Where’s My Waist?

Five exercises to lose the love handles.

While they might have a cute name, you probably think love handles are anything but adorable. Most people with love handles are self-conscious about them and try to hide the excess rolls of fat bulging from their sides or lower back. Coming in different sizes and shapes, love handles may be just small rolls or massive amounts of fatty tissue. Males and females are susceptible to developing love handles and they can be found on skinny people as well as those who are overweight.

The reason? The area of your body where love handles develop is around your oblique muscles, an area often overlooked during exercise. How in the world can you get rid of these rolls of fat and find your waist again? To lose weight on any part of your body you need a total body workout. Targeting a specific area won’t decrease its amount of fat. You’ll also need to cut down on your calorie intake.

This happens with a healthy, low fat diet, coupled with plenty of aerobic exercise and strength training. Though you’ll need to do all these for weight loss, strength training will result in toned obliques. Interested in toning your oblique muscles and firming up your midsection? You’ll want to give these five exercises a shot.

Twist Crunches

A great exercise to work both your external and internal obliques around your waist is to crunch with a twist. For this exercise, lie on your back and bend your knees. Lift your head slightly and gently place your hands behind your head. Raise your head and twist to the left, bringing your right elbow to touch your left knee, all while extending the right leg out. Now, twist to the right, bringing your left elbow to touch your right knee while extending your left leg. Repeat this motion 25 times. To get more of a workout, perform the crunches on a declined bench or exercise ball. You will feel the burn.

Trunk Twists

Another exercise to target your abdominals and lower back is the trunk twist. Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart and spread your arms out straight to the sides to form a T shape. Then twist your upper body to the left, keeping your legs and hips as still as you can. When you twist, cross your right arm over to the left in a punching motion. Then twist to the right and punch with your left arm. Do this 100 times.

Leg Flutter

To work off those love handles and strengthen your back, the leg flutter is another great workout. Lie on your stomach and slightly raise your head. Place your arms straight at your sides or bend your elbows beside you. Lift your knees and feet off the floor and “flutter” your legs, quickly moving them back and forth. Try to do this movement for 20 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and repeat.

Oblique V-Up

To do an oblique V-up, lie on the floor on one side with your body straight. Cross your arms on your chest, placing your hands on your opposite shoulders. Keep your legs together and lift them off the floor. At the same time, raise your head and top elbow up toward your hip. Beginners should try 10 repetitions per side of the body.

Side Bend

A fifth exercise to target those love handles is a side bend. To do this exercise you’ll need a pair of lightweight dumbbells. Hold the weights over your head, shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows slightly and keep your back straight. Without twisting your upper body, slowly bend to the left as far as you can. Pause, stand back up, and bend to the right as far as possible. Try to do 6 to 10 repetitions for each side.

Love Handles Be Gone!

With at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week, a healthy diet, and a couple 20-minute sessions of oblique-targeting exercises each week, you can say goodbye to those not-so-cute love handles.

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