3 Moves For Flat Abs by Halloween

3 Moves For Flat Abs by Halloween

With Halloween parties on the way| it’s time to get (or keep) those abs in tip-top shape! The next time you hit the gym or go to stretch after a workout| bring these three ab exercises to your usual routine. This combination doesn’t take very long| nor does it require equipment (commercial break activity| anyone?)| but the combination of the three will tighten and tone your tummy in no time| so you can rock that costume or LBD with confidence.

| Russian Twist

Russian twists are a great way to tone your abs| especially your obliques. You can do them without equipment| but for quicker results| try holding a dumbbell or adding a medicine ball at chest height. Watch this video for a few Russian twist variations| or follow these steps:

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your bum.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important| and difficult| to keep your back straight| so don’t let it curve.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands holding either side of the dumbbell. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your ribcage.
  • Pull your navel to your spine| and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating| not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center| and rotate to the right. This completes one rep. Lift your feet off the ground for a more advanced variation.
  • Do 16 full rotations.

Related: A Lazy-Girl Workout You’ll Love

| Toe Touches

If you often do traditional crunches| try bumping up the intensity with toe touches. The challenge here is trying not to bend your knees to fully target your upper abs. Follow these easy steps:

  • Lie on your back on the floor. Raise your arms to your ears or directly above your chest.
  • Without lifting your hips from the ground| raise your legs| holding them there throughout the set.
  • Use your abs to slowly curl your shoulders off the ground| bringing your fingertips to your toes. Now slowly lower your shoulders to the ground| pausing at the starting position to complete one rep. Don’t use your neck as momentum to make the motion.
  • Do 20 reps.

| Elbow Plank

A traditional elbow plank offers total-body tone and is a great way to target your entire middle. There are many variations to challenge your plank| but first master the basic elbow plank following these steps:

  • Start on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
  • Step your feet out one at a time| coming into a plank position.
  • Contract your abs to prevent your booty from sticking up or sinking. Your spine should be parallel to the floor| with your abs pulling toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds; work your way up to one minute as you build strength.

Related: The Ultimate List of the Best Bodyweight Exercises

Change the Way You Do the Plank For a Six-Pack, Fast

You’ve probably done an elbow plank so many times by now that you know the drill by heart: straight back, belly button pulled in, and palms flat on your mat (trying not to clasp them in prayer pose if possible). But Cassandra Bodlak, group exercise manager at Equinox Sports Club, recommends her clients do a slight modification that’s a little more challenging: when in elbow plank, flip your hands over so your palms are facing up.

Pressing through an elbow plank with palms facing down will help keep back muscles engaged and clasping hands together in a fist will enlist your chest muscles to help stabilize you, but flipping your hands over will make your plank even more about the core, Cassandra explains. “Performing a plank with palms up [will] disengage some of the support from the muscles of the hand and forearm,” she says. In other words, simply moving your hands will help you get on the fast track to sculpted abs.

Related: Tone Your Entire Body With This 1 Move

Another reason to go palms up? You’ll help unround those hunched-over shoulders. “It takes the pronator teres (one of the major forearm muscles) and positions it in what is called the ‘anatomical position’ (palms forward when standing, palms up when prone in a plank), which is the most desirable position in which to function,” Cassandra explains. “We are all busy typing on keyboards these days, encouraging a particular position of the forearm: palms down. Simply repositioning the forearms in your plank helps to create a balance.”

Sculpted abs and looking taller are two great reasons to try the “palms up” modification the next time you’re in an elbow plank, but don’t worry if making this change has you collapsing into Child’s Pose sooner than you’re used to. Cassandra offers this encouragement: “When you perform a plank, perform it to the best of your ability in the moment you’re in ¡ª palms in prayer, palms flat, or palms up, it’s probably one more plank than you did yesterday, right? Keep it up!”

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Change the Way You Do the Plank For a Six-Pack, Fast

You’ve probably done an elbow plank so many times by now that you know the drill by heart: straight back| belly button pulled in| and palms flat on your mat (trying not to clasp them in prayer pose if possible). But Cassandra Bodlak| group exercise manager at Equinox Sports Club| recommends her clients do a slight modification that’s a little more challenging: when in elbow plank| flip your hands over so your palms are facing up.

