Exercises For Love Handles and Belly Fat

by Laura Bench

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woman grabbing love handles

Try out these 4 effective exercises for love handles and belly fat the next time you’re training. Don’t become like other gym-goers who I see wasting their time doing weighted side bends. They think it’s slimming their sides and melting their muffin top. You know what it’s really doing? Adding thickness to their waistlines and putting stress on their spine. Effective? I think NOT.

With these 4 killer exercises alone, there are many different variations, combination and modifications so anyone can do them and never get bored.Keep in mind, speed is not the game here. I believe in “quality not quantity”.That’s why I gave you a recommended time frame rather than just a number of set repetitions.

I’d rather you focus on your form and not on a number of reps to speed through. Everyone will be different, depending how strong their core (abs, lower back, and glutes) is. Go at your own pace and gradually work your way up to performing more as you get stronger.

Plank Knee-to-Elbow Twist

  • Begin in a plank position with feet hip-width apart and hands directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Make sure you’re in a straight line and your butt is not up in the air nor sagging your back. Keep the core tight!
  • Lift your right foot about 6 inches off the ground, then bend your right knee and bring it toward your left elbow. Exhale as you pull in.
  • Inhale as you step back out to a plank. That’s 1 rep. Repeat by bringing the left knee to your right elbow. Each knee is 1 rep.
  • There will be a slight twisting as you bring your knee to your opposite arm. Keep your butt down and maintain proper form.
  • Keep alternating each side for either 30 seconds to 1 minute or anywhere from 8-20 reps each side, depending on activity level.

Russian Twist (V-sit Twist)

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and lean back slightly, forming a “v-shape” from your torso to bent knees, keeping the abs tight.
  • It is really important to keep your back straight, don’t let it round.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other.
  • With abs engaged, twist slowly to the left as you exhale. Inhale through the center and rotate by twisting to the right. This completes 1 rep.
  • Focus on rotating the entire upper body, not just the arms swinging side to side.
  • Perform for either 30 seconds to 1 minute or do 8-20 reps, depending on activity level.
  • Variations: To advance, hold a dumbbell, medicine ball or kettle bell in your hands to add more resistance. You can also lift your feet 3-4 inches off the floor and balance as you perform. If you have a low back injury or issue, this exercise is not recommended for you.

Side Plank With Twist

  • Start by laying on your right side. Place your elbow directly below your shoulder.
  • Stack your feet one on top of the other and your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body. For more stability, you can put your top leg slightly in front of the other. From shoulders to hips to feet you should now be in a straight line.
  • Engaged your abs and inhale to start.
  • Exhale as you lift your pelvis from the floor and lift the left arm straight up toward ceiling.
  • Rotate your left ribcage toward the floor as you reach the left arm between the mat and your body. Return to side plank and repeat.
  • Depending on activity level, try to perform 6-12 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
  • Variations: To advance, rather than on the elbow try it on your hand. To modify, do not perform the twist, just hold the side plank on elbows; you’ll still work your obliques.

Bicycle Crunch

  • Lie on the floor and lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle with lower back pressed to the ground. Place your hands lightly behind your head, elbows pointed outward.
  • Lift your shoulder blades off the ground but do not pull on the neck.
  • Inhale as you extend the left leg straight out at a 45-degree angle while turning your upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
  • Exhale and switch legs, now doing the same motion on the other side to complete 1 rep.
  • Continue alternating opposite elbow to knee as you twist back and forth.
  • Perform anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute or do 8-20 reps, depending on activity level.
  • Tip: Your motions should be smooth, slow and controlled. Focus on really extending the leg out straight and that you’re moving your rib cage and not just your elbows.

The honest truth about getting rid of your love handles…

There isn’t a special exercise alone that will get rid of your love handles. The truth is:

  • There is no such thing as a “love handle” exercise because you can’t tone and firm your FAT.
  • Instead, the name of this article should have been called “Exercises for obliques “.
  • Start to incorporate a proper diet. Cut out things such as fried foods, sugar, and alcohol which are all belly bulging foods.
  • Remember, you can’t spot reduce fat. You’ll need to lose weight from the total body (including belly and love handle fat).

By doing the love handle exercises I’ve given you, it will help your waistline appear slimmer as you firm up your obliques. However, if you’re constantly slipping in the diet category, you won’t lose the weight needed to truly get the slim waistline you want. Bottom line is you need to incorporate a healthy diet, along with strength training and interval cardio workouts and you’ll be fast on your way to being rid of your love handles.

Share below any variations to these 4 exercises you have done before. Is there a unique “twist” you put on any of them?

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