The top is the best part of the muffin — except when it's spilling over the top of your jeans. But that layer of fat can be the hardest to slim down. So what are you supposed to do when you can't handle your love handles anymore? Well, we've compiled six strategic moves to help you target that fat.
But simply adding specific exercises to your routine won't do the trick on its own. It's a combination of a healthy diet and exercise that keeps abdominal fat at bay. Plus, if you can incorporate a few high-intensity interval cardio sessions 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.
1. Leaning Teaser
This variation of the classic Pilates teaser move focuses on the internal and external oblique muscles. It's a fantastic way to get your heart pumping and your obliques firing.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on the floor turned slightly toward the left. Propping your torso up with your left hand, bend the left arm and bringing the torso down toward the floor (right arm along the right side of the body). Push off the left hand, bringing legs up into a side-angle teaser. Come back down. Do three sets of 10 on each side. You can modify this move by bending the knees in and out as your trunk lifts and lowers. Or amp it up by holding a weight in the top hand.
2. Wood Chop Squat
Tone your waistline and get your heart pumping with the wood chop squat. Along with your midsection, this compound move requires you to work your legs, glutes, arms and back.
HOW TO DO IT: 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. As you come up, keep the arms straight and swing toward your upper right-hand side. Exhale as you stand and swing. Do three sets of 10 on each sides.
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," he says.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Lift the arms, chest, neck and legs off the floor. Lift your right arm and left leg a few inches higher, and then switch to raise your left arm and right leg. Don't let your trunk move laterally as your arms and legs pump up and down. Do three 30-second sets, taking Child's pose in between to counter-stretch the lower back.
4. Panther Walk
According to personal trainer Antonio M. Wilson, the panther walk is one of the most effective exercises for obliterating the dreaded muffin top. So let's get to it!
HOW TO DO IT: Come onto all fours, knees floating an inch from the ground, directly under the hips, wrists under the shoulders. 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. Do three one-minute sets.
5. Side Plank Crunch
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 boost your endorphins!
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a forearm side plank, and then take your top arm out overhead and lift your top leg off the ground a few inches. Crunch the top elbow into the top knee, and then lengthen both out straight again (keeping the top leg off the ground). Repeat. Keep the bottom shoulder over the elbow and the lower hip lifted away from the floor. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side.
6. Weighted Standing Bicycle 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.
HOW TO DO IT: Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms directly overhead. Bring the right knee up toward the midline of your body as your left elbow bend down. Touch your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. Come back to the upright starting position and switch sides. Do three sets of 10 reps on each side, and use heavier weights if you really want to feel the burn!
What Do YOU Think?
Are you trying to get rid of your muffin top? What do you usually do to target your love handles? Which of these moves do you find the most challenging? Will you be incorporating any of these activities into your routine? How have you changed your diet? Have you added any HIIT cardio to your routine? Let us know in the comments section below!