Pressing through an elbow plank with palms facing down will help keep back muscles engaged and clasping hands together in a fist will enlist your chest muscles to help stabilize you| but flipping your hands over will make your plank even more about the core| Cassandra explains. “Performing a plank with palms up [will] disengage some of the support from the muscles of the hand and forearm|” she says. In other words| simply moving your hands will help you get on the fast track to sculpted abs.

Related: Tone Your Entire Body With This 1 Move

Another reason to go palms up? You’ll help unround those hunched-over shoulders. “It takes the pronator teres (one of the major forearm muscles) and positions it in what is called the ‘anatomical position’ (palms forward when standing| palms up when prone in a plank)| which is the most desirable position in which to function|” Cassandra explains. “We are all busy typing on keyboards these days| encouraging a particular position of the forearm: palms down. Simply repositioning the forearms in your plank helps to create a balance.”

Sculpted abs and looking taller are two great reasons to try the “palms up” modification the next time you’re in an elbow plank| but don’t worry if making this change has you collapsing into Child’s Pose sooner than you’re used to. Cassandra offers this encouragement: “When you perform a plank| perform it to the best of your ability in the moment you’re in ¡ª palms in prayer| palms flat| or palms up| it’s probably one more plank than you did yesterday| right? Keep it up!”

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

2 Ways to a Better Butt: Hilly Treadmill Walk-Run

Our Better-Butt Challenge has 21 days of workouts to help you take your butt from flat to full. In the end, you’ll have a tighter, stronger backside. Today is all about cardio! Be sure to check back tomorrow when we share the next workout of this three-week plan.

It’s time to hop on the treadmill; not only will today’s workouts help build a strong, shapely backside, but a dose of cardio will burn calories and melt away fat to help show off all that tone. Today, choose from two workouts depending on your running skill ¡ª a hilly treadmill run or a slower walk on higher inclines.

Rolling Hills

This rolling hills workout works your backside while burning major calories, too.

Time Speed/MPH Incline

0:00-5:005.01.05:00-8:006:51.08:00-13:006.03.013:00-15:006.51.015:00-18:006.04.018:00-20:006.51.020:00-23:006.05.023:00-25:006.51.025:00-28:006.03.028:00-30:006.51.030:00-33:006.05.033:00-38:005.01.0

Walking Hike

Not a runner? Try this walking treadmill workout that will ensure you feel the burn.

Time Speed Incline

0:00¨C5:003.02.05:00¨C8:003.54.08:00¨C11:004.05.011:00¨C16:004.58.016:00¨C21:004.010.021:00¨C26:004.58.026:00¨C31:004.510.031:00¨C34:004.08.034:00¨C37:003.510.037:00¨C40:003.55.040:00¨C45:003.02.0

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

2 Ways to a Better Butt: Hilly Treadmill Walk-Run

Our Better-Butt Challenge has 21 days of workouts to help you take your butt from flat to full. In the end| you’ll have a tighter| stronger backside. Today is all about cardio! Be sure to check back tomorrow when we share the next workout of this three-week plan.

It’s time to hop on the treadmill; not only will today’s workouts help build a strong| shapely backside| but a dose of cardio will burn calories and melt away fat to help show off all that tone. Today| choose from two workouts depending on your running skill ¡ª a hilly treadmill run or a slower walk on higher inclines.

Rolling Hills

This rolling hills workout works your backside while burning major calories| too.

Time Speed/MPH Incline

0:00-5:005.01.05:00-8:006:51.08:00-13:006.03.013:00-15:006.51.015:00-18:006.04.018:00-20:006.51.020:00-23:006.05.023:00-25:006.51.025:00-28:006.03.028:00-30:006.51.030:00-33:006.05.033:00-38:005.01.0

Walking Hike

Not a runner? Try this walking treadmill workout that will ensure you feel the burn.

