Taming Your Muffin Top: 3 Simple Core Exercises for a Sleeker Waistline

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Demonstration of planking position with doing shoulder taps

“Muffin tops” are those stubborn love handles that spill over the waistband of jeans. For a lot of people, they can be quite frustrating and super difficult to get rid of!

Although I don’t have the magic solution, and spot reduction is not a realistic approach, targeting the core muscles with the right exercises and breathing techniques can help tone and strengthen the area. By following this exercise routine and refining your technique over time, you can make those muffin tops gradually disappear.

Now, let’s take a look at a few of my favorite exercises that help sculpt your waistline and contribute to overall core strength and stability. In other words, exercises that are perfect for incinerating muffin top fat.

1. Plank Shoulder Taps 

Planks are a simple, yet highly effective exercise for building core strength. Start in the push-up position, with knees on or off the floor, but with your weight primarily in your arms.

Pull your core in with an exhale and squeeze your quads. Then, when you find your stability, tap the opposite shoulder with your hand, repeating on the other side.

Try not to sway too much by keeping your legs and core as tight as you can. Repeat this 3-4 times with 12-20 taps each round

Woman demonstrating a blank position shoulder tap

2. Deadbugs 

Laying on your back, first pull your rib cage down towards the floor and glue your back to the ground.

Then, and only if you can keep your back down, lift your knees to 90 degrees. Take a big inhale and as you exhale, extend your right arm and left leg towards the floor, making sure that your back never stops making contact.

Your back should be so connected to the floor that I should not be able to get my fingers between your back and the floor.

If you can’t hold that position for long, try extending just your arms or just your legs until you build the strength to do so. Taking the time to create strength is far more important than doing the exercise exactly how I do. Repeat this exercise 3-4 times with 10-20 extensions each round

A woman demonstrating the Dead Bug exercise

3. Hollow Crunch

To expand on the deadbug and create an even bigger force in your core, you can progress to the hollow crunch.

Start by lifting your shoulders up in a little crunch, remember to bring your shoulders and not just your neck. Then extend your legs out, making sure that your back is glued to the ground yet again!

You are now in the hollow hold position. This in itself is a great way to build your core. Stay here and exhale your air while pushing your air out your belly and flattening it down. Think of blowing air into a balloon. It’s hard to get the balloon to kickstart so you have to exhale really hard! That’s the amount of effort it should be to keep yourself in this hollow position.

Once you’re here, you can advance the movement by extending your arms and legs on the exhale. If you can’t keep your back down when extending, back off, keep your knees at 90 degrees, and simply extend your arms or keep your arms tucked and extend one leg, then the other, then both. Keep building on this one as it just gets better and better!

Repeat this exercise 4-5x times with 10-20 reps each round. For an additional challenge, you can complement this exercise with reverse crunches.

A woman demonstrating a hollow body hold.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Muffin Tops

Muffin tops are primarily caused by excess body fat, particularly in the abdominal area. Factors such as genetics, diet, lack of physical activity, and hormonal changes can contribute to the development of muffin tops.

Exercise can help reduce muffin tops by toning the abdominal muscles and burning calories, but spot reduction (losing fat from a specific area) is generally ineffective. A combination of cardio, strength training, and a balanced diet is recommended for overall fat loss.

No specific diet exclusively targets muffin tops. However, a balanced diet that includes fewer calories than you burn will lead to overall fat loss, which will eventually reduce muffin tops.

While muffin tops are often viewed as a cosmetic concern, excess abdominal fat can pose health risks. It is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health issues.

Shapewear and high-waisted clothing can help smooth and temporarily conceal muffin tops, providing a more streamlined appearance. However, they do not address the underlying issue of excess fat.

Yes, liposuction and tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) are surgical procedures that can address muffin tops by removing excess fat and tightening abdominal muscles. Consult with a plastic surgeon to explore these options.

The time it takes to lose muffin tops varies from person to person and depends on factors like diet, exercise routine, and metabolism. A sustainable rate of weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week.

Yes, if one returns to an unhealthy lifestyle with poor dietary choices and minimal physical activity, muffin tops can reappear. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for long-term success.

Hormonal changes, such as those during menopause, can contribute to increased abdominal fat. Balancing hormones through lifestyle changes and medical guidance may help.

Spot reduction is challenging. As you lose weight through diet and exercise, your body will determine where it sheds fat. While the abdominal area may be a stubborn spot, overall fat loss will eventually reduce muffin tops.

Yes, genetics play a role in body shape and fat distribution. Some individuals may be more prone to storing excess fat in the abdominal area, making muffin tops more likely.

Ready to Burn Your Stubborn Muffin Top?

While it’s important to remember that spot reduction is not actually possible for eliminating muffin tops, these core exercises certainly help you on your journey to a sleeker waistline. Incorporate them into your regular workout routine, or do them while you’re watching TV at the end of the day.

These exercises along with a balanced diet and overall fitness plan will get you closer to your goals as long as you are consistent. Stay committed and I’m sure that you will soon notice a more toned and sculpted core that will have you saying goodbye to those pesky muffin tops.

Don’t be discouraged, however, if it takes longer than expected to see results. This is normal, as you can only lose about 1 to 3 pounds of body fat per week, depending on your body composition.

You can accelerate your progress, however, by consulting an expert. To talk to a professional, book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our Certified Coaches today.

Thanks for reading, Gymless Heroes! I’ll catch you next time.

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