Losing your Love Handles

Because as you know, they’re not nearly as cute as their name implies

They sit naturally on your hips and turn your otherwise picture-perfect physique into something of a pear. So what can you do to kick those love handles to the curve? You may be surprised to learn that all it takes is a couple exercises you’re probably already doing and a few others.

Crunches. They’re nothing new to your exercise routine, and they shouldn’t be forgotten when you’re in the gym next. In addition to straight-forward crunches, twist to the left and the right to work out the entire abdominal area and to help your body ward off love handles that show up on both sides.

Standing Trunk Twists. As effective as the name is fun to say, standing trunk twists do what any good love-handle-battling exercise should do: firms up the love handles and gets you sweating. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet a foot or so apart and your knees relaxed and slightly bent. Next, twist your body’s trunk to the left, while attempting to keep your hips and legs still. During your trunk twist, swing your right arm across the front of your body, as if you were punching someone. Immediately twist to the right, bringing your left arm across your body in a punching motion. Repeat up to 100 times.

Leg Flutters. You may feel awkward with this exercise, but the end results are worth it. To get started, lie flat on your stomach with your arms down by your side. Lift your head off the ground and look straight ahead. Finally, lift your feet and knees off the floor, kick (flutter) your legs back and forth for 20 seconds, stop, and repeat for another 20 seconds.

Love Language

As you suspect, love handles aren’t always called love handles. In the medical and muscle community, they’re known as the oblique muscles. So when you find yourself face to face with a personal trainer or physician, you’ll know what that big word means!

Side Bends. One of the best exercises for targeting those troublesome love handles, side bends are relatively easy to perform. Standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in your left hand, bend to the left as far as possible. Once you hit the lowest part of your bend, raise back to the standing position. Repeat 15 or 20 times, switch the dumbbell to your right hand and bend to the right for 15 or 20 repetitions.

Knee Kicks. Want to get a little tougher while you kiss your sweet little love handles goodbye? Go find a punching bag and put both hands flat on the bag, with one hand approximately two feet above the other. Next, lift your back leg and knee the bag as hard as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat 20 times. Change your position and repeat with the other knee. By the time you’re done, your love handles will be burning their way into nothingness, and your self-esteem will be shooting through the roof.

Now that you know what exercises will tone up your midsection, there’s something else you should know. You can’t get rid of your love handles just by doing crunches and knee kicks. Those exercises will help tone your muscles, but they won’t force those little areas of fat known as love handles to disappear. To do that, you’re going to have to burn more calories than you eat each day. The easiest way to do this is to get plenty of aerobic exercise and to eat low-calorie meals filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. With these steps, you’ll be prepared to show off the hips and abdominals you’ve worked so hard to tighten up!

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