Want to show off your hourglass figure in your Big Day outfit? Reclaim your waist with these five fabulous toning exercises from Amanda O’Hare, personal trainer at Fitness First
1. Make the Swiss Ball your best friend: Swiss Balls are the perfect way to strengthen and tighten core muscles, and the best thing about them is their versatility.
A favourite move is the ‘ball exchange’ - lie flat on your back with your arms above your head and legs straight out. Start with a Swiss Ball above your head in your hands. Bring the ball up above your chest, and as you do so, also bring your legs up to meet the ball and place it between your ankles. Bring the ball back down to the floor with your legs and straighten your arms back out over your head.
Repeat 10 – 12 times.
2. Push yourself with mountain climbers: Mountain climbers have a pretty bad rep – mostly because they’re seriously tough! But rest assured, they are 100% worth it and just 60 seconds of them incorporated into your main workout can make a huge impact on your core muscles.
Start in a push up position with your legs outstretched behind you. Bring your right leg up towards your chest, bending at the knee, then lower back into your starting position. Swap over and do the same move with your left leg and try as many repetitions as you can manage in 60 seconds. Remember, technique is really important here so start off slowly, building up your speed over time.
3. Opposite arm and leg raise: this is another simple exercise that doesn’t require specific equipment and can easily be incorporated in to your wider workout routine. Simply take a mat and begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
Raise your left arm out in front of you until it reaches shoulder level and at the same time, extend your right leg out behind you until it reaches hip level. Make sure you’re pulling your stomach in as tightly as you can, hold the position for around 2 counts and then repeat 15 – 20 times, alternating legs and arms as you go.
4. Plank it out: You’re probably already familiar with a regular plank, but if you want to up your ante ahead of the Big Day, try a side plank to really tighten those stomach muscles.
Begin by lying on your left side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and your legs placed with one on top of the other. With your hand on your hip, brace your abs and lift your hips off the floor until you're balancing on your forearm and feet so that your body forms a diagonal line. Always remember to really squeeze your glutes as this will help maintain a strong position and protect your back.
Hold for 30 to 45 seconds and repeat on the other side.
5. Don’t forget your squats! Most people think squats are just for toning your legs and glutes – but the simple squat can help with so much more!. By mixing up your technique slightly, this simple movement can also deliver brilliant results on your waistline too.
Try side squats and reaches. Stand with your legs wide apart and your feet turned out. Keeping your upper body straight, bend your knees into a deep squatting position. Now here comes the twist…as you rise, lift your left arm above your head and stretch over to the right hand side of your body. Repeat this for 60 seconds, alternating between left and right reaches and not only will you feel the burn in your lower body, but you’ll also start to notice your waistline working hard too.