Goal your drawback areas
Okay, so first things first – stain reduction is a myth. (Now repeat this until it is permanently attached to your gray matter.) Time and again it has been proven that you cannot physiologically focus all of your weight loss efforts on melting away a stubborn roll of fat that is bumping or clumping in an uncomfortable shape.
Think of it this way: you can't scoop a cup of water out of the middle of a lake and expect a divot to be left. The total water level will decrease, but no particular area will have less water than another. Your body works in the same way, and the signals that increase fat loss during exercise are hormonal. Hormones have a full body effect – they don't care that your belly pooch is annoying. Case in point, a study conducted at the University of Connecticut found that subjects who only exercised one arm had the same fat loss in both arms. Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that after 12 weeks of exercising just their lower body on a leg press, participants noticed a reduction in the amount of fat in their upper bodies.
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If all you want to do is "lose weight" this article doesn't matter much to you because all you need to do to achieve this goal is reduce your caloric intake and increase your activity level. But if you want to change your body composition and lose fat specifically – no matter where you want to lose it – you have to take a different route.
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Ready, aim, fire!
The result is that you can reshape your body – as long as you view your training as targeted building rather than targeted cutting down. Because the more you shape an area that you hate, the more it turns into a shape that you love. However, it may take some time so be patient. "Usually, the area a person is most concerned about is the last place they will see results," says Kira Stokes, NASM-CPT, inventor of the Kira Stokes On-Demand Method. "But if you put the work and effort into your entire body, there will come a point when that particular area will respond." (Do you remember the sea analogy?)
Stokes and Nathalia Melo, founders of the Mother Strong League – an online coaching program for busy athletic mothers – revealed their favorite moves to work the muscles right under your most hideous trouble spots and help you nurture your body from within to shape and build up. By arranging these motions in a circuit format – for 12 to 15 repetitions each – increases calorie expenditure, thereby burning the body fat that makes one area “troublesome” while building smooth, smooth muscles underneath. Do the low-calorie cardio finisher at the end of your strength training to burn even more fat, and soon your problem areas will be like this in 2019.
While most of the science indicates that there is no spot reduction, some small studies argue differently, and the researchers came to some interesting conclusions that may or may not be factual. In any case, their suggestions and strategies will not harm you in your endeavors. Try them out if you want.
Heat your pesky area. If you touch an area that has a lot of fat you may find that it is colder. This is because fat deposits have very little blood flow. In one study, it was hypothesized that the physical heating of an area of fat and thus the increase in blood flow to the surrounding tissues is more likely to break down the fat in this area and use it to supply local working muscles
Do high reps. Is the burning sensation you feel when doing high repetitions more than just lactic acid? Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do thousands of crunches to get into a bodybuilding competition, and although it was more likely that his diet than his crunches helped him remove fat from his core when you use high repetitions and one always heat again (see previous tip) you will continuously increase the blood flow to this area and may increase fat loss. At least you will get into your core work
Try intermittent fasting or do cardio on an empty stomach. Some research has found that fatty acids have a traffic pattern that enters cells for storage after eating and leaks out of cells when fasting for fuel. Any of these techniques can work to your fat burning benefit. So pass them on
Problem area: Weak / slack upper arms
If your upper arms are still waving long after you've stopped saying "hello," it may be time to hit your triceps. This is where Stokes recommends tight-grip moves like skull breakers and bench presses to perform the trick.
Try replacing these movements – doing them one at a time with no pause in between – to make them more metabolic.
Dumbbell skull breaker
- Lie down with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended across your shoulders perpendicular to the floor and palms facing in. Just bend at your elbows to lower the dumbbells towards your forehead until they are almost touching. Return to the start and pinch your triceps firmly together with full extension.
Close-grip dumbbell bench press
- Lie down with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended across your shoulders perpendicular to the floor and palms facing in. Keep your arms close to your sides as you bend your elbows and lower the weights toward the sides of your chest. Extend with force to the start.
Problem area: back bulge
That unsightly blister of flesh poking out from under your bra can be due to sagging or weak back muscles. Melo's bra strap bulge recipe is any type of row or pulldown that affects the latissimus dorsi, the muscles responsible for creating that flattering V-taper.
Tip: Try making rows at different angles with different equipment to keep things fresh and encourage progress.
