Love handles, those stubborn pockets of excess fat around the waistline, can be a source of frustration for many of my clients striving for a toned and sculpted physique. While spot reduction is not entirely possible, incorporating targeted strength and cardio workouts can help tone and shrink the love handle area by building muscle and promoting overall fat loss. I've designed the following five effective strength workouts to shrink love handles for good.
Follow these workouts consistently, implement a caloric deficit, a calorie high in protein, and weekly cardio into your routine, and you'll be on your way to a slimmer waistline. Remember to start at your own pace, practice safe form, and allow yourself recovery days each week.
Keep reading for my five best strength workouts to shrink love handles for good. And when you're finished working out, be sure to read the 10 Fitness 'Rules' You Should Abandon in 2024 For the Best Results.
Workout #1: Oblique Blasters
Oblique blasters focus on the side muscles of your core, helping to strengthen and tone the love handle region.
1. Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Clasp your hands together, and twist your torso, bringing your hands to the right and then to the left. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each side.
2. Side Planks
Lie on your side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Lift your hips, forming a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute on each side.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your legs, and perform a bicycle pedal motion while bringing your elbow to the opposite knee. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each side.
Workout #2: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts are renowned for their ability to burn calories and promote fat loss, including around the love handle area.
1. Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position. Alternately bring your knees toward your chest in a running motion. Perform for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat for three sets.
Begin in a standing position, then squat down and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back into a plank position, perform a pushup, and then jump back to a squat. Jump up explosively, reaching for the sky. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
3. Sprinting Intervals
Sprint at maximum effort for 30 seconds. Follow with a 30-second rest. Repeat the cycle for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Plank Jacks
Start in a plank position. Jump your feet wide apart and then back together while maintaining the plank. Complete 20 to 30 seconds of plank jacks for three sets.
Workout #3: Weighted Core Exercises
Incorporating weights into your core workout adds resistance, effectively engaging the muscles around your love handles.
1. Weighted Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with a weight in your hands. Twist your torso from side to side, touching the weight to the ground beside you. Perform 15 to 20 reps on each side.
2. Weighted Side Plank Dips
Assume a side plank position with a weight in the top hand. Lower your hips toward the ground, and then lift them back up. Complete 12 to 15 reps on each side.
3. Weighted Bicycle Crunches
Hold a weight in your hands while performing bicycle crunches. Focus on controlled and deliberate movements. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each side.
Workout #4: Pilates for Love Handles
Pilates is renowned for its focus on core strength and stability, making it an excellent choice for toning love handles.
1. Single-Leg Stretch
Lie on your back, and lift your legs. Alternate bringing one knee toward your chest while extending the other leg. Perform for 15 to 20 reps on each leg.
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your legs, and perform a bicycle pedal motion while twisting your torso. Complete 20 to 30 reps in total.
3. Rolling Like a Ball
Sit on the floor, balancing on your tailbone, and lift your legs. Roll backward, and return to the starting position without touching the ground. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
4. Plank with Hip Twists
Start in a plank position. Twist your hips to one side and then the other, engaging the obliques. Perform for one minute, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat for three sets.
Workout #5: Yoga for Love Handles
Yoga not only helps reduce stress but also engages the core muscles, contributing to love handle toning.
1. Boat Pose
Sit on the floor, lean back slightly, and lift your legs. Extend your arms forward, parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
2. Twisting Lunges
Start in a lunge position. Twist your torso toward the front leg, engaging the obliques. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
3. Downward-Facing Dog with Knee to Elbow
Begin in a plank position. Lift your hips into downward-facing dog, and bring one knee toward the opposite elbow. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds on each side.