Ever since skinny jeans were embraced by designers and clothing stores everywhere there has been a huge eruption of concern over muffin top among us. You know the fat that spreads over your pants due to the seam digging into your hip? High waist pants have attempted a resurgence, but who wants actual material hovering their mid-section? We have been spoiled by the freedom of getting to sit with nothing around the waist! Big score for comfort. However, our pants do have to stay up somehow. Now they dig into our sides and create that topper we all dread.
Clean eating and avoiding highly inflammatory foods is a big part of keep the muffin at bay of course. However, working the core and abs in a specific fashion is also highly important. Performing crunches until the cows come home will not do it folks. It is not about quantity – it is about being smart.
Up until recently I was saving ab, core and low back exercises for the end of my workouts. Expect I started noticing that I was skipping them fairly regularly. I would run out of time or begin to feel tired and want to call it quits for the day. A girl can only be at the gym so long! So this emphasis is now a part of my warm up to make sure it happens.
Here are a few pics of the last time I trained with Scott along with a few suggestions:
Stretching is so important. Below is one of my least favorite stretches and the one I am sure I need the most. I work in a lot of yoga-inspired stretches to help to open up my body. Flexibility is very much a challenge for me.
I see so many women at the gym doing all kinds of ab variations, but I see very few working their low back unless they work with a trainer. It is actually simply enough to start on your own, but I think these machines have a set up that can feel a little overwhelming. In our gym, we simply take the 45 degree hyper and elevate it to make a reverse hyper. You will start and finish in the same position and elevate your legs like I am showing below.
A reverse hyper is super expensive – you can check it out here to see a picture. It can typically be found in a lot of gyms, but you have to seek it out. It was inspired by the pummel horse from gymnastic routines. The old Soviet Union (current day Russia) transformed it into a weightlifting tool. Living in poverty, they had to become incredibly creative with what little equipment they had available to them. These exercises are tough and work very effectively. When I workout at Lifetime I will often use a glute ham developer because that it what is available to me. At an outside track you can use a bleacher to create the same effect.
Ab exercises are still vital of course. I try to work my abs four times a week and switch off between a low ab focus and rotational or side oblique. I am lowering and lengthening by holding my back tight and flat while lowering my legs in order to put the muscle under tension while lengthening. Tension creates tone.
Single Leg Low Ab Leg Negative
As shown in the picture below you will raise your one leg and lower it to the ground while maintaining tension in your abs. You will then return to the beginning position. These are brutal!
Reverse Ab Crunch
I often do these on a bench at the gym, but we created the same set up with an ab mat. They can be found for super cheap on Amazon so they can be done at home. You will set up your feet as displayed below and draw both knees into your abs simultaneously. Hold and then return to the original position.
Definitely consider these facts if you feel frustrated with your workout or you feel like you need extra help keeping your muffin top at bay.
Have a great Tuesday friends! I am off to sign up for the Precision Nutrition Coaching Certification. It was designed by Dr. John Berardi and I am super excited to jump in…
Question of the Day: What core exercises do you include in your workouts?