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Shrink Your Muffin Top! Fat-Blasting Workout

So Long Love Handles!

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Fave jeans a little snug? When it comes to banishing waistband bulge, the best strategy is to use moves that engage multiple muscle groups at once. Miami-based fitness expert Jessica Smith, star of the 10 Pounds DOWN: Cardio Abs DVD, designed this routine that combines calorie-torching cardio and super-effective core sculptors to help you melt that muffin top fast. Start today and in a few weeks, you'll be slipping into those skinnies with ease!

You'll need: A set of moderately heavy dumbbells (5-15 lbs, depending on your level)

How it works: Do 1 set of the recommended number of reps for each move back-to-back. Once you finish the last move, rest for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the full circuit 2 more times (3 circuits total). For best results, do this workout on four non-consecutive days per week (alternating with three days of your favorite cardio workout), in addition to a healthy diet.

Waist-Slimming Squat

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Squats are a great exercise for sculpting your whole body, and the extra chop and swing motion in this move means your abs will be working overtime. Plus, the powerful pace puts your heart rate in the cardio zone (zapping fat faster)!

Reps: 15/side

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding the ends of one dumbbell. As you push your hips back and lower into a squat, bend your arms and "chop" the dumbbell across your body to the outside of your left hip. As you press back up to standing, extend your arms and swing the dumbbell over to the right side of your body, turning your torso to the right (the dumbbell should stay at chest level as you twist), pivoting your left heel off the floor, and rotating your left hip to power the swing. Quickly return to your squat and repeat the chop.

Form tip: Brace your abs in tight as you perform the swing. It should feel as though your abs are catching the dumbbell at the top of the movement.

60-second cardio burst: When you've finished 15 reps/side, do as many jumping jacks as you can in a row until 1 minute is up.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography

Core Control Rear Lunge

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This amped-up lunge targets your arms, shoulders, legs, glutes, and core.

Reps: 15/side

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and stand with your feet together. Extend your right arm overhead, palm facing forward, and your left arm straight out to the side at shoulder height. Step your left leg back into a low lunge, keeping your arm straight up and abs tight. Slowly rise up and lift your left knee in front of your body, bending your right elbow in until your knee and elbow are almost touching. Keep your balance and extend your left leg behind you (without touching the floor) as you press your right arm overhead. That's one rep. Do 15 reps on the first side, and then switch legs and repeat.

Form tip: As you bend your elbow to your knee, focus on exhaling and pulling your belly button in to deeply engage your abs and help you balance.

60-second cardio burst: Run in place, driving your knees as high as you can toward your chest and pumping your arms, as quickly as possible until 1 minute is up.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography

Belly-Blasting Biceps Curl

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To blast belly fat, you need to develop more lean muscle all over your body, not just in your midsection. This move keeps your legs and abs working while sculpting stronger, slimmer arms.

Reps: 15/side

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and shift your weight to your right leg. Extend your left leg out to the side, toe pointed. Curl the dumbbell up as you turn your torso to the left and lift your left knee across to your right arm. Slowly untwist and return your arm and leg to start.

Form tip: Exhale on the twist and curl movement, imagining you are squeezing the front of your rib cage together as you turn your body into your knee. As you untwist, keep your abs braced in tight as you inhale and lower your foot lightly to the floor.

60-second cardio burst: Jump rope (if you don't have a rope, just pretend!) for one minute.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography

Cardio Core Crawl

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This fast-paced move pumps up your heart rate and strengthens your core at the same time.

Reps: 20, alternating sides each time

How to do it: Start on your hands and knees, with your abs braced in tight. Keeping your back naturally arched, lift your knees a few inches off the ground (without pushing your hips up in the air). Quickly step your right hand forward on the floor, slightly in front of your right shoulder, as you bend your left knee up towards your chest, lift your foot off the ground. Keep your abs tight and your hips below your shoulders the entire time. Step your foot back to the floor as you return your hand back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. That's one rep. Continue alternating sides as quickly as you can for 20 reps total.

Form tip: If it's too challenging to do this move with your knees off the floor, try lightly resting them on the ground until you are able to do more.

60-second cardio burst: Do another set of jumping jacks (get creative with this set, you can make them scissor jacks, or travel your basic jack from side to side or forward and back) for 1 minute.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography

Turkish Plank Push

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Sculpt your shoulders, arms, abs, and hips with this total-body plank variation.

Reps: 15/side

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and sit on your left hip, left leg extended out straight under you, foot flexed. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor just behind your left leg. Place your left hand directly below your shoulder and in line with your left hip to support your body. Bend your right elbow so that it's lightly touching your left thigh, palm facing forward. Press the weight straight up, extending your arm to the ceiling as you lift your hips off the floor. Your left leg should stay straight with the edge of your foot on the ground the entire time. Push up with your right leg (knee stays bent, your right heel lifts slightly) for support. Slowly lower back down, bending your arm back to start, and lightly tap your left hip to the floor (don't rest on it at the bottom). Immediately repeat.

Form tip: Instead of using your supporting arm to lift, focus on lifting up with the bottom side of your torso to really engage your core muscles.

60-second cardio burst: Run in place again, but this time position your feet slightly wider than your hips (as if you were standing in two tires), and push side to side as you drive your knees up. Continue for 1 minute.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography

Lawnmower Lunge

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What happens when you combine a classic upper-body exercise with a super-effective lower-body toner? Major core activation! And you'll also work your back, legs, and glutes.

Reps: 15/side

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and stand in a split stance with your left foot forward, right heel lifted off the floor. Reach both arms toward the floor as you hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back naturally arched, and lower into a lunge position. Shift your weight into your front leg and rise up out of your lunge, lifting your back leg off the floor to hip height as you row the dumbbell to the left side of your body. Slowly lower back down into your lunge position, returning to start, and repeat.

Form tip: If it's too challenging to lift your back leg up, start by keeping your toes lightly touching the ground as you perform the row.

60-second cardio burst: Jump rope (real or imaginary) and try some new footwork this time—add a boxer jump or try a crossover move.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography

Triceps Crunch

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This move targets your triceps and works the abdominal wall to give you both flat abs and toned arms.

Reps: 15

How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie faceup on the floor with your arms straight above you, palms facing in. Bend your hips and knees 90 degrees. Keep your elbows pointed forward and about shoulder-width apart as you lower the dumbbells just outside your ears. Brace your abs in tight and lower your legs slightly towards the floor (maintaining the 90-degree bend in your knees). Slowly extend your arms straight up over your shoulders, as you lift your head and shoulders off the floor and bring your knees in closer to your chest.

Form tip: Be sure to keep your lower back pressed into the floor as you lower your legs in preparation for the crunch. If it's too tough to crunch up during the extension, do the move with your head and shoulders resting on the ground.

60-second cardio burst: Repeat your favorite cardio burst (jacks, running, or jumping rope) for 1 minute before repeating the entire circuit again.

Photo: Vanessa Rogers Photography


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