News flash: Strong muscle curves look good on everyone. (Just look at these strong ladies who make muscles look drop-dead sexy.) By building strength in key areas (your shoulders, butt, and legs), you can make your body appear more shapely.
This strength circuit incorporates dynamic, balance-based exercises that will engage your whole body—while also tightening the muscles around your stomach to help define your waist. If you're looking for a more intense ab burn, add this five-minute waist-sculpting ab routine at the end of your workout too. (Don't forget: Diet is just as important—if not more—than exercise for losing belly fat. Follow these healthy eating tips to help reduce belly fat without going on a torturous diet.)
How it works: Up to four days per week, do 1 set of each exercise back to back, with no rest between moves. Do the full circuit 3 times, resting 45 to 60 seconds between circuits if needed.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Squat to Rotating Press
Stand with feet slightly wider than hips, holding dumbbells together in front of body. Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat, reaching dumbbells to the floor.
Press through heels to extend legs as you curl weights up into chest, drawing abs in tight. Immediately press weights overhead as upper body rotates right, pivoting left heel up (palms should be facing in with arms slightly in front of head in full extension). Immediately return to starting position; repeat on opposite side to complete 1 rep.
2. Reaching Row
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand in a split stance with right foot forward. Lower into a lunge, hinging forward from hips about 45 degrees (be sure to keep back naturally straight), reaching dumbbells down toward feet with palms facing thighs. Bend left elbow behind body, opening elbow out to side, pulling weight in front of shoulder.
As left arm extends back to floor, bend right elbow behind body to switch sides, moving arms quickly. That's 1 rep. Do all reps on the first side, then repeat with opposite foot forward. Keep abs drawn in tight and allow torso to rotate slightly from side to side during row.
3. Curtsy Curl
Grab a dumbbell in left hand and shift weight onto left leg. Cross right leg behind left and lower into a curtsy lunge, bending both knees (keep most of bodyweight in left leg), hinging slightly forward from hips, reaching dumbbell to the outside of left leg.
Rise up out of lunge, extending right leg out to side as left leg straightens, rotating torso to the right as left elbow bends to curl the weight across chest. Immediately return to starting position; repeat. Do all reps on the left, then repeat on the right to complete 1 set.
4. Balancing Triceps Extension
Grab a pair of dumbbells and balance on right leg with knee slightly bent, left leg extended low behind hip. Hold the dumbbells behind head, with elbows bent in close to ears (if it's too challenging with both weights, hold only one dumbbell).
Draw abs in tighter and bend left knee in front of hip as arms extend to ceiling (weights will be slightly in front of head at the top). Without lowering left foot to the floor (unless needed for balance), slowly return to starting position; repeat. Do all reps on the first side, then repeat on the opposite leg to complete 1 set.
5. Side Plank with Reach Under
Grab a dumbbell in left hand and get into a side plank, propping upper body up on right elbow and forearm. Bend bottom knee for support and raise hips until body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Extend left arm up to ceiling above shoulder, looking up at hand.
Keeping hips steady and abs drawn in tight, reach under and behind torso with left hand (eyes should follow left hand), then lift arm back to the starting position. That's 1 rep. Do all reps on the right, then repeat on opposite side to complete the set.