Love handles tend to be one of those stubborn problem areas that just won’t seem to disappear, no matter how hard you work out. Skinny jeans are met with muffin-tops, and frustrations are met with exercises that just won’t do the trick. The problem is that even if you’re a slave to sit-ups and a worshiper of all things weight-loss, it can be difficult to nail down a routine that targets those pesky love handles to actually get the job done.
Get started with some exercises that scorch calories, then give these toning exercises a try.
1. Side plank
You already know how beneficial planks can be: engaging your core, maximizing focus, and challenging stability. And the side plank, which delivers an even greater challenge, requires balancing on one forearm while your feet are stacked to keep the body in line. While in a side plank position, you also have the option of incorporating added difficulty by moving your arms or legs. A side plank puts you in a great position for experimenting with moves that work the muscles hiding under your love handles, so play around with different types of leg raises, alternating side variations, and more.
2. Bosu ball kneeling ab crunch
This effective exercise utilizes just one prop: a Bosu ball. As demonstrated in this Active article, you’ll begin with the Bosu ball on the floor with the ball side up. Put both knees on the ball, placing your hands on the floor, so you’re on all fours. Lift and extend your right leg behind you, and as you reach your heel back and up toward the ceiling, keep your leg straight. Simultaneously, raise your left arm off the floor, extending it straight out in front. Then, draw in your left elbow and right knee to meet underneath your body before repeating on the opposite side.
3. Rocking bicycle
Using a towel as your prop, Shape delivers an updated version of a fairly common ab exercise. Start by lying on your back, gripping the towel with both hands on opposite ends. Extend your arms overhead into a wide “V” with your elbows slightly bent and pointing out to either side. Raise your legs off the ground at a 45-degree angle, and bend your right knee so the inner edge of your right foot rests against the inside of your left knee. Next, lift your head and shoulders off the floor, gently rocking to the right as you balance on your right hip, using your right arm and abs to stop the movement. Return to center, and repeat 10 times on each side.
4. Russian twist
Begin in a seated position on the floor, with your feet raised up and legs together, knees bent. Engaging your torso, twist from one side to the other. For an added workout, incorporate weights into the movement, such as a medicine ball. Holding the ball with both hands, slowly twist to the right, aiming the medicine ball for the outside of your right knee. The Huffington Post Canada recommends doing three sets of 10 to 20 reps.
5. Hanging leg raises
For this challenging move, you’ll need a pull-up bar. Start in a hanging position with your arms fully extended. Flexing your abs and lats, raise your feet up to the bar, keeping your legs straight out in front of you. Men’s Fitness recommends doing four sets of 20 reps.