Shrinking Muffin Tops

You've heard the expression, art imitates life. I think of this as food imitates hips.

Yes, it's the dreaded "muffin-top" syndrome. I don't believe fashion designers have done women any favors with the latest trend in low-rise pants. They seem to accentuate an area where we carry extra weight and, for many of us, it isn't pretty! Never has the expression "you wear what you eat" been so apropos!


Below are some exercises that can assist us with reducing that overspill. Of course, modifying your fat and calorie intake can make these exercises much more effective. Work up to completing three circuits, combining the cardio movements with the exercises, four to six times per week.

Toe Tap (photo 1)
Cardio: March in place for two minutes while moving your arms in opposite directions.

Lie on your back, knees bent. Support the small of your back with a rolled hand towel. Calves should be parallel to the floor.

Keeping core muscles tight, slowly lower your right leg and tap your right toe on the floor 10 times. Keep abs tight as you raise the leg back up. Repeat, alternating legs. Keep thighs close and knees bent during exercise.

Walking Plank (photo 2)
Cardio: Alternate marching and jogging in place for two minutes. Adjust this mix to suit your fitness level.

Lie on your stomach with legs extended. Prop upper body on forearms, shoulders lowered. Using core muscles, raise hips off floor, then raise one knee at a time until you are in a raised plank position, supported by hands and toes. Keep back in a straight line with feet, legs, hips, shoulders and head. Hold, rest and repeat. Widen feet if more stability is needed.

Leg Lift (photo 3)
Cardio: Alternate marching in place with five to 10 jumping jacks for two minutes. Adjust number of jumping jacks for fitness level.

Start on hands and knees. With abs tight, keep back flat and parallel to the floor.

Raise left leg straight back to hip level, thigh parallel to the floor. Keep butt muscles tight and hips level; abdomen faces down, not tilted. Hold position for five to 10 seconds, building to one minute. When you feel stable, raise your bottom, right, toe off the floor and tighten your butt, back and abs to stabilize and balance. Hold for five to 10 seconds, then switch legs.

Alternating Leg Reach (photo 4)
Cardio: Alternate kicking and high knee lifts, both sides, for two minutes.

Lie on your back, arms in a T position, palms flat on the floor, legs extended. Keep abs tight, using arms for support.


Raise left leg up and bend it slightly. Using arms for balance, cross over the right leg and touch left foot to the floor, just outside right calf. Return leg back to starting position. Repeat, alternating legs. Keep movement small and controlled; avoid an extreme hip twist.

Cindy Quick Wilson is a certified trainer at Women's Fitness Company in Medford.


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