Interval Exercises Trainers Swear By For Toning Up Stomach And Back Fat, Once And For All

November 17, 2021 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Fitness

The stomach and back are two common trouble areas on the body, so if you struggle with toning them up you are certainly not alone. Having a ‘spare tire’ is (unfortunately) quite common, especially thanks to the highly-processed American diet. And while targeting a specific area with weight training is challenging, personal trainer and nutrition coach Erica Ziel says that these moves are your best chance of strengthening and toning them.

Plank slides

“Planks slides are a great exercise that strengthens your stomach and back muscles,” Ziel says. Especially when you focus on engaging your quads, lengthening tall through the top of your head, while moving slowly and focusing on connecting your breath with your ab engagement, she advises. “These tips can help give even more benefit from these plank slides.” And don’t forget–you can modify these plank slides by placing your forearms on the edge of your coach or hands on the edge of a countertop.

How to do it: Begin in a plank position on forearms and toes, keeping your legs together. Exhale as you engage your core and press your body forward (think “calf raise”). Inhale as you press your heals back (think stretching those calves). Repeat for 10-20 reps

Rowing with exercise bands

“Rowing with exercise bands is great to strengthen your abs and your back,” Erica advises. They’re also incredibly  effective and easy to do anywhere–as long as you have an exercise band.

How to do it: Wrap an exercise band around the door handle on the backside of a door or around a pole. Standing tall a couple feet away from the door or pole. Exhale as you engage your abs while bending your elbows pulling the exercise band towards your body and extending your spine. Inhale engage your abs more to bring you back to start. Exhale repeat for 10-15 reps.

Side Planks

Side planks are wonderful for strengthen your abs, hips, side, and mid-back. Always focus on staying elongated and engaged from your hip to your shoulder when moving through side planks. These tips can help make side planks even more effective!

How to do it: To modify just lower your bottom leg placing your knee on your mat to offer you more support. In a side plank position, legs reaching out and bottom elbow under your shoulder. Exhale as you engage your abs, hips, and midback to lift your body. Inhale as you lower down just part way (don’t release!). Repeat for 10-15 reps on one side, then switch to your other side

Superman extensions

“Supermans are amazing for strengthening your entire back!” Erica says. Just remember to focus more on keeping your body long rather than how far off the ground you can lift. “Creating length through your body can help you to become even stronger and taller while avoiding pain in your low back.” Pro Tip: you should *never* have back pain when moving through your exercises.

How to do it: Lying on your stomach with your legs reaching long down your mat, arms either by your side or reaching overhead. Exhale as you reach through your toes and top of your head (and fingers if reaching arms overhead), lift chest and feet off the ground. Inhale to slowly lower back to your mat. Repeat for 10 reps.

Wide Squat Jumps

“Wide squat jumps are a great exercise to boost up your calorie burn while strengthening your legs, abs, and back. Also good for your heart health!” she explains.

How to do it: Standing in a wide squat position, legs and feet turned slightly outward. Exhale as you engage your abs and jump up from your squat position. Inhale as you lower back down into a wide squat. Repeat for 10-20 reps

Kettlebell Swings

“Another good exercise to boost up your calorie burn while strengthening your legs, abs, and back,” she says. it’s also a good interval exercise to get your heart rate up!

How to do it: Standing in a wide squat position, legs and feet turned slightly outward while lengthening tall through the top of your head and hanging onto a kettlebell. Exhale as you stand up out of your squat and swing the kettlebell to shoulder height (or higher if that feels good for your body). Be sure to think about lengthening tall vs. just sending your hips forward.
Inhale as you lower back down to your squat controlling the return of the kettlebell to start position. Repeat for 10-20 reps

Author: Justine Schwartz

Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at

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