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Whittle your waist

THE MOVE High-to-low cable chop

THE PAYOFF Using weight to overload the abs strengthens and sculpts your midsection, particularly the obliques, with fewer reps than more traditional exercises like crunches.


* Attach a single handle to a high-cable pulley and, with your right side to the machine, take a large step away from it.

* With feet hip-width apart, hold handle with both hands, fingers interlaced.

* Engage core muscles by bringing lower ribs and hips toward each other. Then, with arms straight but not locked, pull down on a diagonal, slightly rotating torso.

* Slowly return to starting position and repeat for reps. Then stand with left side to machine and repeat to complete 1 set.


Do this move 2-3 times a week as part of a regular strength-training program, performing 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps using 20-30 pounds. Rest 45-60 seconds between sets. When rep 12 of each set is no longer challenging, increase the weight slightly. After 4-6 weeks, or when you feel ready, progress to the move in the Advanced Tip.


For more of a challenge, do the same move standing on a stability tool such as a Reebok Core Board.


Breathe out forcefully as you start the exercise. This engages the deepest abdominal muscles, so you’re better able to control the twisting motion.


* Don’t initiate the movement with your arms; otherwise you won’t completely challenge your abs.

* Don’t let your shoulders round forward as you do the move; this adds stress to your neck and upper back.

* Don’t lean into your hips on the side toward which you are pulling; this takes the movement out of your torso and can stress your lower back.

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