6 Moves to Trim Down Your Muffin Top
Last Updated: Dec 14, 2016
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The top is the best part of the muffin — except when it’s spilling over the top of your waistband. The layer of fat that accumulates around your midsection and puffs out over your belt can be the hardest part of your body to target and slim down. So what are you to do when you just can’t handle your love handles anymore? Well, we’ve compiled six strategic moves to help you target that fat. Keep in mind: Simply adding specific exercises to your routine won’t do the trick on its own. Research has repeatedly shown that it’s a combination of diet and exercise that keeps abdominal fat at bay. Plus, if you can incorporate a few high-intensity cardio moves into your regimen, you’ll be in even better shape. So get amped for this energy-boosting workout to rid your midsection of all that unwanted fat.
This variation of the classic Pilates “teaser” move focuses on the internal and external oblique muscles. If you can do it with proper form without stopping, it’s a fantastic way to get your heart pumping. It’s done by lifting the upper body and legs off the floor into a V while tilted toward one side. THE SETUP: Lie on the floor turned slightly toward the left (the right glutes are not touching the ground, but you are not lying all the way on the left side).
HOW TO DO A LEANING TEASER
Propping your torso up with your left hand, fingers pointing toward the toes, begin by bending the left arm deep and bringing the trunk down toward the floor (right arm along the right side of the body). You can modify this move as pictured by bending the knees in and out as your trunk lifts and lowers. Or you can push off the left hand, bringing straight legs up into a side-angle teaser or V (right arm lifts up in line with the legs). Come back down. Repeat 10 to 15 times (more if you’re able) and switch sides. AMP IT UP: Put a light hand weight into the top hand!
GOLF SWING SQUAT
Tone your waistline and get your heart pumping with the golf-swing squat. Along with your midsection, this compound move requires you to work your legs, glutes, arms and back. THE SETUP: Squat down toward the floor with a single weight in both hands, twist and hold the weight down toward the left side of your legs (like a golf club).
HOW TO DO A GOLF SWING SQUAT
As you come up, keep the arms straight and swing toward your upper right-hand side, just like a golf swing. Exhale as you stand and swing. Do 15 and switch sides (more if you’re able).
Awaken your inner Michael Phelps with this stroke of love-handle genius. Certified personal trainer Antonio M. Wilson points to the classical Pilates “swimming” exercise as a great way to eliminate fat: “This exercise will work and trim the entire circumference of the muffin top.” THE SETUP: Lie flat on your stomach with your arms extended out in front and your legs lengthened behind you. Keep your legs hip-distance apart.
HOW TO DO THE SWIMMING EXERCISE
Lie prone on your belly with your arms overhead. Inhale and exhale normally as you pull your belly button to your spine and lift the arms, chest, neck and legs off the floor. Point the toes and extend the arms and legs. Keep a slight arch in your spine (your upper body and thighs off the floor and the head and neck in line with the spine). Maintaining a completely rigid body, begin your swimming motion using only the arms and legs. Don’t let your trunk move laterally as your arms and legs pump up and down. Do three 30-second sets (more if you’re able) with a child’s pose in between to counterstretch the low back.
According to Wilson, the panther walk is one of the most effective exercises for obliterating the dreaded muffin top. THE SETUP: Come onto all fours (quadruped position), knees floating an inch from the ground, directly under the hips, wrists aligned directly under the shoulders.
HOW TO DO A PANTHER WALK
Slowly walk on all fours in a large square (seven strides in all four directions; forward, right, back, left) for one-minute intervals. Keep your core tight as you make the square, and don’t raise your hips as you crawl along the floor. It’s best to have another person monitor your walk to keep time and ensure your form remains intact. This is a timed exercise. The minimum time per interval is one minute. Do three one-minute sets (more if you’re able).
SIDE PLANK RIP CURL
This exercise strengthens your internal and external oblique muscles, slimming down your waist and helping to define your abdominals — not to mention that it’ll help to get your heart pumping and your endorphins firing! THE SETUP: While in a forearm side plank, take your top arm out overhead by your top ear and lift your top leg off the ground a few inches.
HOW TO DO A SIDE PLANK RIP CURL
Get into a side plank position. Crunch the top (free arm) elbow into the top knee, and then lengthen both out straight again (keeping top leg off ground). Repeat. Try to keep the bottom shoulder fixed directly over the elbow throughout, and keep the lower hip lifted high into an arch away from the floor. Do 10 to 15 reps (more if you’re able), and then switch sides.
TWISTED STANDING SINGLE LEG CRUNCH
Another exercise that will vanquish waistline fat is the ab crunch — with a twist! When done properly, this full-body movement will get your heart rate going while targeting that troublesome muffin top. THE SETUP: Grab a couple of light hand weights. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms directly overhead.
HOW TO DO A TWISTED STANDING SINGLE LEG CRUNCH
Bring the right knee up and in toward the midline of your body as your elbows bend down. Twist your torso so that your left elbow comes to the outside of the right thigh. Come back to the upright starting position and switch sides. Do 10 to 15 reps each side (more if you’re able). AMP IT UP: Use heavier weights if you can!
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