A Trainer's 5 Favorite Workouts to Strip Away Love Handles
Love handles are among the most stubborn areas of the body to strip away. Typically, love handles refer to the fat on the sides of your hips that can creep toward your back. Getting rid of love handles requires the right combination of diet and exercise, with a special emphasis on hitting the sides of your torso. Additionally, workouts should incorporate some HIIT-style training to rev up your metabolism and help with the caloric deficit you need to effectively burn body fat. If you're unsure of where to begin in the workout department, I have you covered with my five favorite workouts for love handles that will melt fat right off of your body.
When it comes to fat loss, a well-rounded routine is a must. In addition to HIIT and exercises that work the sides of your torso, I recommend performing exercises that build up your hips, glutes, and quads for the extra metabolic boost that added muscle mass gives. Plus, shaping up that area helps reduce the impact of stored fat on your love handle area in terms of your overall physical appearance.
Overall, this killer combination of HIIT, core workouts, and lower-body resistance training is the trifecta for demolishing your love handles and building the physique you desire. Always be sure to combine your workout efforts with a healthy diet and lifestyle for the best results.
Keep reading to learn more about my five favorite workouts for love handles. And when you're done, don't miss I Tried 4 Pairs of HOKA Sneakers & One Beats the Rest By a Mile.
Workout #1: Core Blaster
First up on this list of must-try workouts for love handles is a core blaster. This routine focuses on core exercises with an emphasis on the oblique areas where love handles accumulate. Perform each exercise for 12 repetitions with 30 seconds of rest between sets. For the side planks, hold each side for 30 seconds.
1. Russian Twists
Engaging in Russian twists helps target the oblique muscles, which are the side muscles of the abdomen.
To perform a Russian twist, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat. Lean back slightly, keeping your spine straight. Hold your hands together in front of you. Rotate your torso to one side, then the other, touching the ground beside you. Repeat for the target repetitions.
2. Plank Dips
Plank dips not only strengthen the core but also place an emphasis on the obliques, aiding in the reduction of love handles.
To perform a plank dip, begin in a forearm plank position. Rotate your hips to one side, allowing them to dip slightly toward the ground. Return to the center, and then rotate to the opposite side. Ensure your core remains engaged throughout. Repeat for the target repetitions.
3. Side Plank Holds
Holding a side plank activates the obliques, enhancing muscle definition on the sides of the abdomen.
To perform a side plank hold, lie on your side with your forearm directly beneath your shoulder. Engage your core, and lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Ensure your hips stay elevated and your body remains in alignment. Hold this position, engaging your obliques throughout. Repeat for the target time.
Workout 2: Lower-Body Burn
This workout builds up your lower body muscles, which as mentioned before, helps boost your metabolism and offset the appearance of fat around your love handle area. Perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions on each side, resting for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.
Lunges are a compound movement that, while targeting the legs, also engages the core, aiding in stability and toning the midsection.
To perform a lunge, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with one foot, lowering into a lunge position. Rotate your back foot inward slightly as you lower your back knee for optimal biomechanics. Push through the full foot of the front leg to return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch legs.
2. Glute Bridges
Glute bridges target the posterior chain but also engage the core, helping to stabilize the pelvis and lower back. This exercise works the glutes, hamstrings, and core.
To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Visualize drawing your lower rib toward your pelvis and engaging your abs. Lift your hips off the ground by pressing through the full foot. Squeeze your glutes at the top, and hold for about one second. Lower and repeat for the target repetitions.
Step-ups emphasize the leg muscles, but they also require a strong core for balance and stability.
To perform a step-up, stand in front of a bench or platform. Place one foot on the bench. Push through the full foot to lift your body onto the bench. Lower back down with control. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch legs.
Workout #3: Core Crushers
This secondary core workout refines the sculpting around your midsection for an added boost. Aim for 12 to 15 repetitions on each set for a total of three sets. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
1. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches offer an excellent way to target both the obliques and the rectus abdominis simultaneously. This exercise works the obliques, rectus abdominis, and hip flexors.
To perform bicycle crunches, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs lifted off the ground. Bring one knee toward your chest while rotating the opposite elbow toward that knee. Switch sides, extending the bent leg while bringing the opposite knee toward the chest. Ensure your shoulder blades lift off the ground during the rotation. Repeat for the target repetitions.
2. Leg Raises
Leg raises are excellent for targeting the lower portion of the rectus abdominis and enhancing core stability. This exercise works the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.
To perform leg raises, lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides. Engage your core, and lift both legs off the ground to a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower them back down without letting them touch the ground. Ensure your lower back remains pressed into the ground throughout. Repeat for the target repetitions.
3. Oblique V-ups
Oblique V-ups are a challenging exercise that focuses on the side muscles of the abdomen, helping to define and tone the obliques.
To perform oblique V-ups, lie on your side with your legs bent and slightly in front of your body. With your free hand behind your head, lift your upper body and legs simultaneously, trying to touch your elbow to your thigh. Ensure you're lifting from your obliques and not pulling from your neck. Control the descent back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch sides.
Workout #4: Dynamic Drills
This workout adds a HIIT element to your routine, offering an extra metabolic boost. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds at high intensity, rest for 15 seconds, and then move to the next exercise. Repeat for three to five total rounds.
1. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers offer a cardiovascular benefit while also engaging the core muscles, making them a versatile exercise.
To perform mountain climbers, begin in a pushup plank position. Drive one knee toward your chest. Quickly switch legs, driving the other knee forward. Maintain a strong core, and avoid bouncing your hips. Repeat for 30 seconds.
2. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks offer a full-body workout, raising the heart rate and engaging the core for stability.
To perform jumping jacks, start with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump your feet out while raising your arms overhead. Jump your feet back to the starting position while lowering your arms. Maintain a brisk pace, and keep your core engaged. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Burpees are a high-intensity exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the core.
To perform a burpee, begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop into a squat position, and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Kick your feet back, landing in a pushup plank position. Jump your feet back toward your hands, returning to the squat position. Explode up into a jump, extending your arms overhead. Land softly, and immediately go into the next repetition. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Workout #5: Stability and Strength
This list of productive workouts for love handles wraps up with a routine that's all about stability and strength. This workout changes up the stimulus and provides some additional balance gains while continuing to target your core and obliques. Perform each exercise for 10 repetitions, two to three sets, resting 60 seconds between sets.
1. Plank Leg Lifts
This exercise is excellent for strengthening both the core and the glutes, challenging your stability as you lift each leg.
To perform plank leg lifts, start in a forearm or high plank position with your body in a straight line. Engage your core, and lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight. Lower the leg without letting it touch the ground, and then lift again. Ensure your hips stay level, and avoid rotating them. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch legs.
2. Single-Leg Deadlifts
Single-leg deadlifts challenge your balance and stability while also targeting the hamstrings and glutes.
To perform a single-leg deadlift, stand with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in one hand. Hinge at the hips while lifting the leg on the same side behind you. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Return to the starting position, pushing through the full foot of the standing leg. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch sides.
3. Side Plank Leg Lifts
This variation of the side plank further challenges the obliques by adding a leg lift, engaging the side muscles of the core even more intensely.
To perform side plank leg lifts, begin in a side plank position on your forearm. While maintaining the plank, lift the top leg up and then lower it without letting it touch the bottom leg. Keep your hips elevated, and ensure your body remains in alignment. Engage your obliques throughout the movement. Repeat for the target repetitions, then switch sides.