"Muffin Top": The over-hanging of the belly just like the top of a muffin sits on its paper casing...lovely, right?
I have never liked this term. I like this question even less because the answer is NOT a simple one. The concept of spot-reduction (losing weight or mass in a particular part of your body) does NOT exist. There are not specific exercises that will target weight loss at the waist. Now, please don't get discouraged because I do have an answer for you, and it's a 3 step approach: cardiovascular training, strength training and...wait for it...Fueling your body with good, clean eating!
The best way to get your workouts in using the combination of cardio and strength is to use an interval approach. Get approx 5 min of cardio (walking, running, biking, etc), then stop and work in some strength (push ups, tricep dips, squats, etc.), then repeat. While you are getting in these interval workouts, be sure you help your body along with clean eating so that you are rewarding your body, not punishing it.
It IS important strengthen and build stability in your core, not so much to reduce its girth, but to support and stabilize the spine. Here are 3 TOP core moves to add into your workouts:
1. Plank: Place your hands or elbows directly under your shoulder joints. Place either your toes or knees on the ground and lift the hips until your body is straight as a board. Focus not only on the strength in your abs but also engage your glutes and thighs.
2. Standing Rotation "Woodchop": Using either a weight or resistance tubing, make a diagonal movement from a squat upwards across the body. Focus on the rotation of the ribcage while keeping the hips as still as possible.
3. Standing Obliques: Again using weights or resistance tubing, laterally flex your spine, side to side. Think about bringing your ribcage to your hip bones. Keep your belly contracted the entire time.
Using this 3-Step approach, you can shave fat, build muscle and lean out which, ultimately, will help with that beloved "muffin top"!