Love handles, they sound cute, but as you know, they are not. They are also some of the most difficult fat deposits to remove. Many still believe that endless ab exercise will reduce fat around the waist, but they will not. Reducing and removing love handles or side fat can best be accomplished by improving your diet and increasing your full body exercise followed by targeted oblique (love handle) specific exercises to tone the problem area.
Reducing the stored side fat that covers your oblique muscles requires exercise to increase your metabolism and a reduction of calories and a good healthy diet. Unfortunately the fat stored around your stomach and sides is the most difficult to shed and often the last to leave your body. As you begin your program of diet and exercise, include these targeted love handle reducing exercises in order to tone the underlying muscles:
This is an “old school” but effective oblique exercise performed with an empty light bar or broom stick placed across your shoulders. With the stick behind your head and your hands at either end, maintain an upright back as you slowly twist at the waist. As you twist as far as you can in each direction, pause and squeeze your oblique muscles, return to the center position and then repeat in the opposite direction. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and twist at waist level not at the hips. Side twists are a slow and controlled movement, not a rapid swinging movement using momentum. Perform 1-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.
Wood chops are a twisting abdominal core exercise that simulates sawing or chopping a tree with an axe. If you have access to a gym with a machine and cable pulley, stand next to the machine and while holding the handle with both hands, pull the handle across your body. As a variation, lower the pulley and pull up and across, or raise the pulley and pull down and across. If you have access to a sledgehammer and an old tire, you can perform a similar exercise by “chopping” the tire with the sledge. Perform 1-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.
This is a variation of standard crunches shifting focus to your side abdominals and obliques, and targeting your love handles. Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your hands behind your head. Move your left foot to your right knee and curl your upper body up and touch your right elbow to your to your left knee which will add a twist to your crunch. Now return to the start position and repeat for 10 repetitions. Switch feet, and do 10 more repetitions in the opposite direction. Perform 1-3 sets of 10 reps for each side.