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Fitness Challenge: Abs and Glutes

By Jodi Helmer
WebMD Magazine - Feature

If you’d love to feel more toned, but you don't have time to hit the gym, you can do simple exercises on your own to get results.

"It only takes a few minutes, three times per week, to keep your abs and glutes looking their best -- no gym membership required," says Joan Pagano, fitness consultant and author of Strength Training Exercises for Women.

She offers these moves that target your abs and glutes.

Work Your Abs: How to Do Bicycle Crunches

Do this move along with a 30-minute cardio workout three times a week (beginners can take three brisk 10-minute walks, working up to a 30-minute workout), and you’ll whittle your waistline.

"The bicycle crunch engages all four abdominal groups," Pagano says. "Instead of doing three different exercises, [you] can get the same results with one." Here's how to do it:

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and raise your legs until your knees are over your hips, calves are parallel to the floor, and feet are in the air.
  2. Cradle your head in your hands and tighten your abs as you lift your head and shoulders off the floor.
  3. Exhale and twist your left shoulder toward your right knee while extending your left leg.
  4. Inhale and return to the start position, keeping your head and shoulders elevated off the floor.
  5. Do 20 times, then repeat on the other side.

Work Your Glutes: How to Do Squats

Squats will strengthen your glutes, the large muscles in your buttocks. Not only will you look great in a pair of jeans, but this move will improve your strength, posture, and balance, too.

How to do it:

  1. Stand in front of a chair, facing away from the chair, feet parallel and hip-width apart, and bend slightly forward from the waist.
  2. Keeping your spine straight, inhale and lower your body toward the chair as if you were going to sit down.
  3. Touch the edge of the chair with your glutes (but do not sit), keeping your knees over your ankles.
  4. Exhale, squeeze your glutes, and return to the start position.
  5. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Reviewed on August 15, 2014

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