Top 8 Exercises To Get Rid Of Muffin Top (Free Plan)

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // November 21, 2023

Discover how to get rid of muffin top fast with these 7 simple exercises. Strengthen your core and create a toned stomach in no time!

Muffin top, love handles, spare tire, or belly bulge. No matter what you call it, excess fat around your waistline is extremely frustrating. It seems like no matter how much you diet or how much you exercise, that pesky muffin top just won’t budge.

How to get rid of muffin top abdominal fat is one of the number one questions I receive as a personal trainer.

I understand why – it’s overwhelming to sort through the conflicting information out there about detoxes, fad diets, and ab exercises that promise to give you a flat stomach by Sunday. 

Luckily, there are some specific exercises that target the muffin top area and can help you starting ridding of belly fat for good. 

These exercises will tone your obliques (the muscles on the sides of your waist), your rectus abdominus (the vertical muscle), and your transverse abdominus (the deepest layer of abdominal muscles). Perform this exercise routine 3-4 times per week to start seeing results.  

And give yourself at least three months of consistency.  There is no magic when it comes to losing belly fat. 

In this article, I’ll also help you bust those belly fat myths by exploring what actually causes a “muffin top” in the first place.

Then, I give you a comprehensive, realistic plan to get rid of your muffin top —including a workout that will blast belly fat using HIIT-style muffin top exercises. Let’s get started!

What Is A Muffin Top?

Muffin tops, what exactly are they? Well, I’m not talking about something you can get at the bakery.

A muffin top is a slang term for the roll of fat that hangs over the sides of a tighter waist band and mimics that look of a top of a muffin. And frankly, it can be pretty difficult to get rid of.

It also is a precursor to cardiovascular disease, so it’s not something to ignore. 

What Causes Muffin Top Fat?

Having excess abdominal fat can be caused by a variety of factors and is a serious health risk.  The most obvious cause of a muffin top is simply carrying extra fat all over. 

But here are four other factors that can contribute to belly fat, too.


If you’re carrying a little extra fat all over, some of it will logically be carried around your waistline. Genetics plays a factor, but don’t use your genetics as an excuse to feel defeated. 

If you have extra stubborn belly fat, you can start by losing excess body fat all over while toning your abs.

Poor Diet

Eating processed food and too much of it is the biggest problem. You will gain weight if taking in more calories than you expend.

And if you are consuming too much processed white flour, sugar and other ingredients, science shows the extra fat settles in your mid section. 

In addition, consuming a lot of sugary sodas, salty foods, and artificial ingredients will naturally trigger belly bloating in different people. Try detoxing from sugar to see how much better you feel!

Besides the fact you may not like the way a muffin top feels or looks, there are even more concerns. This excess muffin top can lead to health issues like insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances and metabolic syndrome. 

The saying goes “you can’t out train a bad diet” so adapting some healthy eating habits and adjusting your calorie intake is the first place to start! 


Chronic stress contributes to storing excess visceral fat (fat stored within your abdominal cavity). It also naturally makes you reach for more salty and sugary snacks as a coping mechanism which can lead to those love handles. 

Plus, stress raises your cortisol levels. 

This stress hormone is known to contribute to belly fat. Reducing your stress levels will help with reducing muffin top. 

It all goes hand in hand. As you take on healthy lifestyle changes, you will hopefully feel less stressed. 


If you’re entering perimenopause or menopause and finding you have more fat around your middle, it could be a change in hormones. If you are estrogen dominant, you can store more belly fat than you want. 

Check out this article to learn how to balance your hormones for weight loss.

How To Get Rid Of Muffin Top: 4 Proven Solutions

Now that you know a few main causes of excess belly fat, we’ll cover 4 proven ways to reduce belly fat and get rid of that muffin top plus we’re sharing our muffin top workout:

Clean Up Your Diet 

The best muffin top workout isn’t a workout at all – it’s all about the food. 

I said it above that abs are made in the kitchen. In an editorial by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers say excess sugar and processed carbs— not physical inactivity— are primarily to blame for the growing obesity epidemic.

Excess calories, especially those in the form of sugar and unhealthy fats end up as fat on your body and that includes your belly. 

The goal is to expend more calories than you take in to lose weight creating a calorie deficit. One way you can do this is by eating clean

Eating clean doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all the things you love! It’s about a healthy diet of real food. 

woman smiling eating a healthy salad in a glass bowl

The key is to choose primarily whole foods and eat small meals regularly. Processed food is usually full of calories and weird non-food ingredients.

The best foods to get rid of muffin top fat are whole foods. This means fiber-filled vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fats. Walk the perimeter of your local grocer or visit a farmers market just to see your options.

It’s going to take some time and education to start eating better but your health is worth it.  

And for some inspiration, try these high-protein, low-calorie breakfasts that kickstart your metabolism and prevent overeating later in the day.

