Even if you've dropped most of your baby weight and you religiously do stomach crunches, that bulge around your belly doesn't seem to budge. That's because it's mostly stretched-out skin and muscle, says Lisa Masterson, M.D., an ob-gyn at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles.
What works: Moves that target the transverse muscles -- those that wrap around the abdominals horizontally. (Regular crunches focus on lengthwise muscles.) Try the slide: On a slippery floor, like wood or linoleum, get into a push-up position, balancing on your forearms. Place a folded towel under your toes, and as you pull your abs in, slide your knees toward your chest. Do two sets of five to eight reps, three times a week; work up to three sets. "Regular cardiovascular exercise will also help reduce overall body fat," Barroll says.
What doesn't: Electronic abdominal exercise belts. You've seen them on infomercials, but they're ineffective and painful, says a study by the American Council on Exercise. And the Federal Trade Commission has charged one of the top-selling brands with making false claims.
Quickest fix: Body-shaping underwear. Not your grandma's corset -- the latest tummy-toning undergarments are made of breathable, nonbinding fabric and are comfy enough to wear every day. Our favorites: Barely There Seamless Brief ($10), Maidenform's Flexees Underwonder Bare-Control Brief ($23), and Spanx Pantyhose Power Panties ($25).