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The Best Exercises to Lose Inches Around the Waist

author image Katie Regan
Katie Regan has worked at a handful of daily and weekly newspapers as a general assignment, city beat, and health and science reporter, and has won numerous awards for her writing. She graduated from Western Washington University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.
The Best Exercises to Lose Inches Around the Waist
A young woman is doing core exercises. Photo Credit: XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images

When setting out to trim the waist, many people go on a diet. While losing weight is a factor, to reduce your waist size requires exercise. Losing pounds and inches is a challenge that takes hard work and dedication, but is not an unachievable goal. To target the waist and get the maximum benefits, it’s important to know what exercises are most effective at helping you lose inches.

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Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is a key element when working on losing inches from the waist. Twists, bends, crunches and other core exercises are great at tightening and toning the waist, but nothing takes the inches off like aerobics. When the human body burns fat, it pulls from all your fat cells. It’s impossible to “spot reduce” a particular problem area. Running, bicycling, rowing and swimming are great aerobic workouts, but anything that brings your heart rate up to the target rate for at least 20 minutes will do the trick.

Side Bends

In addition to aerobic workouts, a regime of waist slimming exercises tighten and tone the waist as you lose pounds and inches. One of the best exercises to slim the waist is a side bend. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Place one hand on your hip, and hold a dumbbell or free weight in the other. Bend at the side, letting your hand with the weight reach toward the floor. Be careful not to move the hips so that your waist is getting the workout. Do 20 to 30 repetitions and then switch sides.

Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches simultaneously crunch the stomach while you extend your legs. Lie on the floor with your hands behind your head and your knees bent, as if preparing for a regular crunch. Raise your legs into a “table-top” position, with your knees bent and your shins parallel to the floor. As you raise your upper body to complete a crunch, twist at the waist and bring your elbow in toward the opposite knee. Extend the other leg out straight as you touch the opposite elbow and knee to each other. Twist back to center and bring the leg back to its original position; then repeat on the other side. Do 20 to 30 repetitions.

Waist Crunches

Waist crunches work your abdominal muscles and the side muscles, or obliques. Start out lying on the floor as if prepared for a regular crunch, with your hands behind your head and the knees bent. Bend at the waist, keeping your shoulders flat on the floor. Allow your legs to fall to one side, with one leg resting on the ground and the other leg on top. To work the muscles, keep your upper body straight, and perform a crunch. After 20 to 30 repetitions, move your legs back to center, then to the other side of your body and repeat the exercise.

Waist Twists

Another exercise used to strengthen the abdominal and oblique muscles is the waist twist. Lie on the floor with your knees in table-top position and your palms flat against the floor. Keeping your upper body straight, slowly lower your legs to one side, maintaining the bent-knee position. Lower your legs far as possible without actually touching the floor or twisting your the waist. Pause for a moment, then slowly raise the legs back to a table-top position. Pause for a moment, and repeat on the other side. Do 20 to 30 repetitions.

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