Say adios to those love handles with the side crunch; a proven waist cincher. Orthopedist and fitness trainer Levi Harrison, who created the Art of Fitness Cardio Core Workout, demonstrates proper form as well as a couple of ways to advance the move.
What it does
Side crunches work the internal and external oblique muscles, as well as the transverse abdominus.
What to do
Lie down on your left side on the mat with your knees bent and stacked together and your body in a straight line. Your head should rest on the mat as you direct your gaze forward at your left arm, which is extended out in front of you on the floor in line with your shoulder. Curl your right arm up to your head so your fingertips touch right behind your right ear. Then, summoning your core strength, lift your upper body, bringing your elbow as close to the hip as you can. Lower and repeat. Switch sides.
To make the move more difficult, try lifting your upper body at the same time you lift your bent knees, keeping them pinned together.
For the most advanced version, lift your upper body at the same time you lift your stacked straight legs.
With each of these versions, make sure you don't hunch over or crane your neck forward. Your abs should be doing the heavy lifting, not your neck. And don't cheat yourself by pressing into your arm on the floor rather than using your obliques.
Do two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each side, working up to three sets of 10 to 15.