HIIT Exercises

If there’s any form of exercise that will help you lose a muffin top fast, it’s HIIT. 

High-Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardio and strength exercise that has you work as hard as you can for short periods of time with short periods of rest in between.

HIIT training is hard because you are pushing yourself to increase your heart rate and if you are a beginner you need to start slowly. But as your heart gets stronger you’ll be able to do more. 

And HIIT workouts are more efficient at burning calories and keeping your metabolism elevated long after you are done exercising. So calories will continue to burn even as you move throughout the next part of your day.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both preferably spread throughout the week.

This includes a mixture of cardio, High-Intensity Interval Training, and strength training.

Get Enough Sleep

You may not immediately connect the dots between sleep and your weight, but research can prove it: study participants who were put on a sleep-deprived diet experienced a 55% reduction in fat loss compared to their well-rested counterparts.

Sleep deprivation can change your fat cells by disrupting your body’s ability to properly use insulin. Excess insulin can cause your body to store fat in unwanted places, like your waist, which can cause weight gain, belly fat, and even diabetes.

Adults should regularly get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep to stay healthy, regulate their mood, and help them meet their weight loss goals. 

I recommend trying a few of these science backed tips to get better sleep.

Strengthen Your Core the Right Way

Eliminating belly fat around your midsection with better eating and proper exercise is crucial. 

Core-strengthening exercises will be your focus mixed in with some cardio moves. I do suggest learning how to engage your Transverse Abdominus (“TVA”). This is the muscle that sits deep and low in your belly.

By taking time to strengthen this muscle properly, you create a built-in corset that will pull your tummy in, protect your low back and promote better posture—something that will also make you look leaner. 

Exercise methods such as Pilates are excellent for learning how to make this muscle rock solid. Once you can pull in your TVA , you can take on all of these exercises with confidence. 

Top 8 Exercises to Get Rid of a Muffin Top

First start your healthy eating. Then try this muffin top workout in your home or at the gym to start targeting belly fat. 

This HIIT-style muffin top workout for beginners combines high-intensity cardio training with real core exercises to get rid of body fat, tone and tighten your tummy, and burn calories.

Instructions for a 16-minute muffin top workout: 

  • Do each move for 20 seconds. 10 seconds rest in between.
  • Repeat each exercise three times for a 16-minute workout!

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Skater exercise demonstration part of a muffin top workout

How to do skaters:

  1. Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and arms at the sides.
  2. Bring one leg behind at a slight angle into a reverse lunge. The front knee will come to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion. Arms alternate as you switch sides like a speed skater.

Sweeping Scissors 

Sweeping scissors ab crunch.

How to do sweeping scissors:

  1. Start lying on the mat with arms over your head and legs long.
  2. Sweep arms out to sides and bring head, neck, and shoulders off the mat reaching arms long and lifting one leg up and in towards the chest.  Reaching arms forward on the sides of the leg. Roll back to the mat lowering the leg, and repeat on the other side.

Lateral Shuffle 

Chris Freytag demonstrating Lateral Shuffle in a pink tank top during a muffin top workout

How to do lateral shuffle:

  1. Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and sink into a deep knee bend. Bring both hands in front of the chest in guard position.
  2.  Start with right foot moving right and left foot following.  Shuffle right for four right-left steps, then move left for four left-right steps.  Continue shuffling right left for the desired amount of time.

Plank Side Lift and Lower

A side plank lift and lower works your abs effectively.

How to do plank side lift and lower:

  1. Start by laying on your right side with your forearm below your shoulder, body lifted and legs long and feet stacked. Keep body straight, abs tight, and place left hand on hip.
  2. Dip your hips down towards the mat and lift back up using your obliques and core muscles.

Split Jumps

split jumps

How to do split jumps:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Hands are in front of the chest hand on the fist. Take a large step forward with one foot and lower your body toward the floor. Both legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the lunge.
  2. Lower the back knee slightly and jump to switch the feet.  While in the air front foot comes back and the back foot comes to the front.  Land in a bent knee lunge. Repeat.

Bend Extend Ab Tuck

bend extend ab tuck

How to do bend extend ab tuck:

  1. Start seated on the mat with arms behind you, hands on the mat, and fingers facing your backside. Sit back on your hands and lift up your feet off the mat keeping the knees bent.
  2. Keep abs tight and press your legs out long and lower back down slightly. You should feel your lower abdominals working, then push yourself back up and pull your knees in to return to your starting position.


Try burpees for a full body exercise that blasts fat.

How to do burpees:

  1. Start in a plank with arms and legs long, hands shoulder-distance apart.
  2. Walk or jump both feet between your hands coming into a low squat. Jump straight up as high as possible, land, and come back to your plank position.

