What’s worse than having to put on baggy clothes because you’ve put on too much weight?
Well, trying to squeeze into clothes that are too little, that’s what. And oh, the dreaded muffin top… that’s a complete no-no! It looks bad and it fits bad. So what can you do to banish those muffin tops then?
Well, here are some simple, fool proof ways to get rid of that unsightly muffin top. And 10 of our best exercises for the muffin top are:
1. Twist Crunches
Crunches are great for strengthening your abdominal muscles and your core. And if you add a twist to it, you will be working not just your core, but also whipping those muffin top bits into shape as well. Lie flat on your back, hands behind your head, knees bent. “Crunch” yourself up, twisting slightly so your left elbow touches your right knee, then lower yourself back to the ground. Crunch again, this time with your right elbow touching your left knee. Repeat so you do 30 crunches, 3 times.
2. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope works miracles. I wrote a post on it and you can read it here. It’s simple, but super effective. Because it’s a fun activity for so many of us, it won’t even feel like exercise. This is one of those exercises that you can basically do for as long as you’re able. Get a rhythm going, then skip till your heart’s content. The motion and intense cardio is good for blasting that muffin top!
3. Yoga Stretches
Stretching is key to burning off those jiggly bits around the waist. And Yoga not only aids in flexibility, it also works your core muscles, and it allows you to do cardio-centric exercises without really taxing yourself. The exercises will give yourself a trim, toned tummy. Yoga is also good for beginning stretches or a cool down after an intensive work out.
Mountain climbers are killer tough, but the pay off is incredible! Though they’re simple, they’re very intense. You start out in the same position used for a standard push-up, so you’re basically on your hands and your toes. Once there, pull your right knee in toward your chest, with your foot still resting on the floor. Then you want to jump up and, while you’re in the air, switch your feet, so that when you resume the position, your left knee is against your chest and your right leg is switched out behind you. Repeat this as quickly but as safely as you can for about a minute.
Rowing is great only when done with the right technique. I have seen people who swing back and front and just throw their backs around when they row. This is not the right way to execute this exercise. You will only blast the muffin top if you engage your core and arms, and sit up with a straight back. Ensure your heels are resting comfortably against the base of the foot pedals. Secure the strap so that your feet will not move freely. Don’t do the rowing barefoot because your soles may feel the pain because of the pressure later. Set the resistance to a low level as a start.
Grip the handle firmly, but not squeeze it too hard. If it is too tight, your forearms will get fatigue faster. You can go for overhand or underhand grip. When you come forward on the rower, your knees are bent and against your chest. Your upper body is leaning slightly forward while still maintaining good posture. That is, your back isn’t hunched over and your head is up. Then, you push against the foot pedals and extend your legs while bringing your hands to your upper abdominal area. At full extension, lean back a little for maximum benefit. Avoid leaning back too far, though. Overarching puts you at risk for back strain. Straighten your arms, bend the knees, and bring your body forward again.
6. Twist toe touches
Toe-touches are pretty standard as well, and they’re not at all intensive, which means it’s much easier to do more. Start out with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees straight, hands on your hips. Twist and touch your right fingers to your left toes, then straighten, and touch your left fingers to your right toes. Complete three sets of 30 x 3 times. This is a great cool down exercise for me too.
Donkey kicks are ideal for getting rid of a muffin top, and they’ll make your legs look hot too! Get down on all fours, making sure that your stomach is pulled in and your back is straight. Kick back your left leg and stretch it behind you, as straight as you can; hold that pose for about 5 seconds, then alternate with your left leg. Repeat this exercise 10 times for each side.
8. Leg Raises
Leg raises are good fun. But try going them when you are tired, and your legs feel like a ton of bricks! This is when activating your core can help with the burden on your legs. Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift both legs off the ground, keeping them straight – lower till they are just slightly off the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, or more if you are a champion, then slowly lower them. Totally 100% effective for the core and muffin top.
TRX is by far my favourite workout to throw into the cardio mix. You can execute twists, hops, lifts, rows and just about any sort of maneuver with the TRX. It is super versatile and my top pick for burning off that muffin top! TRX helps strengthen your core and tighten your abs, and it sculpts the entire body. Love handles be gone!
Finally, there is no escaping the fact that cardio is key to banishing a muffin top. With cardio, you are also strengthening your heart and burning away cholesterol, and stress factors and there is even evidence to show that it prevents cancer.
And those are our TOP 10 Best Exercises for the dreaded Muffin Top. What are yours?