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Exercises to Reduce the Stomach, Butt & Thighs

By Michelle Dawn

You can't expect to slim down and shape up with just wishful thinking. Instead, it takes a healthy diet and an effective workout plan consisting of targeted exercises to achieve your sought-after physique. You can't choose where you lose fat, but to slim down and create a more defined physique, you need to reduce overall body fat. To reduce your stomach, butt and thighs, you need the right combination of both fat-burning and muscle-building exercises.

Get to Know Your Body

The abdominal muscles include the rectus abdominis muscle at the front, the internal and external obliques at the sides, and the transverse abdominis muscles, which wrap around the sides of the abdomen and are the deepest abdominal muscle layers. The gluteus minimus, medius and maximus muscles make up the buttocks, while the thighs consist of the quadriceps muscles at front, and the hamstrings at back.

Cardio for Fat Loss

Adequate cardo is essential if you want to slim down. Although the idea of spot reduction is just a myth and you can't target fat loss from any particular area of your body, there are certain cardio exercises that will better engage certain areas. Mountain climbers and twists are excellent for the abs. Burpees, jumping jacks and jumping rope help work your lower body, particularly your thighs and butt.

Resistance Exercises to Build Muscle

Although weight training exercises does help you burn fat -- albeit at a slower rate than most cardio exercises -- the main benefit of these exercises is to help you build muscle mass, creating a tighter, more defined body. Resistance exercises also give your metabolism a major boost, so you're burning more calories even after your workout. Try crunches, side bends and stability ball dumbbell flys for the abs, while squats, lunges and step-ups are some of the most effective exercises for the thighs and butt.

Stretching to Maximize Your Benefits

Stretching is a key part of any workout. Although it can be beneficial both before and after a session, post-workout stretching is especially important. Even just five to 10 minutes of static stretching helps give your body the chance to cool down, promotes flexibility and blood circulation, and helps prevent next-day muscle stiffness and soreness. Stretching maximizes the benefits of your workouts and helps keep your muscles and joints loose and limber.

Play it Safe

Whenever you're getting started with any new exercise routine, it's important to talk with your doctor first. Especially if you are dealing with any injuries, this can help prevent you from further injuring yourself or developing a new issue. Start off with a lighter weight for resistance exercises, and gradually increase the weight by 5 to 10 percent each time. This progression allows you to avoid taking on more weight than your body can handle.

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