Time Speed Incline

0:00C5:003.02.05:00C8:003.54.08:00C11:004.05.011:00C16:004.58.016:00C21:004.010.021:00C26:004.58.026:00C31:004.510.031:00C34:004.08.034:00C37:003.510.037:00C40:003.55.040:00C45:003.02.0

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

Intensify Your Push-Ups For a Natural Breast Lift

The push-up. It’s a classic calisthenic exercise with so many benefits! It works your arms, chest, and core like no other bodyweight move. And working your pecs, the muscle directly under your breasts, gives the area a bit of lift. And who doesn’t want to fight effects of gravity? You can change your hand positions to focus the work on different muscles, but if you want to truly challenge your pecs, try elevating your feet.

Related: 12 Ways to Push Your Push-Ups

I like to put my feet on a bench, or sturdy chair, that puts my shoulders and hips in one line, perpendicular to the floor. The higher your feet, the harder the push-up.

Start in a plank position with your feet on a weight bench, park bench, or sturdy chair. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.Pull your abs in and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your core. Inhale and bend your elbows to lower your head toward the floor; exhale, pulling navel to the spine, and straighten your arms, returning to plank.For an even more intense challenge, place your feet on an exercise ball. The instability of the ball will challenge your core even more.

Related: The Intense Push-Up Variation That’ll Change the Way Your Abs Look

This variation is challenging, but push yourself to try to do as many elevated push-ups in a set as you do with your feet flat on the floor. But in pushing yourself, do not sacrifice your form. If you start sagging in your low back, take a break.

Related: This Push-Up Challenge Will Make You Insanely Stronger in 30 Days

Image Source: Megan Wolfe Photography

Intensify Your Push-Ups For a Natural Breast Lift

The push-up. It’s a classic calisthenic exercise with so many benefits! It works your arms| chest| and core like no other bodyweight move. And working your pecs| the muscle directly under your breasts| gives the area a bit of lift. And who doesn’t want to fight effects of gravity? You can change your hand positions to focus the work on different muscles| but if you want to truly challenge your pecs| try elevating your feet.

Related: 12 Ways to Push Your Push-Ups

I like to put my feet on a bench| or sturdy chair| that puts my shoulders and hips in one line| perpendicular to the floor. The higher your feet| the harder the push-up.

Start in a plank position with your feet on a weight bench| park bench| or sturdy chair. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.Pull your abs in and squeeze your glutes to stabilize your core. Inhale and bend your elbows to lower your head toward the floor; exhale| pulling navel to the spine| and straighten your arms| returning to plank.For an even more intense challenge| place your feet on an exercise ball. The instability of the ball will challenge your core even more.

Related: The Intense Push-Up Variation That’ll Change the Way Your Abs Look

This variation is challenging| but push yourself to try to do as many elevated push-ups in a set as you do with your feet flat on the floor. But in pushing yourself| do not sacrifice your form. If you start sagging in your low back| take a break.

Related: This Push-Up Challenge Will Make You Insanely Stronger in 30 Days

Image Source: Megan Wolfe Photography

How Long It Takes to Burn Off Your Favorite Fun-Size Treat

Those bags of Halloween treats don’t have to taunt you; sweat off a few fun-size indulgences on your next workout. Check out just how many of your favorite fun-size candies you’re burning off at your next workout!

All calorie counts are based on a 130-pound woman.

To Burn Off . . . You Need to Do . . .

Charleston Chew (30 calories)10 minutes of leisurely walking (2.5 mph)Nestle’s Crunch or York Peppermint Patty (60 calories each)25 minutes of yoga3 Musketeers (63 calories)26 minutes of PilatesHershey’s milk chocolate bar (67 calories)15 minutes of dancingKit Kat (70 calories)10 minutes of rowing (moderate effort)Regular M&M’s (67 calories)9 minutes of jumping jacksHeath bar (77 calories)12 minutes of aerobicsMilky Way, Mounds, Snickers, or Twix (80 calories each)9 minutes on the ellipticalButterfinger or Baby Ruth (85 calories each)10 minutes of ZumbaPeanut M&M’s or Mr. Goodbar (90 calories each)13 minutes of hiking100 Grand (95 calories)10 minutes of kickboxingTake 5 (100 calories)17 minutes of leisurely bike riding (10-12 mph)Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (110 calories)7 minutes of jogging (10-minute-mile pace)

Image Source: Flickr user befuddledsenses

How Long It Takes to Burn Off Your Favorite Fun-Size Treat

Those bags of Halloween treats don’t have to taunt you; sweat off a few fun-size indulgences on your next workout. Check out just how many of your favorite fun-size candies you’re burning off at your next workout!