Banded wide range
- Place a resistance band around an anchor at shoulder height. Hold the handles shoulder-width apart, palms down, and elbows bent 90 degrees and raised in line with your shoulders. Keep your hands wide as you pull your elbows back, squeeze your shoulder blades, and then slowly return to start.
Landmine Barbell Row
- Secure one end of a barbell in a land mine device or in the corner of a room. Load the other end with weight and spread the bar with your feet about shoulder width apart from the loaded end. Keep your back flat as you push your glutes back, then fold forward at your hips to hold the bar just below the weight collar. Ride your elbows up and back to pull the bar toward your chest, contract your shoulder blades, then slowly lower them down to start.
Problem spot: muffin top
Larger jeans aside, some focused core work touching the transverse abdomen – the innermost abdominal muscles that act like a corset – could help rein that waistband once and for all. And while it can be argued that you're constantly working your core with movements like squats and deadlifts, it still takes some tensioned time to get stronger, says Stokes.
Tip: Perform these movements slowly and with concentration, exhaling on exertion and exhaling on release.
- Lie with your legs over your hips, your knees bent at 90 degrees, and your arms straight over your shoulders. Press and hold your lower back in the floor as you slowly lower your right arm above your head and extend your left leg to float just above the floor. Return to the start and continue alternately.
- Wrap a large exercise band around a rig or bar at chest height and hold the handles together at your chest with your elbows bent. Step back until you feel tension in the band, then stand by your sides with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly push the band forward at shoulder level until your arms are fully extended, then slowly return to the start. Do all the repetitions on one side before switching.
New mother with a stomachache? Melo suggests contacting a doctor or physiotherapist on the pelvic floor. "The problem could be a tummy separation rather than just a 'muffin top,'" says Melo. "Breaking up may require rehabilitation work instead of going straight into the regular core exercises."
Problem spot: Flat / sagging back
When it comes to building a well-defined tail, the hamstrings are just as important as the glutes, according to Stokes. "Think of your bum as the roof of the house and your hamstrings as walls," she says. "Without solid walls, you can't have a roof to hold it up."
Medicine ball split squat to single-leg deadlift
- Holding a medicine ball to your chest, straighten one leg behind you, and place your ankle laces on a bench. Shift your weight onto your forefoot, then bend your knee to lower yourself into a deeply split lunge. At the bottom, your front leg should form a 90-degree angle. Stand, then straighten your arms so that the ball is in front of your thighs. Keep your standing knee straight, but not locked, as you hang by your hips and reach the medicine ball with your back straight to the floor. Return to standing. Do all the repetitions on one side, then switch.
When you perform one-legged movements, your balance is challenged and the gluteus medius is further activated, creating the bubble butt.
Barbell hip thrust
- Sit with your back against a bench and roll a loaded barbell over your legs and over your hips. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold the barbell with both hands to keep it in place. Ride in your heels and push your hips up until your shoulders, hips, and knees are in line and parallel with the floor. Pause and then lower slowly to start.
Tip: Keep your feet flat on the floor and drive right through your heels for the most force.
Problem area: inner / outer thighs
Love her or hate her, your thighs are a strong part of your body, and chances are you'll do lots of squats and lunges to keep them in shape. However, these movements don't directly affect the inner or outer part of your thighs, which – no matter how great your quads are – steal the spotlight when you look in the mirror. But don't worry, you don't have to resort to the “good girl / bad girl” machine in the gym – these two movements train your thighs 360 degrees and build core and buttock strength at the same time.
Tip: Challenge yourself – raise your leg and hold it in the raised position on both sides for as long as possible.
Adductor side plank
- Lie on your left side perpendicular to a flat bench with your left elbow under your shoulder and your right leg with your foot extended on the bench. Raise your hips to get into a side plank and keep them stacked as you slowly raise and lower your left leg for reps. Do on both sides.
Banded sideways walking crouch
- Place a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees and stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Step aside with your left foot, squeeze your glutes back, and bend your knees to lower yourself into a crouch. Then, kick in with your right foot to meet your left and get back up. Repeat this for several reps in both directions.
Tip: Continuously push your knees apart to touch your outer thighs.
For a physique of the next level, a special cardio is appropriate. This 18-minute interval training course with skipping rope and body weight is perfect after strength training or on days when you are pressed for time and want to get on and off quickly.
18 minutes of HIIT
Do three rounds of the following workout. Do each movement for a minute, resting for a minute between rounds.
- Skipping rope
- Switch kick
- Jumping lunge