We endearingly refer to them as love handles. Or maybe you prefer to call it your muffin top. Either way, excess fat sitting on the sides of the torso is tough to lose.
“You have to cross-train your core like you cross-train the rest of your body,” says celebrity trainer Kira Stokes. Of all the waist-whittling exercises out there, ones that target your oblique muscles will zero in on this area. A general rule to keep in mind: Any move where you’re reaching to the side works your oblique.
But incorporating ones that also hit your upper and lower abs will more effectively sculpt and slim your entire middle section. “Your core works as one complete unit,” Stokes reminds us.
Here, she shares her favorite tips and exercises for getting rid of the extra padding around your middle.
- The high plank– lay on the floor in a push position and keep your buttocks tight while your navel toward your spine. Raise yourself to a plank position and hold like that for 15 minutes. Then lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- The lunge reach – stand up and spread your feet at hip width. Bend the knees slightly and place your arms aside. Raise them above your head and lunge forward with the left leg. Push off your left leg to return. Repeat the lunge 16 times by switching sides.
- The hands-up hop – stand up with your feet apart at hip width and bend the knees slightly. Place the hands on your hips and raise the right knee a step forward with the left foot. Extend the arms overhead and hop straight up on the left leg. Land with your feet together and hands on your hips. Repeat it 20 times by switching sides.
- The squat jump – you may feel a burn while you do this exercise. Stand with the feet apart at shoulder width. Bend the knees slightly and place your hands by your sides. Lift your arms overhead and squat. Then jump straight up. Lower your hands by your sides and land in a squat. Repeat it 12 times.
- The lunge jump – bend your left leg and place your arms overhead in a lunge position. Jump straight up and switch legs in midair so that you land in a lunge with the right leg in front. Repeat the exercise 12 times for every side.
Getting your body into tip-top shape takes a lot of work, but combining a healthy diet and exercise is the best way to make changes that last.