Many women call their waist a trouble zone. You might not like the way your clothes look and feel, but carrying excess fat around your middle also ups the odds of several health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Weight training is a good way to tone and define the muscles in your core, but probably won't cause weight loss in the area by itself. Combine it with a healthy diet and cardio for the best results.
Using the wrong size weight isn't going to do too much for your waist. Weights that are too light slow progress, but weights that are too heavy may interfere with performance and increase the risk of hurting yourself. The right weight allows you to complete one set of 12 repetitions with good form, though the final two or three might be difficult. If this is too easy, move to a heavier pound load. If it's too hard, reduce your weight size. As you get stronger, progress to heavier weights.
Many weight training moves target the muscles around your waist, giving you plenty of options. Mix and match the exercises to create a well-rounded workout that will have you showing off your whittled waist in no time. Sit on the floor and do trunk rotations while holding a dumbbell with both hands. Lie on a stability ball and do chest presses and flyes while holding a weight in each hand. Hold dumbbells in your hands while doing lunges and squats, which makes your abs work harder. At the gym, use the cable weight machine to do trunk rotations and hip abductions. MayoClinic.com recommends at least one set of 12 repetitions of each exercise. Increase the number of sets as you get stronger.
A strong and sculpted waist is beneficial in many ways. It protects your health and makes you look healthier. But you'll get even more out of it. Over time, you'll find many day-to-day tasks easier, particularly those that require bending, lifting and twisting. A strong waist also reduces your risk of back pain and improves posture and balance. Sticking to a regular weight-training routine that targets your abs maximizes these benefits and makes you look and feel better.
Yes, ab exercises that require weights are great for toning your middle. However, if you have excess flab on your waist, you'll need cardio exercise to burn the fat and uncover the muscles. Most women need at least 2 1/2 hours of cardio each week. Walking, running, swimming and biking are good choices. In addition, if you follow your workout with a burger and fries, you may be undoing all your hard work. Eating too many calories contributes to weight gain. On the other hand, sticking to a well-balanced diet gives your body the fuel it needs for weight training and helps you control your weight.
- Harvard Health Publications: The Real World Benefits of Strengthening Your Core
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
- Fitness: Waist Management: How to Lose Belly Fat for Good
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
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.