Tone, Tighten, and Torch Calories!
How it works: Up to four days a week, do these moves as a circuit (back to back with little rest in between) after a cardio session or within your strength routine. Repeat the entire series 2 to 3 times total.
You'll need: A beach towel (or full-length bath towel).
Sit with knees bent, feet flat, holding towel pulled tight overhead. Brace abs in tight and hinge body back while scooping towel down to right side of body, tracing a circle from back to front.
Bring body back upright as towel circles overhead (that's one rep), then immediately repeat hinge and scoop down to left side. Do 20 alternating circles.
Extended 'Slow-Mo' Crunch
Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat. Fold towel until it's a small square and place under lower back, positioning the bottom edge just above hip bones. Clasp hands behind head and inhale.
As you exhale, slowly (take 3 full counts to raise up) lift head and shoulders off the floor, looking straight ahead at legs. Hold for 1 count, and then slowly (counting to 3 again) lower to start position. That's one rep. Repeat 10 times total.
Lie faceup with arms extended, elbows slightly bent, into a wide 'V' overhead (open arms to the end of your towel's length), with towel pulled tight behind head.
Extend legs out at a 45-degree angle, bending right knee and pressing the inner edge of right foot against inside of left knee.
Lift head and shoulders off the floor. Keeping abdominals engaged, gently 'rock' to the right, balancing on right hip, using the right arm and your abs to help stop the movement. Return to center. Repeat 10 times to the right, and then do 10 reps to the left.
Start on all fours with the towel folded and placed under feet. Draw belly button into spine to engage abs and slightly lift knees off the ground (don't let hips lift up in the air).
Press out through heels, sliding legs out into a full plank position (avoid sagging or lifting hips—body should make a line from heels to head). Brace abs in tighter and slide legs back in to start position (knees still hovering). That's one rep. Try up to 15 reps (or as many in a row as you can with great form).
Lie on right side, right arm extended under ear and palm pressed on folded towel. Place left hand on floor in front of chest, legs extended under hips.
Engage abs and press right hand into the towel to lift torso off the floor while sliding towel in toward body (right arm stays extended as it slides in), using left hand for support. Avoid letting your right shoulder come up as you lift body. Hold for 1 count, and then slide back out to start position. Do 15 reps on the right, and then repeat on the left.
Sit with knees bent, towel wrapped under knees, holding both ends with arms bent by sides. Brace abs in tight and lean back slightly to lift feet off floor (body should resemble a 'V' in this position). Slowly lower back to floor and extend legs out at a 45-degree angle (keep holding onto towel for support). Lower until back touches the floor (head and shoulders stay lifted). Hold for 1 count, and then use abs (towel assists) to sit back up to starting 'V' position. Do 10 reps.
Want more of a challenge? Extend arms overhead in 'V' position, holding towel tight, and as you lean back to extend legs, lower towel to the tops of thighs. Sit back up, reaching arms overhead again.
Single-Leg Cross Slide
From a straight-arm plank position (with towel folded under feet), shift into a single-leg plank by bending left knee into chest and pressing inside of foot against inside of right knee.
Engage abs and bend right knee, sliding towel in, so that both knees come to the outside of left elbow. Slide and extend right leg back out into single-leg plank. That's one rep. Do 10 reps on the right, and then repeat on the left.
Photography by: Vanessa Rogers
source:shape.com By Jessica Smith