7 Moves to Melt Your Muffin Top

Stubborn love handles are forces to be reckoned with, but if you start concentrating on exercises that target your oblique muscles, you’ll tone up faster.

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By Olivia DeLong

 

Muffin top, love handles, oblique fat—the extra fat or skin that spills over your jeans is a bothersome spot for many people. And while it’s not possible to spot reduce fat (you have to work on reducing overall body fat, not just specific areas), targeting a certain area, like your abdominal region, can tone and tighten.

 

If you’re searching for ways to tame tummy fat you might want to start in the kitchen. Certain foods high in monounsaturated fats, like olives and pistachios, may help trim your waistline. If you’re looking for exercises to beat oblique bulge, add these moves to your cardio workout routines. Combine a healthy eating plan with these simple moves.

Mountain climbers

2 / 8 Mountain climbers

Just as the name suggests, mountain climbers are challenging, but the plank variation will help chisel your sides and strengthen your abdominal region. The modified plank version may also help with spine support.

 

How to: Engage your core and take a push-up position so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Lift your right foot from the floor, bend your knee towards your chest and return to start. You should extend your leg all the way out. Repeat with your left foot. Keep alternating sides for 45 seconds.

 

Pro tip: If you feel your lower back slumping towards the floor, pull your tummy in so your body forms a straight line.  

Stationary swimming

3 / 8 Stationary swimming

This swimming motion can help tame your muffin top. It also strengthens your transversus abdominis, obliques and back muscles all at the same time.

 

How to: Lying face down on the floor, form an “X” with your legs and arms. Bring your chest, arms and thighs off the floor. Next, lift your right arm up and bring your left leg slightly above the right leg. Switch, bringing your left arm up and your right leg slightly higher than the other arm. Continue for 20 repetitions.

 

Pro tip: Think of opening or widening your chest as you’re going through the movements, and try to keep your torso as still as you can.

Plank with hip rotation

4 / 8 Plank with hip rotation

Tone all areas of your tummy; especially those love handles, by practicing this exercise two to three times a week.

 

How to: Assume a normal plank position, then rotate your hips to one side. Return to the middle and repeat on the other side.

 

Pro tip: Keep your upper body as straight and stationary as possible.  

Bicycle crunch

5 / 8 Bicycle crunch

Spice up your regular crunch routine by adding a twist. Bicycle crunches target your side abdominal muscles, called obliques, and it also engages your thighs and glutes. 

 

How to: Lie with your lower back pressed against the ground and slightly lift up your head and shoulders. Place your hands behind your head, lift one of your legs off the ground and extend it out. Bend the other knee towards your chest and rotate your core so your opposite arm comes towards the raised knee. Lower your legs and arm, and bring the opposite leg and arm together. Try for three sets of 10 reps.

 

Pro tip: Think of this movement as bringing your shoulder to your knee.   

Side bends with or without weights

6 / 8 Side bends with or without weights

For a standing oblique workout, side bends are the perfect exercise to do anywhere. Added bonus: Side bends can be done with or without weights.

 

How to: With your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your waist, bend from your waist to the side then return to stand tall. Repeat on the other side.

 

Pro tip: If using one weight, hold it with your palm facing in towards your hip, and bend at the waist towards the side with the weight. For an extra challenge, hold a weight in each hand.

Weighted abdominal twists

7 / 8 Weighted abdominal twists

You’ve most likely seen gym-goers do this common oblique-toning exercise during circuit workouts, and for good reason. It’s an advanced oblique move, so you’re likely to feel the burn right away.

 

How to: Grab a weight or a medicine ball. Sit on the ground, extend your legs in front of you and lean back slightly. Next, twist to one side, touch your weight to the ground and return to your start position. Repeat on the other side. Shoot for 10 on each side.

 

Pro tip: If the move becomes too easy, then increase the weight. Feel free to use a weighted medicine ball, handheld weight or even a heavy book if you’re at home. Any option will get the job done.

Standing oblique twists

8 / 8 Standing oblique twists

This oblique move may look pretty simple, but even our exercise models felt the burn right away.

 

How to: Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly, and keep your head and hips straight forward. Bring your arms up to your sides and keep them straight as you rotate your torso from side to side. Try 20 movements on each side. Increase that number as you get stronger.

 

Pro tip: Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you rotate.