A raise of hands from all who at some point in their life have sought out ways to get their waistline under control. Whether you are looking to slightly tone, burn fat, shape, or get that eight-pack ab you’ve been longing for, training that area is essential for acquiring the result you are looking for. 

While on that road to your picture-perfect body, remember, strengthening goes hand-in-hand along with training, and is crucial for injury prevention.

There is an abundance of core and oblique exercises available out there. Today we are going to focus on six.

First up, Alternating Heel Touches. Even Though this exercise can be performed easily by anyone to activate and strengthen the core muscle, it might be the least method used and the most forgotten. Let’s go over how to perform this exercise, the muscle group it works, and maybe a variation or two, shall we?

Heel Touches is a gentle exercise and quite simple to do. To begin, you would lay on your back; using a mat for comfort if so desired, bend your knees about a 90-degree angle while having your feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your side, with your palm facing inward. Extend your arms, inhale, bend at your midsection to one side. The goal is to touch your heel; exhale as you reach for your heel and focus on contracting the oblique. As you are returning to the starting position, inhale and repeat the steps on the other side. Try to do anywhere from 10-15 repetitions on each side. If you are looking for a challenge, try 25 repetitions on each side. A variation to this exercise to make it a bit more difficult would be adding in some lightweight to the mix.

This exercise can help you strengthen your core, sides, (obliques) belly area, and back. So what do you think? Would you want to give them a try? If so check out this video demonstrating Alternating Heel Touches.

How to do Heel Touches https://youtu.be/VnMXdc85vgA?t=5 

A show of hands, please from those of you out there; who have gotten a membership at a gym but do not use it often enough in order to get those waist slimming results. In that case, the second exercise that will help tone your midsection is Starfish Crunches. This helps target the transverse abdominis, obliques, and rectus abdominis. This exercise provides an added bonus area, the hip flexors, and anterior deltoids.

In order to perform this exercise, begin by laying on your back with your arms and legs stretched out in the shape of an “X.” You can opt for a padded mat for your comfort. Lift one arm up simultaneously with the opposite leg crossing diagonally and attempt to touch your shin. Alternate this move and remember to breathe. Also, remember to work at your flexibility and comfort level. If you are a beginner, then build your way up to a more advanced level (touching toes). Begin with one to three sets, with eight to ten repetitions on each side. More Advanced? Try three to five sets, with fifteen to twenty reps on each side. A variation to this exercise would be the Russian Twist if you are unable to perform this exercise due to health issues. Check out these videos on how to do Starfish Crunches.  

Starfish Crunches https://youtu.be/L9yUGFMkdPs 

Advanced Starfish crunches https://youtu.be/HBB5tf2vndA

Alright, here is an easy one, who would be able to carve out five to ten minutes a day, three to five times a week in the comfort of their home, in order to achieve their desired result: a slimmer, more shapely midsection.

Well, if that is your desire, let’s keep things moving. Next on the list, we have Arm Planks. The name might have to believe this is an exercise focusing solely on the arms, however, this particular exercise gives focus to the abs, legs, and core. When performing this exercise, the abs are trained to give the spine the support it needs, day-in-day-out, resulting in strengthening it. Arm Planks also provide a good stretch to the calves, hamstrings, arches, and shoulders. To perform this exercise, begin by lying face down, with forearms flat on the ground with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Tighten your core and raise yourself off the floor. Keep your core engaged while keeping your body in a straight line. Try not to let your hips drop too low, or raise too high. Now, just breathe and hold the position for approximately fifteen to thirty seconds. Relax for ten to fifteen seconds and restart the process. Attempt to do about five to eight repetitions of fifteen to thirty seconds. If you feel you need more of a challenge, increase the repetitions. Here is a special video: demonstration of Arm Planks.

How to do Arm Planks: https://youtu.be/17ydV85ihp8

Well, if a slimmer, more toned midsection is what you desire; then, may your wish be granted here! Triangle Crunches might just be the thing you are looking for. This form of exercise focuses primarily on the abs, obliques, and core (legs secondarily). 

Side note: the great thing about all of the exercises being discussed here today is there is no equipment needed in order to do them!

To begin the exercise, you would first need to kneel on one knee and use the arm on the same side to hold you up (balance). Now, place the other arm on the side of your head closest to your ear. Next, bend the other knee toward your elbow trying to get them to touch. This one requires a bit of balance. Finally, squeeze and hold and repeat. Try to set a goal for twenty to thirty seconds on each side for a total of two to three repetitions. As it gets easier, challenge yourself and increase the time by ten to fifteen seconds on each side eventually working your way up to one whole minute and beyond.

Remember to keep your neck in a neutral position, tighten your core and exhale as you bring your knee to your elbow; squeeze your abs and obliques. Inhale as you return to the starting position. The benefits here are great. This routine will sculpt your waistline, tone the abdominal wall and even help with balance and flexibility. Here is my gift to you: Triangle Crunches https://youtu.be/9t4bKvpJ2ng

Nearing the end of the list, but I still, have some great waist training exercises for you! So, here is another; Side Crunches. These are also a great choice if you desire a flat healthy midsection. This will surely eliminate those annoying love handles. There are several different variations to choose from depending on your starting level.

To perform this exercise, you first need to lie down on one side of your body (use a mat for added comfort). Next, stack your legs on top of each other and bend your knees. Place the hand you are not lying on behind your head (for support), extend the other arm straight out from your body. Now exhale, contract your abdominal oblique muscles to lift your upper body off the mat, and crunch your side as high as you can go comfortably. 

The goal here is to get your elbow as close to your thigh as possible. Now pause briefly and hold the position. Inhale and go back to the starting point. If you are in the mood for a challenge, lift your knees as you crunch. The goal is to do ten to fifteen repetitions on each side, totaling one to three sets (aim for two to three times a week). Check out the video demonstrating Side Crunches. https://youtu.be/9GRHGnlfJhg

Last, but in no way shape, or form the least. Drum roll please------ Crisscrosses. This exercise is great for building and maintaining core strength. It allows you to engage multiple muscles during the exercise. As an added bonus, it targets your lower body. There are a couple of variations you can try; alternating crisscross from high to low, or opting to do the low crisscross. Today I will be sharing the low crisscross method.

The steps to performing this exercise are as follows: lay on your back with either your arms behind your head, by your sides or, under your glutes for back support. Lift your legs up toward the ceiling, making sure you are pressing your lower back down to engage your abs. Now lower your legs until they are approximately two to four inches off the ground. Next, cross one leg over the other and keep repeating this process (making a crisscross motion). If this position is too challenging, try raising your legs higher. The higher your legs, the easier the exercise.

FYI: this exercise is also known as scissor kicks and flutter kicks.

To get the most out of this exercise, focus on your abs doing the work, not your back. Having a mind-body connection will yield greater results. Aim for two sets of fifteen to twenty repetitions and add this to your routine two to three days a week. As a gift to you, here is a video: crisscross for strong abs. https://youtu.be/6BmO_Uim2n0

Depending on your diet, you should see results on all of these exercises discussed here.

I understand completely how an obstacle can show up unexpectedly on your path; right in the midst of a journey, and throw you off your game. The exercises I’ve shared with you today are to hopefully get you back on track so that you may achieve the goals you have set. My wish for you is: the content shared here will get you on the path of least resistance. Wishing you much Love and Light.

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