Many women want to tone their middle and get rid of excess jiggle in this area. Besides being good for your health, a toned midsection improves your balance and makes your day-to-day activities easier. Heel dips are an easy exercise to include in your core routine. They work your stomach muscles at the same time as your leg muscles -- great for when you're short on time to exercise.
You don't need anything but a flight of stairs or an exercise stool to do heel dips, so fit them in whenever you have time, such as while dinner cooks, the shower warms up or you're on your lunch break. To do the move, stand on a step with your heels hanging off. Hold the stair rail or a sturdy piece of equipment to stabilize yourself. Slowly lower your heels an inch or two, hold the position for a several seconds and return to the starting position. Dip both heels at the same time or alternate back and forth.
How They Work
Most people equate heel dips with a lower body workout. While it's true that heel dips target your calves, quads and hamstrings, they also activate your core. Place one hand on your stomach as you lower and raise your heels and you'll be able to feel your muscles working. This is because heel dips require balance, which makes your stomach muscles work to keep you from falling down. To boost the benefit, do heel dips with one leg while you slightly lift the other one off the step.
Many women make the mistake of thinking that they have to do hours of core work, including heel dips, every week to see progress. In some cases, more isn't better. Most of the time, you'll get the results you want with just two or three strength training sessions that include your core each week. Take a day off between core workouts to give your muscles time to repair and recover, which is when progress happens. If you do a core workout every day, you slow your results because your ab muscles aren't getting any time to recuperate.
Sets and Repetitions
For most women starting out on a core exercise routine, just one set of 12 heel dips is enough to produce results in two or three weeks. For women who already engage in regular core workouts, do up to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions to keep your progress on track. While heel dips are beneficial for your core, they probably aren't going to get you back into your skinny jeans by themselves. Combine heel dips with other ab exercises, like crunches and planks, to get the most benefit.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.