Whether you call them your love handles or muffin tops, there’s nothing lovey or yummy about them! Seriously who gave them that name anyways? What’s one to do to get rid of one’s “handles”? Well first, as the saying goes “abs are made in the kitchen”, so eating a balanced, whole foods, nutrient-dense diet is key to a flat tummy. Secondly, we must strengthen and tighten our oblique muscles. These 9 exercises are fabulous compound moves that benefit a lot of trouble areas, but they pay special attention to our core. Get ready to whittle your middle with these mommy-approved moves!
1. V-Ups: Lie flat on your back with your legs extended together and your arms extended next to your ears, past your head. In one motion, simultaneously lift your upper body and your legs, try to bring your hands to your feet. Keep your legs straight and your head in line with your upper body. Your body should form a “V.” Do not curl your back, forming a “c” shape. Everything should remain straight. Lower yourself back down. Do as many as you can within 60 seconds.
2. Table Top SideKicks: Get down on all fours, making sure your back is straight and your hands are under your shoulders, knees under your hips. Lift your right leg and cross it behind your left leg, tapping your right toe to the floor. From there, lift your leg back up and kick it to your right side. Try to lift it as high as your hip and kick it as far forward as you can. Cross it back behind your left leg and tap the floor. That’s one rep. Do as many sidekicks as you can in 30 seconds then switch legs for another 30 seconds.
3. Side Plank Hip Dips: Start in a side plank position with your elbow touching the ground. Drop your hips toward the floor, squeezing your obliques as you bring them back up. Repeat 15 x per side.
4. Knee Russian Twists: Drop to your knees on the floor. Engage your abdominal muscles and slightly lean back, being sure to keep a straight back. Holding your arms up at your chest, twist the torso and the medicine ball from side to side. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds.
5. Triangle Pose Side Lifts: Stand with your feet 2-3 inches further than hip width apart. Keep your right foot facing forward and turn your left toe outward to the left. Keeping your hips facing forward, raise the dumbbell above your head (holding it with both hands). Drop your upper body to the left, shifting your weight and hips to the right. Keep your arms straight and don’t let the weight drop below your head. Lift back up, returning to the top but keep the weight above your head. Do as many side lifts as you can in 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat for another 30 seconds.
6. Medicine Ball Wood Chops: Standing tall, with feet shoulder width apart, hold a medicine ball (or dumbbell) with both hands. Engage your core and reach ball straight over to one shoulder. Bring the ball downward in a quick chopping motion toward the opposite hip, while rotating through your obliques. Repeat 15x per side. For more of a challenge, perform move while balancing on a bosu ball.
7. Plank Pendulum: Get in plank or push up position with your body in a straight line from head to toe. Make sure your hands and arms are under your shoulders. Lift your right leg up, keeping it straight. Swing it out to the right, then swing it back to the center. As you swing the right foot back in and plant it back on the floor, raise your left leg up, then swing it out to the left. Bring the left leg back in and to the floor and swing the right leg back out. It should resemble a pendulum motion. Go as quickly as you can!
8. Side Plank Reach Thrus: Lie down on the floor with your right side against the ground. Stack your left foot ontop of your right and make sure your legs are fully extended. Push off the ground with your right hand and lift your hips—you should be in a side plank. Raise your left arm and reach towards the ceiling. Keeping your hips square, bring that left arm down and reach under your right arm/side.
9. Plank Hip Twists: Get in plank position. Keeping your back straight, turn your right hip inward and tap it to the ground. Lift your hips back up and twist and dip to the left. Keeping tapping your hips to the floor. Get as many twists in as you can in 60 seconds.