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Get rid of soft spots w/ on-target exercises

January 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Those soft spots on your body may seem impossible to work off, but don't give up just yet. Rather than spot-reduce, try some on-target solutions.

While we appreciate the curves, even the softness of the female shape, there's often frustration on spots that get a little too soft.

"Definitely the bra fat, the wiggly arms, typically, muffin top. Sometimes I refer to them as sausage legs if you have tight bike shorts on. So those are some soft spots," said fitness expert Amy Dixon.

Dixon said think about this before zeroing in on any particulars.

"We're built skin, fat, muscle. You could have a rock-solid six-pack but if you have not done any cardiovascular activity or really looked at your diet in a good way, you're never going to see that muscle. So it's important that you have a three-tiered approach for sure," said Dixon.

So add walking, cycling and climbing stairs-- all bouts of cardio that torch fat and help reveal the real you.

Keep in mind the more body parts you move, the more calories you burn, which makes for a far more effective exercise. You've got more muscles that are getting stronger and you'll be burning more fat.

Rather than working one muscle at a time, the best method is to combine several muscle groups together.

For Arm Flaps:

  1. Side lunges with kick backs: Stepping out to the side, bend that knee and lean back into glutes while leaning forward and lengthening arms behind you as high as possible, then coming back to center, standing up before stepping to the other side. This works core and balance as well.
  2. Tricep dip with body bridge: Also hit that arm flap while working glutes to build a better bottom line. Start seated with hands behind your glutes with fingers facing in towards your body. Lift hips up as high as possible with your head up, looking out over your hips. Bend elbows, and hips will drop slightly, then straighten arms and push hips to the ceiling

For Muffin Top and Bra Strap Squish:

  1. Say goodbye to the muffin top and bra strap squish by performing ab lean-backs combined with V-shape flies. Seated with knees bent and weights in hand by your side with palm side up-- lean back to where you feel your abdominals working, then sit up straight. As you sit up take your arms up in the V-shape outstretched with palms up reaching shoulder level, then lean back again dropping arms. This twofer works the abdominals, chest and arms all in one.
  2. Ball pushups: Another arm and ab combo is pushups on knees or toes, alternating one hand on a ball as you lower down to push back up. Once you push up, roll the ball towards the other arm, let the opposite hand catch it and push up again. Very effective.

For Muffin Top and Love Handles:

Form is key on leg windshield wipers, which target muffin tops and love handles.

With arms in the letter T, lower back and shoulder blades pressed down, take legs over to one side, but not touching the floor, then bring them back to center and go to the other side. If you have a ball or towel to put between your knees, this helps keep the grip tight and your legs together.

For Muffin Top, Love Handles, Back Fat:

Side plank on the forearm (or hand) with an arm raise attacks back fat, love handles and muffin top as well, because you have to use your core to stay upright.

Lie on one side with a weight or soup can. Feet will be together, leaning on hip and either forearm or hand. Lift hips up and take the top hand, raise it out in front of you and overhead. Staying up, allow the hand to come down slowly in front of you with a straight arm taking the weight under you about waist level.

Do the raise with or without a weight. If you're at home, a large soup can will do the trick.

Most experts recommend doing sets of exercises. A set involves performing each movement eight to 12 times as one set. Work up to three sets of each exercise.