Welcome to our summer fitness series. This month we’re featuring weekly exercises from Taller, Slimmer, Younger by trainer to the stars and expert on all things fascia and foam rolling, Lauren Roxburgh. Based on Lauren’s expert advice, we’ll be guiding you through foam rolling routines that will help you sculpt longer, leaner muscles, stand an inch taller, and look ten pounds slimmer. Let’s get ready to roll! This week’s focus: melting away that muffin top.
During the summer and beyond, targeting that midsection “muffin top” or “love handles,” as we’ve affectionately called them, becomes key. However, did you know that in order to melt away the muffin top, you actually want to work the back of the core?
Lauren Roxburgh, certified trainer and nutritionist, and author of Taller, Slimmer, Younger, proves that if you want to work on that muffin top area, you need to work on getting a flexible spine, and you can do that with the help of a foam roller.
“You’ll mobilize and tone your spinal muscles and the back of your legs, with a focus on releasing and strengthening the deep muscles of your back,” Roxburgh writes. “Tuning into these powerful intrinsic muscles will keep your spine erect for a taller, sleeker appearance. Looking good and feeling good — what more can you ask for?”
To gain that flexible spine, and to lose that extra fat around the hips, grab your foam roller and get to work. Here are Roxburgh’s recommended moves:
1. Slinky Spine
How to do it: Kneel on the floor, with the foam roller a few inches from your knees. Reach your arms to the sky and exhale as you round your spine and fold forward, touching the foam roller with your fingertips and forming an upside down U with your spine. As you inhale, extend your spine with your chest down and your sitz bones rising, rolling the foam roller along your forearms. Inhale again as you roll your body upwards back into starting position. Repeat four times.
2. Spinal Articulation
How to do it: Lying on the ground, place the roller in the middle of your back, along your bra line. Keep your feet planted on the ground, hip-width distance apart, and your knees bent, and your hands interlaced behind your head. Inhale as you bend back over the roller and exhale as you curl up again. Bracing with your feet, you can move the roller along your spine, going inch by inch until you’ve reached your shoulders. Do the same in the reverse direction — until the roller reaches the bottom of your rib cage. Repeat three times.
3. QL Roll
How to do it: Placing the roller behind your back, form a figure four with your left knee bent and your right ankle crossed over your left thigh (similar to a yoga pigeon pose). Keep your forearms on the ground behind you, with your thumbs facing in and touching the roller. Lean to the right and you’ll feel a nice stretch in your lower ribs. Press into your left foot and curl your tailbone up to get an extra extension. Repeat eight times on each side.
4. Rolling Swan
How to do it: Lie face-down on the mat, with your arms extended in front of you and the roller between your elbow joints. Keep your palms facing each other and your thumbs facing up. Inhale as you roll the roller toward your chest, elongating your back and lifting your heart. Exhale as you come back down. Repeat eight times.
5. Roll Like a Ball
How to do it: Sit on the mat with your knees in your chest, and place the roller on top of your shins, holding each side of it. Your spine will form a C-shaped curve and lift your feet off the floor to balance on your sitz bones. As you inhale, fall backward with control, massaging out your spine on the mat. Exhale and return to starting position, keeping your balance. Repeat eight times.
Photo Credit: @loroxburgh