An expanding waistline isn’t just concerning because your favorite pants no longer fit well, but because a fat stomach is connected with numerous health issues including a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes, and a doubled risk of premature death. But losing belly fat isn’t always easy. While your diet is the most important contributor to obesity, staying active is crucial as well. Luckily, there are a number of exercises to reduce waist fat you can do right at home!

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Though most people just think about the abs that are visible when a person has a six pack, there are actually four different sets of abdominal muscles that work together to support your stomach and back. The rectus abdominis muscles are two sheets of muscle that run from the pelvis to the ribs, and these muscles help you bend forward. Both the internal and external obliques run diagonally along your sides, starting at the outer edge of your ribs and wrapping inwards towards the hips. Below both the rectus abdominis and the abdominal obliques is the transverse abdominis, which wraps around the waist like a corset. This muscle supports the spine, but is also the muscle mostly responsible for holding the torso tightly together. In order to get a slim waist, it is necessary to actually work out all four of these muscle sets instead of just focusing on building the rectus abdominis muscles.

1. Corkscrew:

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Now before you give up just because of the name, this routine is actually pretty awesome as it involves you using the core of your stomach muscles in movement. It also helps to strengthen your arms, neck and shoulders.

How To Do:

  • Lay flat on your back with arms at your side.
  • Straighten your legs, squeeze them together and slowly lift them towards your head.
  • Be sure that your shoulders, arms, and head lie completely flat on the floor.
  • Do not lift them as you lift your legs, and your body and legs should be at about a 45 degree angle.
  • Slowly roll your spine, leaning your legs slightly to the right. Make sure your legs are squeezed together.
  • Move your legs back to the center without putting them on the floor.
  • Make the same lean to the left. Continue going from side to side.
  • Complete 10 reps, three sets, inhaling slowly and freezing for two seconds on each side.

2. Reach & Catch Crunch:

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How to Do:

  • Start by lying down on your back and then pull your feet in toward your torso (keeping your feet together), so that your knees are raised off the floor.
  • Take both hands and place them on your right thigh, your shoulder blades should be slightly off the floor.
  • Crunch your abs, pulling your hands up your right thigh until they reach your knee.
  • Pretend as if you were catching a ball being tossed to your side. Slowly lower back to the starting position.
  • Slide your hands over to your left thigh and repeat the movement for one to two minutes.
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