You don't need a pricey gym membership to lose weight and build strength. All it takes is 3 key types of equipment (with a total price tag of less than $100) and these expert-designed workouts. "Affordable gear, like resistance bands, can work muscles just as effectively as expensive items, such as dumbbells, which can cost hundreds," says Gregory Florez, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise, CEO of personal coaching company www.FitAdvisor.com and the designer of our program. To get the most bang for your buck, do 2 sets of the following moves 3 days a week, with at least 1 rest day in between. You'll see results in 4 to 6 weeks. Now that's priceless.
By Sarah Robbins
Tones: Oblique (side) and lower abs, upper thighs
One Set: 15 to 30 repetitions to each side
Starting Position: Sit on top of the ball with your knees shoulder-width apart and your feet firmly planted on the floor. Slide down the ball until your lower back is leaning against it. Remember to keep your back as straight as you possibly can.
One Rep: Cross your arms over your chest and raise your torso (as if doing a sit-up) for 3 seconds, lifting yourself only as far as you can while keeping your buttocks in contact with the ball. As you crunch, tighten your stomach muscles and squeeze your glutes. At the top of the motion, gently rotate your upper torso to the right. Come back to the center and roll back down to the starting position. Repeat the crunch, this time rotating to the left.