If that bit of flesh that hangs over your jeans is nagging you to work out, we have a handful of moves to help tone your muffin top. Along with regular cardio, these five exercises will also get your heart rate pumping to burn calories and work all the muscles in your middle. Press play and bid farewell to your love handles.
Exercise alone will not tame the muffin top, but strengthening the muscles underneath the body fat that hangs around the waist is a great way to start. And remember, strong obliques mean a strong core, better posture, and toned abs. Along with a healthy diet and a regular doses of cardio, this BOSU workout will show some love to your love handles. Press play, and work your waist for a few minutes!
If you're looking to say goodbye to your love handles this Summer, try out this five-minute workout. Along with a sensible diet and ample cardio, the combination of these exercises that strengthen your glutes, lower back, and abs will help diminish the appearance of the dreaded muffin top. Perform each of the following moves for one minute each, but feel free to repeat this plan two or even three times for a more intense session.
Number 1: Seated Russian Twist
- Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your bum.
- Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important, and difficult, to keep your back straight, so don't let it curve.
- Place your arms straight out in front of you with one hand on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your rib cage.
- Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating, not from your arms swinging. Inhale through your center, and rotate to the right. This completes one rep. Lift your feet off the ground for a more advanced variation.
- Do as many full rotations as you can for one minute.
Number 2: Elbow Plank With Twist
- Come into a side plank on your right side, with your feet stacked one on top of the other and your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body.
- Place your left arm behind your head, and inhale to prepare.
- Exhale and pull your navel to your spine to engage your deep abs, and rotate your left rib cage toward the floor so you are resting on both forearms in an elbow plank. Stay there for a second, and deepen your abdominal connection, pulling your navel in toward your spine even more.
- Return to starting position, repeat for 30 seconds, and then switch sides. Repeat series again until a minute is up.
Number 3: Mountain Climbers
- Start in a traditional push-up starting position — shoulders over hands and weight on just your toes.
- Bring your right foot forward, bending the knee and putting weight on the ball of your foot.
- Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward while moving the right leg back. It feels a little like running in place in a plank position.
- For an advanced variation to work your abs more, keep the ball of your foot off the floor as you bring the knee in toward your chest.
- Quickly move through this exercise for as long as possible without taking a break — at least 30 seconds! Take a quick breather if need be, but pick up again until one minute is up.
Keep reading for the last two moves in this muffin top workout.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Shape here on POPSUGAR Fitness.
There's nothing like bikini season to motivate you to trim down and tone up your mid-section. Luckily, these seven moves can be done without any gym equipment at all, just another summer essential: a beach towel. So grab some terry, and get ready to sport your favorite two-piece.
How it works: For best results, do these moves as a circuit (back to back with little rest in between), repeating the entire series 2 to 3 times in total, after a cardio session or within your strength routine up to four non-consecutive days per week.
You'll need: A beach towel (or full length bath towel)
Muffin top. Spare tire. Love handles. That extra jiggle around the waist may have a lot of endearing nicknames, but that doesn't mean we actually love it. Unfortunately you cannot pick and choose where you lose weight, but you can tone troublesome areas.
To lose weight at your waist, you must commit to cardio workouts to help you lose fat all over, and you also need eat a clean diet. Toning up the muscles under those love handles will both strengthen your core and give you a firmer look through your torso. Here are three of our favorite variations of the side plank that will help create a shapely waist.
Swinging kettlebells around at the gym makes me feel like a super toughie. But I do love the sassy feeling I get doing slow and controlled windmills, a move I just learned from my Equinox trainer Lauren. Like most kettlebell moves, this is a full-body exercise, but the work is at your waist, toning the obliques and stretching the sides of the torso. The shoulders and arms are worked nicely, too.
If you're a beginner, try this exercise with no weights. Once you feel familiar with the sequence, add one five-pound dumbbell into the mix, holding the weight in the hand that remains held above the head. When you're ready, progress to using a set of four-kilogram (8.8 pounds) kettlebells.
Start toning your love handles now; bikini season is right around the corner.
The Muppets star Amy Adams admits that 18 months after giving birth to Aviana Olea she's OK with the baby weight, "I have a muffin top, and that’s OK right now." Most new moms can relate to holding on to post-baby weight since they're sleep-deprived and way too tired to exercise, or are too busy taking care of their little one to hit the gym, but if you're ready to get rid of your post-baby muffin top, here's how.
- Ramp up your cardio sessions: Unfortunately you can't just do back exercises and expect a muffin top to disappear as fast as you can eat one. To slim down trouble spots like love handles and back rolls, you must reduce overall body fat. Aside from eating a healthy diet, you need to burn fat through heart-pumping cardio. Aim to do 60 minutes, five days a week. Mix it up with running, swimming, cycling, hiking, and cardio classes. Be sure to include speed intervals as these are proven to get rid of stubborn belly fat.
- Pay attention to your core: Once that layer of fat disappears, you want to reveal sleek, toned muscles underneath. Be sure to complement your cardio workouts with strength training moves that target your entire core. Include crunches for your abs, deadlifts and Supermans for your back, side bends to target the sides of your waist, and push-ups for your abs and upper back. Try doing moves on an exercise ball or Bosu as the instability forces you to engage your core. Building muscle is also a great way to burn calories and rev up your metabolism.
With the exception of a baked good, a muffin top is not something most women are usually OK with — unless you're Amy Adams. The Muppets star recently told InStyle that the last few pounds of baby weight have been hard to drop. But she's in no rush (Amy gave birth to her daughter in May 2010): "I read about these actresses who get on a stationary bike two weeks after giving birth and I'm like, 'What? Where did you push your baby out of?' Since having Aviana, I have a muffin top, and that's OK right now."
Amy's comments are definitely spot on; given that Hollywood puts an emphasis on beauty, there can be a lot of pressure to maintain a tight and toned bod — even after delivering a child. And regardless of whether you're an actress or not, extra weight gained from pregnancy may be enough to spur any woman into a ramped-up fitness regimen. This isn't the case for everyone, though, as Amy illustrates. For the moms out there, how did you deal with losing the baby weight?
We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Shape here on FitSugar. This week Shape turns to personal trainer and strength coach Joe Dowdell for some help!
Q: How can I get rid of love handles?
A: There isn't just one secret to losing love handles — it's a combination of factors. It's true that the typical answer of total-body strength training, high-intensity cardio intervals, proper nutrition, and sound recovery strategies are the keys to long-term success, but there are more secret strategies for burning belly fat.
You've probably heard that cortisol, the "stress hormone," is responsible for excess abdominal fat, but that's only part of the story. Your body produces cortisol in response to stress—physical, mental, or emotional. This may include extremely low-calorie diets (fasting or starvation), infection, lack of quality sleep, emotional trauma, or intense exercise, as well as daily stressors such as job pressure or relationship trouble.
Stress and cortisol alone do not make you fat, but research has linked high cortisol levels with storage of body fat, particularly visceral belly fat. Visceral fat is packed deeper in the abdominal cavity and around the internal organs, whereas "regular" fat is stored below the skin (known as subcutaneous fat). Visceral fat is particularly unhealthy because it is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. Therefore, the key to avoid storing excess fat around your middle is controlling your cortisol response, or the amount of stress on your body.
Learn the top tips for getting rid of love handles after the break!
Are you falling out of love with your love handles? One of the secrets to trimming down the waistline is toning up those obliques. Thanks to the slim and trim Joy Bauer, I learned a new move that left my sides begging for a breather. A bit challenging on the body, it's an easy enough motion to learn and definitely gives the obliques a run for the money, which means your belts and slim fitting dresses will be thanking you.
To see how to do the exercise, just read more