All calorie counts are based on a 130-pound woman.

To Burn Off . . . You Need to Do . . .

Charleston Chew (30 calories)10 minutes of leisurely walking (2.5 mph)Nestle’s Crunch or York Peppermint Patty (60 calories each)25 minutes of yoga3 Musketeers (63 calories)26 minutes of PilatesHershey’s milk chocolate bar (67 calories)15 minutes of dancingKit Kat (70 calories)10 minutes of rowing (moderate effort)Regular M&M’s (67 calories)9 minutes of jumping jacksHeath bar (77 calories)12 minutes of aerobicsMilky Way| Mounds| Snickers| or Twix (80 calories each)9 minutes on the ellipticalButterfinger or Baby Ruth (85 calories each)10 minutes of ZumbaPeanut M&M’s or Mr. Goodbar (90 calories each)13 minutes of hiking100 Grand (95 calories)10 minutes of kickboxingTake 5 (100 calories)17 minutes of leisurely bike riding (10-12 mph)Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (110 calories)7 minutes of jogging (10-minute-mile pace)

Image Source: Flickr user befuddledsenses

Today’s Better-Butt Challenge Workout: Boost Your Backside With Weights

Today’s Better-Butt Challenge Workout: Boost Your Backside With Weights

Our Better-Butt Challenge has 21 days of workouts to help you take your butt from flat to full. In the end, you’ll have a tighter, stronger backside. Be sure to check back tomorrow when we share the next workout of this three-week plan.

This quick and effective workout will build butt muscle while working your entire body. Adding dumbbells means extra work for your glutes, and that extra work is what builds the muscle. Grab a pair of dumbbells between five and 15 pounds.

Directions: After warming up with five minutes of light cardio, do each three-move circuit twice. End with three minutes of stretching to cool down.

Week one, day one: eight reps of each exercise
Week two, day eight: 10 reps of each exercise
Week three, day 15: 12 reps of each exercise

This workout is around 25 minutes long, including warmup and cooldown.

| Circuit One: Goblet Squat

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width with toes pointed slightly out. Hold your dumbbell at chest level with both hands. Keeping your back flat, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your elbows touch your knees.
  • With your weight focused in your heels, push yourself up to the starting position to complete one rep.

| Circuit One: Side Lunge to Curtsy Squat

  • Holding a dumbbell at your chest with both hands, step your left foot out to the left side, coming into a lateral lunge and bending your left knee. Transfer the dumbbell into your right hand, and bring it toward your left foot while keeping your chest lifted u2014u00a0this will make the glutes engage more.
  • Push off with your left foot, and cross the left leg behind your right coming into a curtsy, bending both knees while bringing the dumbbell back to your chest. This completes one rep. Finish all your reps on this side before switching and stepping out to the right.

| Circuit One: Bridge With Chest Press

  • Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart, holding weights by your chest.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you push your pelvis toward the ceiling, coming into a bridge. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis.
  • Holding the bridge, press the weights to the ceiling directly above your shoulders.
  • Lower the weights back to your shoulders, then lower your pelvis down to the mat to complete one rep.

| Circuit Two: Single-Leg Toe Touch

  • Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, stand on your left leg with your right foot lifted.
  • Keeping your back flat, bend your left knee while bending forward at your hips to lightly touch the dumbbell to the ground. Keep your right knee bent and your right leg close to your body.
  • Push through your left heel and return to the starting position to complete one rep. Try to keep your right foot off the ground as you complete all your reps on the left, then switch sides.

| Circuit Two: Split Squat With Overhead Press

  • Holding the weights at your shoulders with your palms facing out, step backward about three feet with your left foot. Press the weights up to the ceiling.
  • Lower the weights to your shoulders as you bend your knees, making 90-degree angles with both legs.
  • Straighten both legs as you press the weights back toward the ceiling. This completes one rep.