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Experts Corner

Fitness

Exercises for Upper Saddle Bags
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. I can't get rid of the two pockets of fat right above my hipbones. Any suggestions? It kind of seems like they travel all the way to my back and make my rear end and back melt into one. I wasn't like this before my baby.

A. Have you lost all of your pregnancy weight, and are you breastfeeding? If you answered "yes" to one or both questions, then you may just need to give your body more time to regain its pre-pregnancy shape. You can speed up the process by doing some exercises for your back, hips, and waist muscles along with 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week. Here are a couple of my favorite exercises (work up to doing three sets of 8-12 repetitions of each):

  1. For your back, hold a soup can in each hand with arms extended above your head. Inhale, and as you exhale, pull your elbows down and behind your waist, tightening the muscles in the sides of your back (your lats). Inhale as you return to the starting position. Make sure to keep your abs tight throughout.

  2. For your hips, start in a side-lying position with your hips stacked on top of each other and legs extended. Lift your top leg slightly above hip height, making sure your toes are pointing toward the front of the room - this is your starting position. Exhale as you lift the leg even higher, tightening the muscles of the outer thigh and hip; inhale as you return to the starting position. Do all of your reps on one side then repeat with the other leg. Again, make sure to keep your abs tight!

  3. For your waist muscles (obliques), start in a back-lying position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place one hand behind each ear with elbows pointing out toward the sides. Inhale, and as you exhale lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, taking your right shoulder blade toward your left knee. Inhale as you lower, then repeat and take your left shoulder blade toward your right knee - this is one repetition!

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