Who says you need to get down and dirty to get an ab workout? Not us! This waist-whittling routine from exercise physiologist Amy Dixon, creator and star of the Breathless Body and Give Me 10 workout DVD series, strengthens your entire core while adding a dose of cardio to help burn off the fat covering those muscles. Best of all, there’s not a crunch in the bunch. Grab a 5- to 12-pound dumbbell and do the routine one time through 2 or 3 times per week. Hello, flatter belly!
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Triple Russian Twist & Chop: Tones whole body, particularly abs and lower back
How-to: Stand with feet wider than hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the dumbbell with a hand on each end in front of your hips with arms bent to 90 degrees, elbows by your hips. Twist to the right, rotating through the hips and bringing the dumbbell to your right hip while pivoting on your left foot (A); repeat in the opposite direction. Twist to the right again, pivoting on the left foot and bringing the weight down past your right hip. Next, swing it up and over your right shoulder, extending your arms up. Powerfully chop the weight down past your left hip while pivoting on the right foot (B), then return to starting position. That’s one rep; do one set of 15 reps, then repeat while leading in the other direction.
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Split Squat with Twist & Press: Tones abs, lower back, butt, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders
How-to: Stand in split-squat position with your left foot farther forward than your right foot, your knees slightly bent, and your body weight on your front leg. Your hips should be square, with your right heel lifted off the floor. Hold the dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest, elbows bent (A). Straighten both legs while simultaneously rotating through your ribcage to the left, extending your arms and pressing the weight up and over your left shoulder (B); return to previous position. That’s one rep; do one set of 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat. (Having trouble balancing? Take a small step out to the side with your back leg.)
Front Lunge with Side Bend: Tones abs, lower back, butt, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders
How-to: Stand with feet together, holding the dumbbell by the ends with arms extended, elbows slightly bent. Lunge forward with your left leg, bending both knees to 90 degrees; at the same time, swing your arms straight up overhead while keeping elbows slightly bent (A). Brace your core and bend to the left, imagining that you’re bringing your ribs down to meet your hips (B). Bring your arms back to center, then push off your left leg and return to starting position. That’s one rep; do one set of 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Side Lunge & Chop: Tones abs, lower back, butt, hips, quadriceps, hamstrings
How-to: Stand with feet together, holding the dumbbell by the ends with elbows bent and the weight in front of your left shoulder; your torso should be slightly rotated (A). Step out to the right and lower into a side lunge, bending your right knee and hinging at the hips while keeping the left leg long. At the same time, chop the weight down to the outside of your right knee (B). Push strongly into your right foot as you return to starting position. That’s one rep; do one set of 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Step-Back Squat with Circle Chop: Tones abs, lower back, butt, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders
How-to: Stand with feet together, holding the dumbbell by the ends with arms extended down past your hips, elbows slightly bent. Keeping your left foot in place, step your right foot diagonally back and lower into a deep sumo squat; at the same time, bring the weight to your right hip (A). Push off your right foot to return feet to starting position while simultaneously circling the weight around your left ear, behind your head, and to the right ear (B). Chop the weight down to your left hip as you step your left foot diagonally back (keeping right foot in place) and repeat the movements on the opposite side. That’s one rep; do 2 sets of 15 reps.
Connect with Amy at www.amydixonfitness.com, on Facebook at Amy Dixon Fitness, and on Twitter at @amydixonfitness.