How to Whittle Your Middle

by Jackie on February 8, 2013

During the winter it is easy to cover those extra pounds with layers of bulky clothing.  But spring is just around the corner and we don’t want to be stuck with our muffin tops!  So here are some core-targeting exercises that you can incorporate into your exercise routine.  Start now and you will be ready for the warm weather!  And we better get ready soon because according Punxsutawney Phil an spring is on the way!  Yeah!!!


Here are two 15 minute workouts to target your core.  Complete one of these two quick workouts two or three nonconsecutive days each week to tighten and tone your core!


Circuit 1

Complete each exercise in order resting 15-30 seconds between each move.

The Hundred

Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and your palms facing down.  Exhale and raise your head and shoulders off the mat.  Vigorously pump your arms 6 inches up and down, reaching with your fingertips.  Inhale for 5 pumps, and then exhale for 5 pumps.  Be sure to curl your chin in toward your chest.  Do 100 pumps, or 10 full breaths, while keeping your lower back pressed down toward the floor.

Rope Climb

Sit with legs extended, feet turned out in a V position, toes pointed.  Contract core muscles and roll spine into a C-curve.  Lift arms and move them as if you were climbing a rope.  Twist slightly with each reach.  Alternate sides until you complete 20 reps on each side.

Side Crunch

Begin with left knee and left hand on the floor, right arm straight up.  Extend right leg so your body forms a straight line.  Pull right knee toward torso and right elbow toward knee.  Straighten arm and leg. Repeat 10 times then repeat on the other side 10 more times.

The Banana

Lie on floor with your legs together, arms extended overhead, and belly button pulled in toward spine.  Keeping your head between your arms, slowly raise upper body and legs off floor to form a gentle banana-like curve.  Hold for 50 counts.  Don’t hold your breath and concentrate on holding your abs in.

Circle Plank

Start in a plank position with abs tight. Pull right knee in and circle it clockwise, then counterclockwise. Keep the rest of your body stationary.  Repeat five times, then switch legs and repeat five more times.


Circuit 2

Complete each exercise in order and rest for 15-30 seconds between each move.  Repeat the entire circuit twice.

Plank plus

Get on the floor, prop yourself up on your forearms, and flex your toes. Your body should form a straight line.  Contract your abs and glutes tightly.  Hold this for 15 seconds, then rest by lowering your knees to the ground for five seconds.  Repeat 10 times.

Oblique V-up

Lie on your left side, legs angled 30 degrees from your hips.  Rest your left arm on the floor and put your right hand behind your head.  Lift your straight legs off the floor, bringing your torso toward your legs. Slowly return to the starting position.  Repeat for 20 to 25 reps on each side.


Lying on your back, arms extended overhead and legs straight, tighten your core and raise your shoulders and legs about six inches off the ground.  Hold for 15 seconds.  Then roll onto your belly, keeping your arms and legs off the ground, as if you’re flying.  Hold for 15 seconds, then roll back to the starting position.   Repeat five times.

Leg Lift

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees pointed outward, and soles of your feet touching. Staying in this pose, slowly raise your legs until your toes are pointed toward the ceiling and your hips are slightly off the floor.  Slowly return to starting position.  Repeat 20 to 25 times.

Repeat entire circuit one more time.


After working your core, try these ab stretches.  You can do them right after exercising, or the next day when you’re so sore it hurts to laugh!


The Cobra

Lie face down on the floor your hands at your sides.  Bend both of your arms and place your palms on the floor.  Engage your glutes and slowly lift your torso off of the floor using your back muscles while pressing your arms away from the floor while keeping your hips and pelvis down on the floor.  Lift your head back and look at the ceiling as you lock your elbows and press your chest out.


Exercise Ball Ab Stretch

Sit on an exercise ball, lean back, and walk your feet out so the ball is now underneath your spine.  Keep your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart for stability.  Slowly walk your feet away from you to straighten your legs.  Extend your arms overhead to increase the stretch.  Take long deep breath as you relax and stretch your abs.  To release, walk your feet in and sit up.



Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I'm a fitness nut. I know what you're thinking, one of these people who has never been fat a day in her life, and can eat whatever she wants. The truth is I struggled with my weight growing up and lived in a household where everything seemed to be fried. Once I got away from home I realized I had the choice to eat and exercise how I wanted. I've gained a lot of insight into working as a personal trainer, and feel I can relate to others that were in my situation. I think if I can do it then you can to, and if you want to start kicking butt then hop on board and lets get started.

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