10 Fitness Tools and Exercises to Tone You Up

Melt muffin top, resize your thighs and wave arm flab good-bye with a little help from soon-to-be your favorite fitness equipment. 

Stability Ball

Choose it: Get on the ball to score flat abs in a flash. Crunches are up to 38 percent more effective on the inflatable orb, which comes in three sizes (55, 65 and 75 centimeters). For the right fit, your thighs should be parallel to the floor when seated.

Use it: For proven gut shrinking, try the Rollout, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn Montgomery University. This stomach slimmer was rated most effective at firing ab muscles compared with six other ball moves, according to a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.


Kneel on floor behind ball. Place forearms on top of ball, hands clasped, to start. Contract abs and roll ball forward as far as possible without bending back or hunching shoulders (as shown). Hold for 2 counts, then return to start for 1 rep. Do 2 sets of 15 reps. WORKS ABS, ARMS, BACK

Medicine Ball

Choose it: A soft, weighted medicine ball is as versatile as dumbbells but easier to hang on to, especially during dynamic moves that require twisting, swinging or throwing. (Ever try hurling a dumbbell? Don't!) The balls range in size from 2 to 30 pounds. Start with a 4-pounder; if you can fly through 12 reps unfazed, increase by 2-pound increments until you feel fatigued by the final rep, says Paul Katami, a trainer in Hollywood, California.

Use it: The power-packed Suitcase Crunch does double duty, sculpting jiggle-free arms while taming your tummy.

Suitcase Cruch

Lie faceup with legs straight, arms extended behind head; hold ball with both hands above floor. Bring left knee toward chest as you lift upper back off floor and bring ball to left foot (as shown). Return to start. Repeat on opposite side for 1 rep. Do 2 sets of 12 reps. WORKS ABS, SHOULDERS, BUTT


Choose it: Quick physics: Because all of a kettlebell's weight (5 to 100-plus pounds) is in the cast-iron ball, not the handle, momentum is on your side during swinging moves, so you can likely hoist twice your typical heft. The quirky shape (teapot sans spout) also creates a long lever, providing unique resistance during static strength moves.

Use it: The Gunslinger capitalizes on that leverage, leaving your biceps no choice but to get buff!


Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold kettlebell in right hand at side. Keeping elbow at side, curl bell toward right shoulder until bottom of bell is pointed forward like a pistol (as shown). Lower to start. Do 12 reps. Repeat on opposite side. WORKS BICEPS
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