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7 Easy Standing Exercises That Will Melt Your Love Handles Right Off

Strip away stubborn fat surrounding your waist with these exercises.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Love handles are the stubborn fat that sticks to the sides of your torso above the waistline and wraps around the back. Depending on your genetics, love handles can be a very tough area to burn fat off of—even more challenging than the fat on the front of your stomach! The best approach to burning love handles includes exercises that burn a ton of calories and rev up your metabolism combined with moves that hit your love handle areas to tone the musculature in that area. I have seven easy standing exercises to melt your love handles and tighten things up.

As with any successful weight loss regimen, you'll also need to ensure you maintain a moderate caloric deficit while engaging in this routine to ensure that your body burns off the fat. I recommend a higher-protein diet and lots of leafy vegetables.

For this workout routine, perform each exercise for 15 to 20 repetitions or 30 seconds for time-based exercises, with 30 seconds of rest between exercises. After you complete one exercise, immediately move into the next exercise. Your heart rate will be high throughout the circuit. Between circuits of all exercises, rest for two to three minutes to bring your heart rate down to baseline (or close to it). Aim for three or more rounds total, at least twice per week, for the best results.

Keep reading to learn all about these seven easy standing exercises to melt your love handles, and when you're finished, don't miss The 8 Best Exercises To Melt Belly Fat.

Goblet Squats

dumbbell goblet squat illustration

Goblet squats are an excellent way to engage the entire core, especially the obliques, while also working the lower body muscles and boosting your metabolism. This exercise works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and obliques.

To perform a goblet squat, start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest with both hands. Engage your core and initiate the squat by pushing your hips back. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, keeping the weight close to your chest and pushing through the full foot. Drive through your feet to return to the starting position, keeping your chest up throughout. Repeat for target repetitions.

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Romanian Deadlifts

illustration of dumbbell deadlift

Romanian deadlifts emphasize the posterior chain, which includes your lower back and obliques. This helps in tightening the muscles around the love handle region. This exercise works the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and obliques and burns calories while boosting strength and lean muscle mass.

To perform a Romanian deadlift, begin by standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or two dumbbells in front of you with an overhand grip. Keeping a slight bend in your knees, hinge at the hips while pushing them back and lowering the weights in front of you. Go as low as your flexibility allows, ensuring you keep your back flat. Engage your hamstrings and glutes, pushing through the full foot, to return to the starting position. Repeat for target repetitions.


man sprinting, HIIT training

Sprints are a high-intensity exercise that elevates your heart rate and provides a significant calorie burn. This explosive activity helps in torching body fat, including those pesky love handles. This exercise works the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, along with increasing overall cardiovascular fitness.

To perform sprints, begin by standing tall with a slight forward lean. Drive one knee up and push off with the opposite foot to initiate the sprint. Pump your arms in coordination with your leg strides, keeping your elbows at about a 90-degree angle. Sprint with maximum effort for a short distance or time duration. Repeat for target repetitions or sets after adequate rest.

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Standing Side Leg Lifts

side leg raise

This exercise effectively engages the obliques, giving you that much-desired toned look on your sides. This exercise works the obliques, hips, and outer thighs. You can add a resistance band around your ankles to extra difficulty.

To perform a standing side leg lift, begin by standing tall with your feet together. Engage your core, keeping a slight bend in your supporting leg. Slowly lift your right leg out to the side as high as comfortably possible. Lower your right leg back to the starting position with control. Repeat for target repetitions. Switch sides.

High Knees with a Twist

woman high knees with a twist

This dynamic move raises your heart rate and engages your core muscles, boosting calorie burn and targeting love handles. This exercise works the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.

To perform high knees with a twist, begin by standing with feet hip-width apart. Lift your right knee while simultaneously twisting your torso to the right. Switch to the left knee and twist to the left. Keep your core engaged and movements brisk. Repeat for the target repetitions.

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Lateral Lunges

lateral lunge in strength training workout

Lateral lunges not only help sculpt your inner and outer thighs but also target the love handles effectively. This lunge variation works the inner thighs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and obliques.

To perform a lateral lunge, start with feet together. Take a big step to the right, sinking into a lunge position. Push through the full foot while bending the right knee. Rotate your left foot inward slightly as you lower your left knee for optimal biomechanics. Keep your chest up and core engaged. Push through the full foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for target repetitions, then switch sides.

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Standing Oblique Crunches

This exercise targets the obliques without the need for floor work, making it convenient for all fitness levels. This exercise specifically targets your obliques

To perform a standing oblique crunch, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place your right hand behind your head, elbow flared out. Lift your right knee while bringing your right elbow down to meet it. With control, return to the starting position without letting your foot touch the ground. Repeat for target repetitions. Switch sides.

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler