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10 Yoga Exercises To Shrink Love Handles & Sculpt a Lean Waist

These exercises will help tone and strengthen the core.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Love handles, the stubborn pockets of excess fat around the waist, are a common source of frustration for many of my clients. While spot reduction is not possible, incorporating yoga into your fitness routine can help tone and strengthen the core, contributing to a more sculpted waistline. Here are 10 yoga exercises for love handles I've specifically selected to target this frustrating area, promoting overall wellness and mindfulness.

Incorporate these yoga exercises into your regular routine, focusing on mindful movements and proper breathing. Consistency is key, and over time, you may notice increased strength, flexibility, and a more sculpted waistline. Always listen to your body and consult with a yoga instructor or healthcare professional if you have any concerns or limitations. Read on to learn the 10 best yoga exercises for love handles, and when you're done, don't miss the 5 Best Morning Workouts To Speed Up Weight Loss.

Side Planks

side plank exercise

Performing side planks engages the muscles along the sides of the torso, including the obliques, which helps strengthen and tone the core. This exercise targets the love handle area by promoting muscle activation and stability, leading to increased muscle definition and a leaner waistline over time.

Begin in a plank position. Shift your weight to one arm, lifting the opposite arm toward the ceiling. Stack your feet or stagger for balance. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

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Boat Pose

boat pose exercise

Boat pose engages and strengthens the core muscles, including the transverse abdominis and obliques. By balancing on the glutes and lifting the legs and upper body simultaneously, the boat pose targets the muscles along the sides of the torso, helping to tone and sculpt the waistline.

Sit on the mat with your legs extended. Lean back slightly, lifting your legs off the ground. Extend your arms forward. Hold for 60 seconds.

Twisted Chair Pose

twisted chair pose

This pose is effective in reducing love handles as it engages and targets the oblique muscles along the sides of the torso. By twisting the torso while in a seated position, this yoga pose stimulates the muscles around the waist, encouraging toning and strengthening. The controlled twisting motion helps improve circulation, aids in digestion, and contributes to a more sculpted appearance in the love handle area.

Start in a chair pose with your feet together. Twist your torso to one side, bringing the opposite elbow to the outside of the knee. Keep your spine straight. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

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Bicycle Crunches

woman doing bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches engage the abdominal muscles, including the obliques, through a dynamic and twisting motion. This exercise targets the side muscles of the core, helping to strengthen and tone the area around the waist. The continuous pedaling motion in bicycle crunches activates the oblique muscles, contributing to improved muscle definition and a more sculpted appearance.

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your legs, and perform a pedaling motion with your knees. Bring one elbow to the opposite knee. Repeat for two minutes.

Plank with Hip Dips

plank hip dip

Performing planks with hip dips engages the oblique muscles, which are located along the sides of the torso and contribute to the appearance of love handles. The twisting motion during hip dips targets these specific muscles, promoting strength and toning in the oblique area.

Start in a forearm plank position. Rotate your hips to one side, dipping toward the floor. Return to the center, and repeat on the other side. Continue for one minute.

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Warrior III

Warrior III

Warrior III is a dynamic yoga pose that engages multiple muscle groups, including the core and hip stabilizers. This pose requires maintaining balance while extending one leg back and keeping the torso parallel to the ground, activating the muscles along the sides of the waist. Regular practice of Warrior III helps strengthen the core and obliques, contributing to the overall toning and sculpting of the waistline.

Begin in a standing position. Hinge at the hips, extending one leg straight back. Keep your torso and extended leg in line. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

Wind-Relieving Pose

Wind Relieving Pose

Wind-relieving pose, also known as "pavanamuktasana," engages the abdominal muscles and stimulates the digestive organs. By bringing one knee toward the chest and holding the position, this yoga pose aids in compressing and massaging the abdominal area. This compression enhances digestion, reduces bloating, and may contribute to the toning of the waistline.

Lie on your back, bringing one knee toward your chest. Clasp your hands around the knee. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat on both sides.

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Upward Plank

upward plank

Upward plank, also known as "purvottanasana," engages the muscles of the core, arms, and legs, creating a full-body stretch that targets the love handle area. This pose particularly strengthens the muscles around the waist, helping to tone and define the sides of the torso.

Sit on the mat with your legs extended and your hands behind you. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, creating a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds.

Cobra Pose

cobra pose

Cobra pose engages the muscles in the lower back, obliques, and core. This pose helps strengthen and tone the muscles around the waist, including the oblique muscles, contributing to a more defined waistline. Additionally, this pose stimulates abdominal organs, aiding digestion and promoting a healthy metabolism.

Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Lift your chest off the ground, keeping your lower body on the mat. Hold for 30 seconds.

Revolved Triangle Pose

revolved triangle pose

The revolved triangle pose engages the muscles around the waist and core, contributing to the reduction of love handles. By incorporating a twisting motion, this pose targets the obliques and lateral muscles, promoting strength and toning in the midsection. The rotational aspect of the pose aids in improving digestion and increasing circulation to the abdominal region, facilitating the reduction of excess fat around the waist.

Stand with your feet wide apart. Twist your torso, bringing one hand to the outside of the opposite foot. Keep your spine straight, and gaze upward. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

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
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