You’ve been going to the gym, eating healthy, and drinking lots of water. 100,000 sit-ups later and those pesky love handles refuse to go away. Why?
There is a misconception that love handle fat is an abdominal problem. In reality, love handle fat rests on top of your obliques – a specific group of muscles located on the outer sides of the abdomen.
Getting rid of that fat requires you to focus your efforts on workouts that will train your oblique muscles. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as “spot reducing” fat loss. The excess fat that covers your muscles can only be removed through fat-burning cardio and a healthy, balanced diet.
Once that’s in check, you will be ready to add muscle-toning workouts to your routine. With hard work and consistent effort, you are guaranteed to see results. That being said, check out these simple and effective workouts to blast your love handles away.
9 Exercises to Melt Away Love Handles
1 – Woodchoppers
Woodchoppers are a core exercise that targets both your abs and obliques. The movements are simple but put your abs and obliques into overtime. The moves of this exercise strengthen your core, which promotes good posture, a healthy spine, and improved balance and stability.
How to Do Woodchoppers
- Stand with your feet pointed out slightly and shoulder-width apart.
- Begin to squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, ensuring to keep your back straight.
- Hold a weight with both hands and place them on the outer side of your right thigh.
- Use a twisting motion to turn your torso to the side and lift the weight diagonally up and across your body so that it is above your left shoulder.
- Keep your arms straight as you lift, stand, and turn your torso so you are facing the dumbbell.
- Your core muscles should be used to control this movement as you rise onto your toes while you lift and twist.
- Return to the beginning position by reversing the twisting, bring the dumbbell back down as if you are chopping wood.
- The goal is to aim for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.
2 – Russian Twists
Russian twists work all of your abdominal muscles, making it the perfect exercise to not only burn your love handles but also strengthen your core overall. These moves also help stabilize and strengthen your spine, improving its health and functioning.
How to Do Russian Twists
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Clasp your hands together and then lean back slowly until your torso and legs form a V shape, stimulating your abs and engaging your core.
- Your feet should not be on the ground as you twist your torso and clasped hands from side to side, balancing yourself on your glutes without moving your legs.
- The goal is to aim for two or three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
3 – Box Jumps
Box jumps are a form of plyometric workout that engages your entire body. This simple exercise uses your body weight to work all of your leg muscles and condition your core. Through explosive movements, this exercise develops your endurance and enhances your overall cardiovascular health.
How to Do Box Jumps
- First, you will need to find a sturdy box, ledge, or platform for you to jump on.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in front of the box.
- Begin to bend into a partial squat, swing your arms backward, and then swing them forward as you launch yourself off of the ground.
- Try to land as softly as possible and aim to land in the same position as before jumping.
- You can either jump off of the box or slowly step off the box one leg at a time. Stepping off of the box protects against joint pain and further trains your glutes.
- Aim to complete as many jumps as you can in a set time period. Increase the time as you get stronger.
4 – Side Squats
Side squats are another simple exercise that targets your lower body. This workout is unique because they involve lateral movements, which invigorates the muscles to turn on and work. As an added bonus, squats give your core abdominal and oblique muscles a workout too, diminishing fat from your love handles.
How to Do Side Squats
- Stand up straight with your legs widely parted and hands on your hips facing the front.
- Shift your weight onto your right leg and bend your knee, keeping your left leg straight and stretched out.
- Slowly return to the starting position before shifting to the other side.
- The goal is to complete 20 repetitions on each leg.
5 – Kettlebell Swings
The kettlebell swing is another explosive exercise that utilizes your back, shoulders, core, quads, and glutes. As indicated by the name, this full-body workout uses a swinging motion to raise a kettlebell. They are not only great for generating power throughout your body, but also for reducing fat from your love handles.
How to Do Kettlebell Swings
- Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Hold the kettlebell (either with one or two hands) with the palms facing down and the arms hanging loosely in front of the body.
- Begin to slightly bend your knees and push your hips back as you lower the body into a partial squat.
- As you squeeze your glutes and core, burst your hips forward and swing the kettlebell upwards. Aim to at least reach eye level, but you can lift them higher.
- Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 to achieve the best results.
6 – Side Planks
Planks are core strengthening exercises that target your back, shoulders, neck, chest, and abdominal muscles. There are several variations of the plank, each of which targets different parts of these muscle groups. The side plank is one of the top exercises to strengthen and train your obliques.
How to Do Side Planks
- Begin by lying on your side with your legs stacked and stretched out in front of you. Your right elbow should be positioned directly beneath your shoulder, and your head should be aligned with your spine.
- Inhale as you contract your abdominal muscles and pull your navel in toward your spine.
- Lift your knees and hips off of the mat as you exhale, maintaining your torso in a straight line and hold.
- The goal is to be able to hold the position for at least one minute.
- Switch sides and repeat.
7 – The Saw
The body saw is a Pilates move that serves as a great alternative to planks. This exercise engages your core and increases your core strength. As a result, you will have better posture, balance, and stability. This workout will surely help you say “goodbye” to your love handles.
How to Do the Saw
- Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Spread your legs and create a “T” with your arms spread out to your sides.
- Twist to your right and reach your left hand over to your right foot.
- Pulse three times before untwisting and returning yourself back to the center.
- Repeat on your left side.
- The goal is to do this move for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, for as many rounds as possible.
8 – Bicycle Crunch
Bicycle crunches are a classic abdominal workout that targets the obliques. Although they do not burn a lot of calories, bicycle crunches are one of the most successful exercises for strengthening abdominal muscles.
How to Do Bicycle Crunches
- Lie on your back with your knees folded and your hands on your head.
- Draw your legs up and inward, lift your right leg, and try to touch your left elbow to your knees.
- Reset to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- The goal is to complete this move 25 to 30 times on both sides. Refrain from threading your fingers behind your head, as this may cause you to jerk your neck.
9 – Donkey Kicks
Donkey Kicks are a simple exercise that targets the glutes while engaging your entire core. This workout trains your abdominal muscles (including the obliques), lower back, pelvic floor, and shoulders. Including donkey kicks in your workout regimen will help strengthen your body and reduce the appearance of love handles.
How to Do Donkey Kicks
- Get on your hands and knees with your face looking forward.
- Raise your right knee and kick it out sideways so that your left thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times. Switch legs.
- The goal is to complete 3 sets of 10 kicks on each side.
Final Thoughts on Ridding Yourself of Love Handles
Once you master these exercises, begin doing them three to four times each week. Do these in conjunction with cardio and strength training. In a few weeks, you’ll begin to see those pesky love handles disappear.