Okay, I realize that this photo is of a cupcake and not a muffin but it’s hilarious and you get the gist! Many, many people are guilty of rocking the dreaded “muffin top” and the chick in this picture deserves a citation for the sheer enormity of this violation. The muffin top is, if not the biggest frustration, the biggest fear for a lot of women. A friend made me laugh the other day when she told me she looked down to see the beginnings of a muffin top along the sides of her lower back and panicked, thinking she had some sort of tumor! If you’re not careful, a muffin top will sneak up on you and you’ll be in for a big surprise. Believe me, no one thinks that all of that extra hanging over the waistband is cute…not even the repeat offenders. So, why do we see the muffin top so often and how do we get rid it?
Here’s the scoop…muffin top, or love handles as some still call it, are actually anatomically called obliques. Your obliques are often the most neglected and most difficult areas to tone. That’s because in order to firm any area of your midsection, you must focus on a healthy diet, cardio and resistance training in addition to targeted abdominal exercises. Your diet, cardio and resistance training will help to build energy, burn fat and build muscle all over the body while the abdominal exercises work to firm the muscles under all of the layers of fat. All the crunches in the world won’t rid you of a muffin top if you’re not working to burn fat as well. So the main point to take away is that you cannot target weight loss to a specific area and you must burn fat and lose weight all over in order to see a difference in your abs, especially the waist line. Below are some exercises that will help tone your midsection and obliques. Try 3 or 4 and add them to your routine. Don’t forget to COMMENT & SUBSCRIBE!
DUMBBELL SIDE BENDS
Stand straight with legs shoulder length apart. Keep your arms at your side, holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Bend at the waist to the left side, stretching as far as you can to get the full range of motion. Return to the upright position. Repeat on the opposite side. Do 3 sets of 15 reps for each side.
The starting position for the oblique curl is on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Lift your head and shoulder blades off the ground and twist at the waist so that your right elbow meets your left knee. Twist back to the center and return to starting position. Repeat, twisting in the opposite direction. Repeat. For more difficulty, you and can raise your legs into the air (think bicycle). Do 3 sets of 15.
The swan dive is a Pilates exercise that is completed in 2 parts. The start, lie on your stomach with your legs straight and arms extended in front of you. Push up into the swan by lifting your arms above your head, abs away from the floor and pressing tail bone down into the floor. Inhale as you push up. Exhale as you release your arms and extend them in front of you. Your body will rock forward as your legs come up. Be sure to keep you thighs and glutes engaged, your abs lifted and your shoulders down. Return to starting position and repeat.
ADVANCED CRUNCH (legs up) Advanced crunches are little different from your regular crunch because your legs are up in the air with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle. With your hands behind your head (making sure not to pull up at the neck) or across your chest (to add a little more difficulty), lift your head and shoulder blades off the floor. Return to starting position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 15.
To complete a reverse crunch, start by lifting your legs straight into the air with your arms down by your sides. Leaving your head and upper body on the ground, lift your knees and butt upwards. Return to starting position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 15.