10 Best Exercises To Alleviate Love Handles for Good

10 Best Exercises To Alleviate Love Handles for Good

Embarking on the road to fitness often begins with addressing some of the most stubborn areas of our body, such as the notorious love handles. These fat deposits, a telltale sign of fat retention and often linked to obesity, can become a pressing concern for many. 

Further exacerbated by modern sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, these often persistent fat accumulations around the waist can detract from our self-confidence, making us yearn for a more sculpted silhouette. Achieving this desired form is not merely about aesthetics, but it's also about embracing a healthier lifestyle and improved well-being. 

What Are Love Handles?

Love handles are not just a playful term; they're a problematic reality for many. These unsightly bulges, prominently located around our waistline and just above our hips, are often an indicator of excess abdominal fat. 

They're not just about aesthetics, but health too. Accumulation of fat in this region can be indicative of deeper health issues, including potential cardiovascular problems.

But fear not! While these fatty protrusions may seem stubborn, the solution isn't merely about performing hundreds of ab exercises. Instead, it's about adopting a multi-faceted approach. 

This involves a balanced combination of targeted physical exercises complemented by mindful eating habits. When these two are synchronized effectively, it not only aids in getting rid of love handles but also in overall abdominal fat reduction.

What Exercises Can Help Target Love Handles?

Eliminating love handles requires an integrated approach that combines targeted abdominal workouts with strength training and cardiovascular exercises. Let’s delve deeper into each of these ten exercises to help you get the most out of your love handle workout.

1. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches are a powerful tool in the arsenal of abs workouts. These exercises are designed to target multiple parts of your abdominal region. 

The rotational movement helps in burning belly fat and gives the obliques a more sculpted appearance. As a bonus, this exercise can elevate your heart rate, which adds a cardio component and can help burn more calories and contribute to overall weight loss. 

  1. Lie flat on your back on a comfortable surface, preferably a mat. Place your hands behind your head, ensuring they don't clasp together. Elevate your legs at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Engage your core, and lift your head and shoulders slightly off the ground.
  3. Simultaneously, twist your upper body to the right, trying to touch your left elbow with your right knee while extending the left leg out straight.
  4. Alternate sides and touch your right elbow to your left knee while extending your right leg out. Remember to mimic a cycling motion with your legs and ensure your body maintains a straight alignment from head to toe.
  5. Continue this alternating motion, aiming for 15 to 20 reps on each side.

2. Russian Twists

Russian twists are phenomenal for working the oblique muscles, which are crucial for achieving a defined waistline. This exercise also aids in enhancing balance and stability as you maintain a seated position with a tilted upper body. The addition of weight further increases resistance, intensifying the fat burn and muscle gain.

  1. Sit down on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean your upper body back slightly, forming about a 45-degree angle with the ground.
  2. Hold a weight (both dumbbell and kettlebell will work) with both hands in front of your chest.
  3. Engage your core and twist your torso to the left, trying to touch the weight to the ground next to your hip.
  4. Return to the center and then twist to the right.
  5. Aim for 15 to 20 reps on each side.

3. Plank With Hip Dips

This plank variation takes the traditional core-strengthening benefits of the standard plank and amplifies them with a rotational movement. The hip dips target the obliques and the lower belly fat, ensuring a comprehensive core workout.

  1. Begin in a standard forearm plank position. Ensure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders and your body forms a straight line from head to heels.
  2. Engage your core and rotate your hips to the left, attempting to touch the ground.
  3. Return to the center and rotate to the right.
  4. Continue alternating sides, aiming for 10 to 15 dips on each side.

4. Side Plank With Twist

This dynamic movement combines the stabilizing benefits of a side plank with the rotational work of a twist. This combination ensures the oblique muscles are challenged, promoting muscle tone and fat burning along the waistline.

  1. Start in a left-side forearm plank, keeping your legs straight and your right arm extended toward the ceiling.
  2. While maintaining this plank, bring your right arm down and thread it through the space below your left armpit, making a twisting motion with your upper body.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps before switching sides.

5. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are an all-encompassing workout that boosts cardiovascular health while targeting the core, especially the abdominal muscles. This exercise not only helps in burning significant calories but also enhances agility and strength in the upper body.

  1. Begin in a push-up or plank position with your hands placed shoulder-width apart.
  2. Engage your core and bring your right knee towards your chest.
  3. Quickly switch legs, extending the right leg back and pulling the left knee towards the chest.
  4. Keep alternating at a brisk pace, resembling a climbing motion, for 30 seconds to a minute.

6. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a powerhouse when it comes to weightlifting exercises. Engaging the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core muscles, they assist in overall fat burn and muscle toning, making them an essential exercise to get rid of love handles. 

They're instrumental in developing a strong foundation, as they build muscle in some of the body's largest muscle groups, leading to a faster metabolism and increased calorie burn.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place a barbell in front of you.
  2. Bend at the hips and knees, gripping the barbell with both hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your back straight, push through your heels, and stand up, lifting the weight.
  4. Lower the weight by hinging at the hips and bending the knees. Ensure the back remains straight throughout.
  5. Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps.

7. Woodchoppers

Woodchoppers offer a full-body workout while placing a special emphasis on the obliques. The high-intensity diagonal swinging motion helps burn calories, targets the ab muscles, and promotes fat burning. The dynamic nature of this movement can also improve coordination and flexibility.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell or weight with both hands.
  2. Rotate your upper body to the left, raising the weight above your left shoulder.
  3. In a controlled motion, swing the weight diagonally across your body towards your right knee, keeping your arms straight.
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat. After completing the desired reps, switch sides.
  5. Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.

8. Side Bends With Dumbbells

Side bends are a targeted exercise for the obliques, aiding in reducing the muffin top area. When combined with weights, the resistance further amplifies muscle engagement, helping in toning and trimming the waistline.

  1. Stand upright, feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, with the left hand placed on the waist.
  2. Bend at the waist to your left side, stretching the right side of your body. Go as far as comfortable.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Complete your set for one side, then switch the dumbbell to the left hand and repeat.
  5. Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 reps per side.

9. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a full-body cardio exercise that gets the heart rate up, ensuring significant calorie burn. Engaging the entire body, they're effective in melting away body fat, enhancing cardiovascular health, and improving endurance.

  1. Stand with your feet together and hands at your sides.
  2. Jump your feet out while raising your arms above your head.
  3. Jump back to the starting position.
  4. Keep a brisk pace and aim for three sets of 30 seconds to a minute.

10. Running/Jogging

Running and jogging, whether outdoors or on a treadmill, are excellent cardiovascular exercises known for their ability to burn significant calories and target visceral fat. When combined with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the powerful bursts ensure an afterburn effect, helping you continue to burn calories even after your workout, which can further help you lose belly fat.

  1. Begin with a five-minute warm-up jog.
  2. If integrating HIIT, run at a high-intensity pace for 30 seconds.
  3. Follow with a one-minute moderate-paced jog or walk.
  4. Repeat the high-intensity and recovery phases for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Finish with a five-minute cool-down jog or walk.

How Can Diet Affect Fat Loss?

A healthy diet plays a crucial role alongside exercise in sculpting a fit physique. Though the exercises previously mentioned are vital for muscle toning and strength, it's our dietary choices that significantly impact fat loss

For example, consuming excessive processed carbs can spike insulin levels, leading the body to store more fat. In contrast, a diet high in fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats can boost our metabolic rate.

It's essential to understand that an intense workout routine can only do so much if not complemented by a balanced diet. The key lies in managing calorie intake and ensuring the right mix of carbs, proteins, and fats — our primary macronutrients. 

Certain foods and supplements, like bone broth, lemon water, and collagen peptides, can further support this journey. They are celebrated for supporting fat metabolism and bolstering overall health. Adopting a nutritious diet can not only encourage fat loss but also fuel our body, granting us the vitality needed for demanding workouts.

The Takeaway

It’s important to remember that love handles, while quite stubborn, can be defeated. The key to being rid of them is a holistic approach that merges dietary understanding with physical activities like those listed above. 

By comprehending the role of nutrients and how our body processes them, we can make smarter dietary choices. Add in the correct combination of strength training, cardio exercises, and dietary adjustments, and we can witness visible, transformative changes in no time. 

The road to fitness is not just about shedding pounds but also about nurturing a healthier, more informed relationship with our food and bodies. So don’t just wish for that dream midsection; work for it. Embrace the process, start on the road to a healthy diet with Dr. Kellyann, and watch the transformation unfold before your eyes. 


Mindful Eating | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity | PMC

The Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity: Beyond ‘Calories In, Calories Out’ | PMC

A High-Protein Diet for Reducing Body Fat: Mechanisms and Possible Caveats | PMC