Love handles can have many names ranging from muffin top to spare tire. Basically, it’s the belly fat that protrudes over the top of your pants.
Despite the name “love handles”, there isn’t much to love about them. While the handles aren’t dangerous themselves, they indicate possible risk factors for chronic illnesses—these range from high blood pressure to heart disease and sleep apnea.
Losing them won’t just make you feel and look better but can decrease your risk of some diseases.
Love handles can be challenging to lose. They’re called “stubborn fat” for a reason.
Many people try to get rid of love handles with endless side crunches. But doing a million side crunches is not the most effective way to lose those love handles.
To get rid of stubborn fat for good, you’re going to need to make dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
How to Lose Love Handles (Oblique Fat)
A healthy diet and lifestyle changes are the only way to lose love handles or that pesky side belly fat.
Eat a balanced diet composed of healthy fats, lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Limiting your carbs can also go a long way.
While spot training is a myth, a mixture of strength training, resistance training, and cardio amps up your body’s ability to lose the fat all over. However, you can strengthen the muscles in the targeted area to aid in fat loss. Enter the oblique workout!
Adding a waist trainer to your core training can also help in losing body fat by heating up your midsection quicker.
Note that there may be a bulge from diastasis recti, a separation of the large abdominal muscles. Diastasis recti are common immediately after birth or pregnancy of multiples. It can be treated with physical therapy.
The good thing is that simple lifestyle changes such as getting 8 hours of sleep a night, drinking enough water, and limiting stress can help in weight loss. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning to kick off the day!
Since not all abs exercises target the right area or burn fat like crazy, we hand-picked those that do in this 45-minute love handle workout.
To lose your love handles, add the following 10 workouts to your abdominal workout for a strong core. They range from beginner to more advanced core exercises. Choose the variation that fits within your level of fitness.
What Is the Best Workout to Lose Love Handles?
The best workouts to lose love handle fat and tone up the side abdominals are the ones that hit not just the rectus abdominis (front abdomen) but also the one that engages your internal obliques, external obliques, and core muscles as a whole.
Also, abdominal exercises that involve twisting movements or are performed sideways bring more engagement to your oblique muscles.
5 Best Workouts To Get Rid of Love Handles
Here are the 5 best workouts to get rid of love handles fast!
While endurance is important, take a rest before moving to the next exercise in this ab workout if needed.
1. Russian Twists
The Russian twist exercise will set your love handles on fire! They melt off the side stomach fat by twisting from side to side. This movement gets into those hard-to-reach oblique muscles.
If you are ready for an advanced version, hold a weight plate, kettlebell, dumbbell, or medicine ball in front of your chest.
How to Perform Russian Twists
- Sit on your mat with your knees bent. Start to lean back until you feel your abdominals engage, it’s a 45-degree angle. Lift up your feet off the floor. Hold your arms out in front of your chest or hold additional weight.
- Twist your torso and ribs to the left, pause, squeezing your ab muscles. Make sure your elbow clears your quads. Return to center and repeat on the right side. Return to center. That’s one rep.
- Continue for 12-15 reps on each side.
Squats are a great addition to a love handle workout. While they are typically associated with lower body workouts, you need your abdominals, obliques, and spinal erectors to keep proper form.
Add a barbell to add more of a challenge!
How to perform squats
- Start in a standing position with a straight posture your feet slightly wider than your hips. Point your toes slightly outward, weight evenly spread between your right heel and left heel. Keep your arms out, parallel with the ground, and your weight back in your heels. If using a barbell, place it over the shoulders behind the neck.
- Engage your core as you lower your hips below the knees. Be sure to keep your knees in line with your hips.
- Exhale, engage your thighs and hamstrings as you rise to the starting position. Repeat for 30 reps.
3. Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
Cross-body mountain climbers are the ultimate mix of cardio and an oblique workout. The movement of the knees across the body fires up the obliques and hip flexors while upping your heart rate and your metabolism.
How to perform Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
- Start in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders. Bring your right knee to your left elbow twisting underneath.
- Return to plank. Bring your left knee to your right elbow. Again, return to plank. This is 1 round. Complete for 30 reps.
4. Standing Side Crunch
Standing side crunch integrates a side bend in this underrated oblique exercise. It strengthens the entire side ab wall while challenging your balance and stability.
How to perform Standing Side Crunch
- Start with your feet shoulder-width distance apart. Place your right fingertips behind your right ear. Shift your weight into your left foot. Connect your right knee to your right elbow, crunching to the side. Keep your left hand on your left hip. Release bringing your arm back up and straightening your leg back to the ground returning to an upright position.
- Repeat 30 times, then switch to the left side for 30 reps. Make it more intense by holding a kettlebell in the opposite hand.
5. Forward Lunge and Twist
This exercise also incorporates a twisting of the spine, lats, and transverse abdominis to build muscle in your core and lower body.
How to perform Forward Lunge and Twist
- Start standing at the back of the mat, feet hip-width distance apart. Hold a medicine ball, kettlebell, or dumbbell weight chest level. Step forward with the right foot and lower into a lunge.
- Both knees will be at 90-degree angles. Extend your arms to shoulder height. Twist to the leftover your left leg bringing the weight of choice to hip level. Return to center. Step back to a standing position.
- Repeat for 20 reps on the right side. Switch to the left side for another 20 reps.
Love handles can be a tricky area to lose inches. It takes hard work and persistence. But the good news is that you don’t need to be a personal trainer to know how to get a solid core workout!
To get rid of love handles for good, you need to make changes both in the kitchen and your workout for strong obliques. An important thing to be mindful of is diastasis recti when working on a stronger core.
In your workout, it’s about hitting the obliques and adjacent muscles to work those handles. By incorporating anaerobic abs exercises for that area, you can achieve fat burn and shape up.
To lose your stubborn love handles, add these 10 exercises to your abs workouts.