8 Best Exercises to Get Rid of Love Handles A.K.A Muffin Top
Thinking about how to lose the love handles or getting rid of your muffin top? These are cute names, but fat around your middle can be hazardous to your health.
Studies show that people who have extra fat around their waist are more at risk for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. So, let’s make your heart, doctor, and waistline all happy and talk about how to get rid of love handles.
Exercise alone won’t cause weight loss. There is a common saying in fitness circles, “you can’t outrun a bad diet.” The point is that to make significant changes that stick; you are going to have to change your lifestyle.
Some exercises will help strengthen your midsection, but the benefits you get will vary according to:
- How much weight you are getting rid of
- Your eating plan and nutrition
- Your current fitness level
- How much activity you get per day
3 Tips to Lose Love Handles and Muffin Tops
Eat a healthy diet
Want to lose weight and ditch the love handles? It starts in the kitchen with a healthy diet. Author Michael Pollan said it best, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It’s one of the most sensible and easy to understand pieces of nutrition advice there is.
“Eat food” means eating real, whole foods, not prepackaged foodstuffs. In other words, cut out processed carbs like bread and pasta. This will naturally help you cut down on sugar as well. You will be amazed when you look at the ingredients labels on how many manufacturers add sugar to everyday foods.
“Not too much means” limiting your portions. Want to button those pants? You will need to be at a calorie deficit. That means limiting the size of your meals.
And “mostly plants” means meals that consist mainly of things grown in the ground. You want to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and beans. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any protein! However, it does mean you should make meats the smaller portion on your plate with plants taking up most of the space.
Add in Cardio Exercise and Strength Training
There is no doubt that a hot and sweaty cardio session can burn calories off. But for the best results on reducing love handles, combine three times a week cardio exercises with twice a week strength training. Why? The greater muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn. Also, while strength training doesn’t burn as many calories at the moment, your body burns more in the hours following your workout. That means your body is still at work, even while you are resting.
Add in a Love Handle Workout with Exercises that Target your Midsection
Just because you can’t do one workout routine and lose all your belly fat, doesn’t mean there aren’t great exercises you should be doing to lose your love handles. Following is a list of eight great activities that need almost no equipment, you don’t have to belong to a gym, and anyone can do them – men or women. If you haven’t worked out before, or you are just getting back to regular workouts, these are entirely scalable.
1. Side Plank with Arm Reach
Plank position workouts are great at-home exercises. Side planks work your side abs and rectus abdominis – the region of the love handles.
To start, lay on your right side. Prop yourself up onto your forearm. Keep your knees bent. Squeeze your butt and lift your hips and pelvis. Your body should be in a straight line, with your top hip towards the ceiling, and elbow in line with your shoulder. At the same time that you lift your hips, extend your left arm into the air. Squeeze your glutes and pause for a few seconds, then return your body to the starting position.
Do three sets of eight to ten reps on your right side, then switch to your left side and do the same number.
2. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are another plank variation that works your core.
Start in a high plank position, with your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. Extended your arms and keep your elbows locked. Press up and bring your hips off the floor with your body in a straight line. Your weight will be on your palms and your toes, with core engaged.
Now, bring your right knee to your right elbow, touch your toe to the floor, then move your leg back. Repeat on the other side and bring your left knee to your left elbow. You are only moving your feet, so you can do these quickly. Start with sets of 10 to 12. As your fitness increases, you can increase your speed and the number of reps.
3. Bicycle Crunch
The Bicycle crunch works your abs, hips, and obliques, which are the muscle groups that will help you get rid of your love handles.
Start on the floor on a mat. Lie on your back. Lift your feet with your knees bent at 90 degrees. You can support your head by interlacing your hands and placing them behind your head. Don’t pull on your neck; you are merely supporting your head.
Then bring your right elbow to your left knee. Then alternate, bringing your left elbow to your right knee. If you can, keep your legs off the floor between crunches. However, if this is too difficult for you at first, you can touch your foot down between movements.
Do 15 to 20 reps.
4. Russian Twists
Russian Twists, otherwise known by the name Side Twists, have several variations. The Twist targets your obliques, abs, and hip flexors.
To do a Russian Twist, sit on a mat on the floor. Bend your knees slightly and lean back to bring your feet will off the floor. Brace your core and balance. Clasp your right hand and left together, then twist your torso from side to side without moving your legs.
To increase the difficulty, you can use a medicine ball or a hand weight. Start with the ball or weight in front of your chest. As you twist, you can touch the ball or weight to each side. Another variation is the Mason Twist. This movement is the same, except you keep your legs out in front of you. This one will really make your muscles burn!
5. Glute Bridges
Glute Bridges… work your glutes. They are also great for hamstrings. The benefit to Glute Bridges is that they work your butt and thigh area. They are also great moves to warm up before doing squats.
To do a Glute Bridge, lay on your mat on your back. Your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Brace your core, squeeze your glutes, and lift your hips. Your weight will be on your shoulders and your heels. Your shins will be straight up and down, while your thighs will be at an angle. Pause for a moment. Then lower back down. Again, there are several variations. You can “March” your glute bridge by raising your right leg off the floor and bringing your knee towards your chest. Then repeat with the left leg, and “march” in place.
You can also center a weight like a dumbbell on your hips and hold it in place as you bridge.
6. Bird Dog
The Bird Dog is not only good for your core, but it is also great for back and spine health.
Start on all fours, with your palms on the ground under your shoulders. Your thighs should be parallel, with your knees under your hips. Brace your core and keep your back flat and don’t let it droop. Keep your gaze neutral. Lift your right arm straight out in front of you, while at the same time lifting your left leg. Pause for a few seconds and return to the original position. Then switch sides. That is one rep. Do 10-12 reps.
7. Wood Choppers
You can do Wood Choppers on a cable machine, however, since we are talking about exercises that you can do at home, here is how to do them with a medicine ball or a dumbbell. Woodchoppers work your obliques and abs.
Start by kneeling on the floor. Engage your core and keep your shoulders back. Hold a weighted medicine ball or a dumbbell in front of you. Then move the weight in a chopping motion by pulling it down and across the right side of your body while rotating your torso. Return to the starting position and chop in the opposite direction, across the left side.
8. Jump Rope
Adding cardio into your fitness routine doesn’t mean you have to take up running. Jumping rope is a great way to burn fat and get your heart rate up.
Want a great little high-intensity jump rope workout? Jump rope for 30 seconds straight, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat. Do 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off for five minutes. (It’s harder than you think.)
Adding a mix of cardio into your routine will help boost your metabolism. If you aren’t ready to jump rope, try walking or swimming. Balance your workouts with healthy meals to help you get your goals and have overall wellness.
Losing fat is possible, but it takes time and commitment. Your body didn’t gain weight in a day; it won’t lose it in a day. To get rid of those love handles, you are going need to stay motivated. The good news? It is absolutely worth it.