Editor’s note: With chunky sweaters packed away in storage, summer weather means that even when we’re not in swimsuits, our waistlines are exposed for the world to see. Here to help us get this problem area in tip-top shape is our friend Marnie, of MOD Fitness. Take it away, Marn!

Today we’re demonstrating a few of our favorite side body exercises to trim and tone your waistline, and target the notorious “saddle bag” area that we all know and hate. We use these exercises at MOD in preparation for summer and bikini season (which happens to be almost year round in Austin), but at home or on vacation, you can incorporate these four moves into just about any daily workout.

*photography by Molly Winters; tutorial and location MOD Fitness; featured image from Urban Outfitters


Thigh Dancing Oblique Twists with Weights

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor and sitting on your heels. Knees should be hips width apart and shoulders over your hips. Pick up a set of weights for more challenge and start with curling your forearms towards your shoulders for a bicep curl.
  2. Start the set by lifting your seat 2 inches above your heels to work your thighs. Lift your hips over your knees and twist your upper body to the right and extend your arms straight by your hips. Return back to your starting position but don’t let your seat touch your heels for an extra leg challenge.
  3. Repeat and twist the your upper body the other direction to engage your obliques and waist.
  4. Repeat for 1 minute.

Forearm Side Plank Crunches

  1. Start in a forearm side plank. Place your right forearm on the ground and left hand behind your head. Your top leg should be forward of your bottom leg to help balance with hips and shoulders stacked.
  2. Crunch your right knee towards your chest while rotating your left elbow towards your right knee. Return your right leg and left arm back to your starting position.
  3. Lift your left knee towards your left elbow while maintaining balance through your abdominals and upper body. Return your left leg back to your starting position for 1 rep.
  4. Do this 10 times and switch sides.

Forearm Side Plank with Leg Lifts

  1. Start in a forearm side plank position with your hip and leg resting on the floor and top arm extended straight. Bend your bottom leg for balance and extend your top leg straight.
  2. Raise your hips off the ground to engage your side body. Keep your shoulders, ankles and hips stacked.
  3. Lift your top leg above your hip to target your outer thighs and return back to your starting position for 1 rep.
  4. Do this 20 times and repeat on the other side.

One Arm Side Twist Push-Up

  1. Begin in a forearm plank. Place your forearms shoulder width apart and extend your legs straight with toes curled under.
  2. Start by placing your left hand under your shoulder and extend your arm straight for a one-arm push up.
  3. As you press away from the floor pull your abdominals in and twist through your waist to engage your side body.
  4. Bend your elbow to return back to a one arm push up. Repeat 10 times with your left arm and switch sides.

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Chanel Dror