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Waist Toning Exercises

Overview

An expanding waistline is one of the primary reasons many people engage in physical activity. Beyond the aesthetic appeal of a "six-pack" of abs, a toned waistline is just plain healthy. People with a waist circumference greater than the circumference of their hips are at greater risk for developing heart-related problems and type 2 diabetes, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Exercise, along with cardiovascular activity and healthy eating habits, can build and tone muscles in the waist.

Seated Russian Twists

Sit on the floor with legs bent to approximately a 45-degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or a dumbbell in your hands. Lean back slightly, and rotate the object from side to side, attempting to touch the floor each time. Increase intensity by raising one or both feet off the ground; maintain upright form while performing these twists.

Side Bends

Stand holding a dumbbell of challenging weight in one hand. Place the other hand behind the head with elbow pointing laterally. Hold the dumbbell next to your thigh with the palm facing in. Slowly bend to the side with the dumbbell, lowering it toward the floor. When you feel your opposite oblique muscle (the muscle along your side) stretching, use your abdominal muscles to return to the beginning position. Bend your knees slightly as you start the move, but do not flex further as you lower the dumbbell.

Reverse Crunches

Lie on a mat in a supine — face-up — position. Bend your knees to a 45-degree angle, with feet together. Extend your arms, and place your palms down, alongside the body. Tighten the abdominal muscles, and raise both knees toward the chest. At the top of the move, your buttocks should rise slightly off the floor. Return feet to floor, and repeat. Increase intensity by performing this move with legs fully extended, placing your hands beneath the lower back for lumbar support.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.