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Byline: Nicola Oates

Everyone knows that feeling of filling out a little around the middle, but the oblique area, or 'love handles' as it is more popularly known, forms a common problem area when trying to tone up or lose weight. Both men and women can have these and it is often an area of the body that is neglected when doing abdominal exercises. Below are some easy-to-follow exercises to enhance that six-pack. When using weights, always start with light resistance until your technique is correct.

1. Back extension: Working the erector spinae muscles of the lower back. Lying prone on the ball with feet hip width apart feet can be placed against a wall for further stability place hands on temples and look at the floor at all times. Working from the hip joint, lift your upper body ensuring you don''t arch the neck. Slowly lower towards floor and repeat. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps.

2. Side bend Working the oblique muscles to the side of the abdominals. Standing with feet hip width apart, holding dumbbell in one hand and the other placed by the temple. Bend from side to side lifting the weight and keeping the arm straight. Ensure that only the upper body moves and repeat on both sides. Visualise that you are between two sheets of glass, not leaning forward or back. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps each side.

3. Cable rotation Working the oblique muscles to the side of the abdominals. Using a cable machine, stand with feet hip width apart, holding handle at chest level with a slight bend in the elbows. Keep arms in same position and rotate upper body away from the machine and control on the way back to start position. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps each side.

4. Twist Working the obliques and abdominals. Sitting on the floor with knees bent and heels on the floor, lean back slightly keeping chin off the chest and back straight. With hands in front of you, slowly rotate the upper body from side to side following your head around as you rotate. The further you lean back, the more you will feel the exercise. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps each side.

Esporta Health Club is on Ocean Way, Cardiff CF24 5HF. For information call 029 2045 6000. Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise programme if you suffer from particular illnesses, have bone, muscular or joint problems or if you are pregnant.


Exercises demonstrated by personal trainer Nicola Oates, 23
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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