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Top 5 Love Handle Exercises

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Exercise Tips for Love Handles

woman with love handles

Although the term “love handles” is a cute nickname for the sides of the waist, the reality of excess fat is more embarrassing than cute.

Aerobic exercise and a healthy diet help you shed fat off your abdomen, but to strengthen the muscles on the sides of the waist, the obliques, you need to perform core exercises. While these exercises alone will not spot reduce fat from your waist, they will give you impressive abs and increase core strength in time as long as you also incorporate cardio exercise and a healthy diet into your lifestyle.

The internal and external obliques work with the other muscles of the core to stabilize the spine and torso, but their primary jobs are to rotate the spine, laterally flex the spine (bend sideways), and flex the spine (bend forward). Include various exercises in your core workouts to strengthen your obliques through all three actions.

The Top 5 Best Love Handle Exercises

1. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches are one of the most effective exercises for the obliques and the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscle). The exercise involves both spinal flexion and rotation to doubly challenge the obliques.

Starting position: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor and your hands behind your head. Crunch up to lift your shoulders off the floor.

Action: Alternatively twist your upper body left to right. Keep your shoulders off the ground throughout the exercise.

2. Roman Chair Twists

The Roman chair is the most effective piece of exercise equipment for ab work. Lifting your legs while on the Roman chair forces your abs to stabilize your spine. Adding a twist gives the obliques an extra challenge.

Starting position: Position your body on the chair with your back against the back pad, your arms on the arm rests and your legs hanging straight toward the floor.

Action: Bend your knees and raise your legs up to waist height as you twist your lower body toward your right shoulder. Lower your legs back to the starting position. Lift your legs and twist to the left.

3. Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers is a challenging core exercise that works the obliques both to twist the legs and to stabilize the spine.

Starting position: Lie on your back with your legs straight in the air, perpendicular to your torso. Place your arms on the floor.

Action: Slowly lower your legs to the left as far as you can without arching your lower back. Swing your legs slowly back to the right.

4. Standing Oblique Lifts

Standing oblique lifts target the obliques with spinal flexion. Use your favorite free weight or resistance band.

Starting position: Stand up tall holding a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides.

Action: Bend sideways to the left, sliding your left arm down the side of your leg. Repeat to the right.

5. Side Plank Lifts

Side plank lifts are a bodyweight exercise that uniquely work the oblique muscles one side at a time.

Starting position: Lie on your right side with your right foreman on the floor and your legs straight.

Action: Press your hips upward toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Final Thoughts

Performing the top 5 love handle exercises give you stronger obliques. They also improve balance and posture.

Looking for more information on how to lose love handles?

You may want to check out one of these books.

Further Reading:

Author Profile: Sarka-Jonae Miller

Author's Website Sarka-Jonae Miller is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and the author of the novel "Between Boyfriends." Sarka writes articles on health, fitness, wellness, travel, weight loss, and more.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

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