"Cardio is the only way to lose belly fat and get a six-pack." FALSE. I hear this statement a lot from clients, but it couldn't be any further from the truth. As a trainer specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal fitness, I focus on form and using body weight or light props in my workouts to help my clients sculpt, strengthen, and elongate their muscles—especially in their core. Ankle weights are one of my favorite pieces of equipment. Why? They add weight and resistance during lower body exercises and force you to engage your core, resulting in a trim, slim waist. This is why we've put together the best waist-slimming exercises with just ankle weights to leave you sweaty and shredded for your next workout! Check them out below.
Three-Point Plank with Elbow Tap to Leg Pulse
Nothing enhances the burn in a plank quite like ankle weights. The first of these waist-slimming exercises is the Three-Point Plank with Elbow Tap to Leg Pulse. You'll start in a plank with your hands under your shoulders, your feet hip-width distance, your heels driving back, your hips in line with your shoulders, and your abdominals pulled in. Lift your right leg up to hover—pointing your toe—and then tap your right knee to your right elbow. When you send your leg back, pulse it up just an inch above your hip for a quick glute squeeze. Make sure to make the connection between the knee and elbow to really work the core and oblique.
Tabletop is a great multipurpose position that stabilizes and works the core so you can effectively work the muscle you are isolating. Get into a tabletop position—your hands under your shoulders, your knees under your hips, a slight bend in the elbows, and your abdominals in. Extend your right foot back toward the back right corner of your mat, and point your toe. Then, paint a "rainbow" with your big toe—making it as dramatic as possible—bringing your right foot to the back left corner of the mat. Squeeze your inner thighs for just a second, and then rainbow your leg back to the starting position. Remember to keep a slight bend in your elbows and your hips squared.
Crunch with Frog Leg Extension
While this move is primarily about the core, it will also give you a nice inner thigh burn. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your elbows out to the sides. Touch your heels together—forming a small "v" with your feet—and bend your knees out wide. Crunch up to tap your elbows to your knees. As you lower your upper body down, send your legs out at a 45-degree angle, straightening the legs by squeezing the thighs together and keeping your feet in that small "v." Pull your knees back in, and start over again.
Forearm Plank Jacks
Cardio is still important for your cardiovascular health, which is why I love to incorporate bodyweight cardio moves into my workouts. For this exercise, set yourself up in a forearm plank position—place your forearms parallel on the mat with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your palms facing down. Drive your heels back, engage your legs, and activate your core. Now, jump out (as wide as your mat) as you would in a jumping jack, and then jump back into the starting position. Make sure to be light on your feet, and keep your hips in line with your shoulders.
*Note: For the best results, pair these waist-slimming exercises with a nutrient-dense diet for a tight, toned tummy.