Barre classes, which combine ballet-, Pilates-, and yoga-inspired moves for a total-body toning workout, have been on fire this year. In a typical class you’ll find barre work, which focuses on small, pulsing motions, like leg lifts, that target the stabilizing muscles of your core, as well as mat work and light weights. Try The Booty Barre Plus Abs and Arms ($17.99, amazon.com ) to tone at home.
Kettlebells, those handheld weights reminiscent of little cannonballs, are popping up in gym classes and exercise DVDs everywhere. “Many people assume that throwing a chunk of weight around will work the upper body, which it does, but it’s really all about core strength,” Neporent says. “Moving the kettlebell requires control, which comes from your core.”
If you have 10 minutes, you can whittle your middle with Belly Blasters 10 Minute Solutions ($11.99, Amazon.com). Each of the six tummy-toning sequences is lead by a different trainer to keep things fresh. “You can do a different exercise every workout and A, not get bored, and B, attack your middle from every conceivable angle,” says Liz Neporent, co-author of the recently released Fitness for Dummies, 4th Edition.
You can tone your abs all you want, but no one will see the results of your hard work without a little cardio. The most effective fat burner, according to a recent study in the Journal of Physiology, is interval training, alternating sprints with regular-paced exercise, whether you walk, then speed walk, run, then sprint, etc.
Exhale Core Fusion Cardio Intensity ($13.49, Amazon.com ) features five 10-minute segments that focus on core-engaging moves, like mountain climbers, at a quick pace that gets your blood pumping and muscles quivering. “Core Fusion is all about precision, so you don’t waste a lot of movement. Every move is placed in a very particular way so you get the most from each exercise,” Neporent says.
These resistance bands were developed for Navy SEALs to exercise with anywhere, and these days they can be found in group fitness classes or even ordered online for a workout at home. “You have to have a lot of control, balance and body awareness with TRX,” Neporent says. “You are constantly making small adjustments to your position, which works the core.”
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