In In Out Out Plank

in in out out plank

How to do in in out out plank:

  1.  Begin in a forearm plank position with your body in a straight line and abdominals contracted.
  2. Step your left foot out to the left.
  3. Step your right foot out to the right.
  4.  Step your left foot back to the center.
  5. Step your right foot back to the center.

You’re now equipped with the tips you need to get rid of that muffin top: eating right, combining strength training and cardio, getting enough sleep, and using moves specifically designed to target your core.

Now get ready to burn off belly fat and work towards a healthier you!

Core Workouts, Fitness, Training Advice, Training Tips

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on Reply

for how long should i do hiit workout

    on Reply

    Hi There - You will want to follow along with the instructions for this 16-Minute HIIT Workout. Here is what you will want to do: Do each move for 20 seconds. 10 seconds rest in between. Repeat each exercise three times for a 16-minute workout!

on Reply

Thank you for this comprehensive list, and for including instructions on how to do each excerise!!!

on Reply

Hi I’m Lilly I’m 11 years old and weigh 112 pounds would really like to get rid of my muffin top, thighs and arm fat. I try to eat less unhealthy foods and nothing really seems to work... can you please give me some exercises to do and some tips? It will help a lot!

on Reply

Great info thanks. I do all of those exercises and eat healthy. I workout 5-6 days a week. No sugar, occasionally some dark chocolate. Can’t seem to get rid of muffin top😞. I joined your website for more HIIT workouts, feeling a little deflated, but love your workouts, so thank you. 🤗

on Reply

I’m recovering from rotator cuff surgery and very limited to what exercises I can do. Any suggestions?

    on Reply

    Hi Jackie - so sorry to hear you are recovering from surgery, but I know you are on the upward swing :) That being said, I would advise you to consult your doctor on what exercises you can be doing. This is something you will want to discuss with them.

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I am 54 years old and go on a brisk walk uphill 4 to 5 days a week. I was always thin until I had kids. I cannot do sit-ups because of lower back issues. I am apple shape so I have been told after having biometrics testing. My downfall is that I do have a sweet tooth; however gave up soda about 15 years ago. I recently have been logging food through lose it app and finding that I am not craving sweets as much. I do want to lose my muffin top so I will try some of these tips. Yours truly

    on Reply

    Yay - way to go! It sounds like you are doing all of the right things towards living a healthy lifestyle. You are exercising and staying active as well as logging your food and paying attention to what you are putting in your body! These are all key components to living a healthy and happy life!! Congratulations and keep up the good work!

on Reply

Hi I’m about to turn 15 and I’ve had a big belly + muffin top for a while and I joined cross country running last year. Do you think if I kept with the running and joined Nordic cross county skiing in the winter, then track in the spring, would that help me lose that fat (along with a healthier diet) or should I also do the workout and you mentioned.

    on Reply

    Hi Jenna - when it comes to losing weight, there is no one right way to do it! So, like you mentioned, you're involved in great forms of exercise throughout the year and eating a healthy diet. This is the best way to approach losing weight and staying healthy. Hopefully these sports are something you can join as well. Of course incorporating other types of workouts can also challenge different muscled groups but your best bet is to stay active and eat well! It's frankly the best advice for all of us :)

on Reply

I’m 12 years old ( 5’1 and weight about 148 lbs) I work out at home and diet is ok but I would love to get rid of some weight and muffin top please help me

    on Reply

    Hi Alicia - I'm not sure how much of this article you read, but I'd encourage you to go back through it; this really is our best advice! If you have concerns about your weight, I'd encourage you to talk to an adult your trust or your doctor. They will be able to guide you through the best and safest ways to lose weight.

on Reply

I am a 15 year old girl and have a muffin too kind of badly which caused me to get stretch marks . (5’3 and 182 lbs) is there any way i could loose my muffin top in 20 days ?

    on Reply

    Hi Alisa - unfortunately, losing weight can take some time... however, you can definitely make progress and by working out and eating well, you might be able to notice a slight difference in 20 days. I'm not sure how much of this article you read, but I'd encourage you to go back through it; this really is our best advice! We all have our areas that we'd like to improve so you're not alone in wanting to lose the muffin top; I'd encourage you to just stay positive and continue trying to be healthy!

on Reply

Hi Chris, i am a 67 year old man with a 33 waist . I train 4 times a week for a 75 minutes each time. No cardio. I know my way around the gym and hit each body part twice a week. I would say my diet is excellent but not perfect. My problem is i can't lose my muffin top. PS. In the warm weather i either hike 8 miles or bike 14 on the weekends. Walter

    on Reply

    Hi Walter - first of all, it sounds like you're doing a great job taking care of your health! If you're still not seeing the results you want, I would add in some cardio both for your heart health and to help lose the muffin top. You can start light and then move up as you feel comfortable. You can also try to work one on one with a personal trainer where they could give you more specific instructions. Good luck!

(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
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