If you have developed a “muffin top” from consuming more calories than you are burning off, there are several things you can do to trim down. Do abdominal exercises that target all three groups of the abs–upper, lower and side obliques–to create a sleeker silhouette.
Also get at least 30 minutes of cardio four to five times a week to burn calories, and eat a well-rounded, low-fat diet to lose the muffin top for good. Doing only ab exercises will not trim inches off the waist as that would be “spot reducing,” which is more fantasy than fact. Only by combining regular cardio, ab exercises and a sensible diet can you reduce waist size.
Swiss Ball Curl Ups for Upper Abs
Use a Swiss ball to work the upper abdominals, rectus abdominis. Lie on your back and hold a small- or medium-size Swiss ball between your hands. While holding the ball over your face, slowly curl up until you are sitting upright and slowly curl back down. Start with 10 reps and add two reps with every other ab workout until you can do 50 reps.
Work the Lower Abs with Swiss Ball Leg Lifts
Build symmetry and avoid creating muscle imbalances by also working the lower abs, transversus abdominis. Lie on your back and lift both legs so that your feet face the ceiling and your body forms a large L shape. Place your hands under your hips, palms down, and set the Swiss ball between your feet. Engage the lower abs by drawing them in toward the spine. Lower your legs to the floor without touching it and lift them back to the starting position. Do 20 reps to start. To add upper abs, transfer the Swiss ball to your hands and lower overhead and then transfer back to the feet.
Work Obliques with Swiss Ball Side Crunches
Include the side abs or obliques to complete your belly workout. Set a large Swiss ball at the wall; set the inner edge of your right foot against the baseboard, and cross your left leg over it so that the left outer edge of your foot is at the baseboard. You have formed an X shape with your legs and are wedged against the wall with the Swiss ball on the outside of your feet. Cross your arms over your chest, keeping your head extended out of the hips and neck long. Begin with your right hip flush against the Swiss ball and drawing your lower abs in, lift your body to the left, using your left side obliques. Do 20 reps and repeat on the other side by moving your feet so that your left hip is against the Swiss ball.
About this Author
Sava Tang Alcantara has been a writer and editor since 1988, working as a writer and editor for health publications such as Let’s Live Magazine and Whole Life Times. Alcantara specializes in health and fitness and is a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. She does volunteer work regularly and has taught free public yoga classes in Santa Monica, Calif., since 2002.