Get a tight stomach in just six weeks without doing a single crunch. This may be the easiest workout we’ve ever printed
Get ready to whip off your cover-up: ThisÂ workout, created exclusively forÂ Women’s HealthÂ by Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness in Newhall, California, combines fat-burningÂ cardioÂ with moves that target your entire core rather than individual muscles (wouldn’t it be great if thereÂ wasÂ a magicalÂ lower abs workout?), so you’ll burn more fat while toning up.
Do these workout moves three nonconsecutive days a week. Start with the Basic Workout (moves 1-4 at right) to prime your muscles. After three weeks, you’ll be ready to graduate to the Advanced Workout (moves 5-8). For maximum fat burning, perform the exercises as a circuit: Do one set of each move in the order shown, resting for 30 seconds between exercises. Then rest for a minute and repeat the circuit from the beginning.
Melt Your Middle
Follow this interval-training program three times a week after yourÂ core workout. It’ll fire up your metabolism and burn off the fat that’s hidingÂ your abs. Intervals are short bursts of maximum-intensity effortâ€”you’re doing it right if you can’t carry on a conversationâ€”separated by periods of easy-pace recovery. In an Australian study, women who cranked out high-intensity interval training three days a week for 15 weeks dropped significantly more weight than those who exercised for the same period of time at a lower intensity.
For this interval workout, remember to include an easy 3- to 5-minute warmup and cooldown. You can run, bike, or use theÂ cardioÂ machine of your choice.
|Max Effort||Easy Pace||Reps|
|Week 1||1 minute||2 minutes||5|
|Week 2||1 minute||90 seconds||6|
|Week 3||1 minute||1 minute||8|
|Week 4||1 minute||1 minute||10|
|Week 5||75 seconds||1 minute||10|
|Week 6||90 seconds||1 minute||10|
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor, palms up, at shoulder level. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your kneesÂ (A). Brace your abs and lift your right knee toward your chestÂ (B). Hold for 2 counts, then lower your right foot. Repeat with the other leg. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.
Grab a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell with both hands. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms straight outÂ (A). Take a big step forward with your left foot and, bracing your abs, twist your torso to the left as you bend your knees and lower your body until both of your legs form 90-degree anglesÂ (B). Twist back to center, push off your left foot, and stand back up. Repeat on the other leg. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Keep your elbows straight but not locked.
Get into the plank position (toes and forearms on the floor, body lifted). Your body should form a straight lineÂ (A). Brace your abs and carefully shift your weight to your right forearm. Extend your left arm in front of you(B)Â and hold for 3 to 10 seconds. Slowly bring your arm back in. Repeat with the right arm. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps, resting for 1 minute between sets.
In a right-side plank positionÂ (A), brace your abs and reach your left hand toward the ceilingÂ (B). Slowly tuck your left arm under your body and twist forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floorÂ (C). Return to the side plank. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 or 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps on each side, resting for 1 minute between sets.
Lie on your back with your right knee bent and your left leg extended. Rest your arms on the floor, palms up, at shoulder level with your hips about 2 inches off the floorÂ (A). Raise your hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to your left footÂ (B). Hold for 2 counts, then return to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 to 15 reps on each side. To make it harder, cross your arms over your chest.
Grab a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell in your left hand and hold it up next to your left shoulder, palm facing inÂ (A). Step backward with your left foot and lower your body until your knees are bent 90 degrees (your left knee should nearly touch the floor) while pressing the dumbbell directly over your shoulder without bending or leaning at the waistÂ (B). Lower the weight back to the starting position as you push quickly back to standing. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 to 15, then switch sides.
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