Women tend to be incredibly hard on themselves when it comes to body image. It’s so important to learn self-love and how to accept our imperfections. That said, everyone has those areas that they feel self-conscious about. Here are some of the top 10 areas in the body that women struggle with and exercises you can do to give those pesky areas a little TLC.
The muffin top
Also known as the love handle, this pouch of pooch is a result of hormones, age, fatty or sugary diets or insufficient exercise habits. While we can’t suggest much beyond seeing your doctor if you find them to be a persistent problem, mountain climbers provide an excellent resource if you just find yourself needing to get up and move more. To do a mountain climber, begin in a straight-arm plank position (like you’re about to do a push-up). Pull one leg up to your chest quickly and then extend it back out as you draw your other leg to your chest. It’s almost like you’re running in place – up a mountain.
The saggy belly
A great exercise to target your flabby abs is the Russian twist. Simply sit on the floor with your knees bent and make a V-shape with your legs and torso (make sure you’re on a mat or a soft surface). Once in this position, rotate your body by reaching from one side to the other with your hands clasped or holding onto a dumbbell. This is a great move for your oblique muscles.
The glum bum
Take your backside from glum to glam with this fire hydrant exercise that targets your glutes and inner thighs. Simply get on all fours (knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders, back straight). Look forward as you raise your leg out to the side, keeping your knee at a 90-degree angle until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
The airplane arms
No one likes to feel as if they’re about to take off down the runway anytime they extend their arms. Avoid this by doing various triceps exercises. Dips are easy and adaptable to various locations – from home to office, all you need is a stable chair or elevated surface. Simply stand in front of the chair, facing away from it. Place your hands on the chair shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs and keep your back close to the chair. Lower your body until your elbows form a 90-degree angle and then slowly raise yourself up until your arms are extended (although you want to keep a slight bend in your elbows at all times).
The banana roll
Target that pesky roll of fat under your fabulous bottom with this bridge exercise. Simply lie on your back with your knees bent so that when you lift your hips your body makes a straight line from knee to shoulder. Squeeze your butt while your hips are elevated then lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat.
In addition to exercise that target your thighs – like squats, lunges, and wall-sits – long endurance cardiovascular exercises (like running) can do a lot to help slim your thighs. Long-distance running targets different muscle fibers than high-intensity workouts do, resulting in thighs that, over time, are strengthened without building a ton of muscle mass.
Double chins are often a result of fat build-up around the platysma area. Try doing neck crunches to combat the droop. Simply lie flat on your back, lift your head, and tuck your chin towards your chest while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Hold, release, and repeat.
Having a full chest is hardly a problem – it’s the uncontainable bulge spilling out of your bra that tends to send people into a panic. Push-ups are a great exercise to target that area. To do a proper push-up, place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Without bending and keeping your core as tight as you can, lower your body until your chest is close enough to the ground that only your fist would fit in the space. You should be in a straight line from head to toe and your shoulders should be tucked close. Then push back up and repeat for as many times as you can.
While there’s no sure-fire way to get rid of cellulite since a lot of times it’s a genetic condition, there are ways to reduce the appearance. An article by WebMD states that “the keys to a good anti-cellulite training program are: losing body fat, firming the muscle underneath the skin, following a low-carb diet and boosting circulation and blood flow” (Cassity, 2005-2018). To strengthen the muscles on the back part of your thighs (a common spot for cellulite), try step-ups. Step up onto a bench, a fitness step, or a stair and step down with the same leg you stepped up with. Repeat on the same leg for 20-30 reps and then switch.
Just as with any of these, there could be underlying causes for large calves that seem to blend into your ankles. From pregnancy to genes, not all cankles can be combatted with exercise. However, if you’re just looking for a way to strengthen those muscles and prevent unwanted fat to build up, try calf raises for an easy and effective workout. With your feet shoulder-width apart, push yourself up with the balls of your feet as high as your ankle flexibility allows, then lower yourself back down gently. These can be done on a flat surface or on a stair.
Callahan, C. (2017, July 18). Does Running Help Slim Down Your Legs? Retrieved March 2018, from LiveStrong: https://www.livestrong.com/article/509111-does-running-help-slim-down-your-legs/
Cassity, J. (2005-2018). Are There Exercises to Get Rid of Cellulite? Retrieved March 2018, from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/are-there-exercises-to-get-rid-of-cellulite
Cherney, K. (2017, December 14). Love Handles: What Causes Them, and How Do You Get Rid of Them? Retrieved March 2018, from Health Line: https://www.healthline.com/health/what-causes-love-handles
Das, P. (2009-2018). Double Chin Exercise. Retrieved March 2018, from Physiotherapy-Treatment.com: https://www.physiotherapy-treatment.com/double-chin-exercise.html
Super Skinny Me. (2016). How to Slim Thighs- The Thigh Gap! Retrieved March 2018, from Super Skinny Me: http://www.superskinnyme.com/slim-thighs.html