Love handles. Muffin top. Spare tire. Whatever you want to call it, that fat around the sides of your stomach that covers your obliques is not sexy. Nor will it ever be. Period. End of discussion. No matter your gender, getting rid of your love handles will make you more attractive to the opposite sex. Yet, even with this knowledge many of us still have love handles. Why?
Well, for a variety of reasons. First, many people’s bodies are genetically predisposed to store fat in the oblique area. This means that when we begin to add fat, let’s say over the holidays, one of the first areas we begin to store fat is in the love handles region. Which leads us to the next reason why getting rid of your muffin top is tough. It’s tough because there are three steps that lead to losing your love handles. Not only must you exercise the obliques correctly, you also need to eat properly, and engage in cardiovascular and resistance training.
Let me Clear this Out: Abs are Made in the Kitchen
If you have a little muffin top today, a healthy diet for you is one that aids in reducing your body fat. Eating more lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, all while reducing your sugar intake will be beneficial to you. As the saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen.” Next, you must build muscle and burn fat. To do so you need to be in the gym lifting weights and doing your cardio. A great way to do both is lifting with free weights in a circuit. Pick 3-7 barbell or dumbbell exercises and do them continuously, taking short rest periods between sets (think set of barbell bench press, 15 second rest, then a set of dumbbell upright rows, rest 20 seconds, then a set of walking lunges…and so on). Also, incorporate sprints into your cardio routine every once in a while. Jogging a few miles will burn some calories, but sprinting will shred the fat off of you.
Change things up and make sure you are not running on the treadmill every workout.
No Spot Reduction
Lastly, realize that you cannot target where the fat comes off your body. There is no such thing as ‘spot fat reduction’. Thus, to lose the fat that constitutes your love handles you will need to reduce your overall body fat.
Still, to get the sexy obliques you are looking for, a proper workout of your obliques will be necessary. Try out the six exercises below, while you incorporate the tips above, and that muffin top you are sporting now will be gone in no time. (No equipment is needed to do any of the exercises below.)
1. Oblique Crunches
To start off our love handle losing exercises we have the oblique crunch. To properly perform this exercise, begin by lying on the floor. Swing your legs all the way over to one side with your feet one on top of the other. Next, cross your hands across your chest. Then begin to lift your shoulders straight up slowly and back down. Once your shoulders come back down immediately lift them back up. Make sure to suck you abdomen in as you do this exercise as well, keeping your torso tight. Once you complete the desired amount of repetitions, anywhere from 10-30 depending on your fitness level, swing your legs over to the other side. Do the same amount of repetitions on the other side as well. Also, make sure your lift with your belly, not your shoulders or neck.
2. Side Plank Twists
The next muffin top reducing exercise is side plank twists. Start by putting yourself in a side plank position (lay on your side with one leg on top of the other, then raise your body off the ground by pushing you bottom forearm into the ground.
The only parts of your body that should be touching the ground in a side plank position are your forearm and the side of one of your feet). Once in the side plank position, raise your free hand straight into the air as high as possible. Then use that free hand and reach under your body, wrapping it as far around your body as possible, attempting to touch your buttocks. Next, bring that hand back to the starting position in the air. Do the desired amount of reps, 12-15 recommended, and then switch sides.
3. Russian or V-Twists
Whether you want to call them Russian twists, v-twists, or some other name, there is no denying the exercise is a great way to train your obliques. To start lay on the ground with your heels flat on the floor. Next, raise your shoulders and heels off the ground until you reach a balanced point. Then interlock your fingers and begin moving your arms side to side, attempting to touch the ground beside your hips with your hands on every repetition, twisting your obliques in the process, while staying on balance with only your buttocks touching the ground.
4. Lying Knee Twists
Another great oblique exercise is lying knee twists. To perform this exercise, lay flat on your back with your knees up and your heels flat on the floor. Your arms should be spread out, lying on the floor. Next, lift your legs up with your knees bent at a ninety degree angle. Then begin to rotate your lower body (hips and legs) using your obliques keeping your upper body firm on the floor. Rotate your lower body back and forth so it creates a half circle motion. Attempt to have the sides of your knees touch the floor on each rep to get the full range of motion, yet do not worry if you are not flexible enough to do so, just go as far as you can. Keep your shoulders on the ground throughout the whole motion.
5. Reach And Catch Crunches
A variation of the crunch that concentrates on the obliques is the reach and catch crunch. To perform this exercise get into a normal sit-up position, with your knees up, heels flat on the ground, arms lying to your side, and your shoulders starting on the ground. Next, lift your shoulders off the ground while simultaneously lifting your arms up. Then move your arms as if you are attempting to catch a football on the outside of one of your legs. Then slowly lower your shoulders back to the starting position. Rotate sides on each rep.
6. Side-To-Side Heel Touches
Begin this exercise by lying flat on your back, feet flat on the ground. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart and your knees are up. Your arms should be in the air, straightened out on your side, parallel to the ground. Lift your shoulders slightly off the ground. Then, while you keep your arms straight, twist your abdominals to one side until your fingers touch your heel. Next, twist your body all the way to the other side until your other hand touches your other heel. Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions. Do not let your shoulders touch the ground and make sure to suck your belly button toward your spine, in order to keep your torso tight.