold. Slowly return your leg to the stacked position. Pull in 10 times and then switch sides. Do two full sets.

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Elbow to Knee

Start in a push-up position on the floor, and fully extend your arms to lift your body off the floor. Belly button pulled in. Slowly pull your left knee forward to your chest/left elbow or wrist if you can, keeping your toes pointed. Continue alternating legs. Do 10 on each side.

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Waist Pulls

Start with a 5lb. (or heavier) weight in one hand and your body standing straight up. While keeping your back straight, belly button pulled in, glutes squeezed and looking forward, tilt your body at the waist to the side as far as possible, hold for a second, and return to the starting position. Imagine you are between two plates of glass and can only bend sideways. Do 10 on each side for two sets each.

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Seated Torso Twist

To begin, sit on the floor with your heels touching the floor and your knees bent. Make sure to keep your spine straight and then hold a medicine ball with your arms straight. Exhale while slowly twisting towards one side and touch the ball down to the floor and then repeat on the other side. Do 20 full sets of right to left.

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Best Knee Plank

Start on your side with your elbow placed directly below your shoulder, forearm on floor, and your knees bent. Draw your abs tight and the body in a straight line. Lift your hips off the ground and hold your body keeping in that straight line for 10 seconds. Lower and repeat. Do 10 reps and switch sides. Keep your focus forward and stay strong through the core and forearm, do not sink into your shoulder.

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