The anatomic term for them is “obliques” and unfortunately this area of the body is often neglected when it comes to exercising the stomach and ab areas.
I cannot stress enough that you have to start with long-duration aerobic exercise if you want to trim any part of your stomach.
Spot toning will prove ineffective because you need to raise your metabolism enough to burn that extra love handle fat. Remember, it’s all about total body fitness and losing weight all over.
If you’ve been following me for some time, you’re probably tired of me mentioning that, but that is the number 1 misconception about stomach toning. You have to get your entire body into shape before you start seeing results.
Start a cardio exercise program at your home. Either buy a set of aerobics or bootcamp DVDs or check out a local fitness class.
While doing basic crunches will help eliminate some of the fat around the obliques, here are some other exercises that focus more on what I like to call the love handle area.
A lot of people don’t realize that in order to tone your middle and love handle area you also need to strengthen your back. This creates a balance in your torso and reduces the fat on your back.
1. Lie on your stomach and lift your head up slightly
2. You can keep your arms straight out at your sides or bend them with your elbows resting beside you.
3. Lift your feet and knees off the floor and flutter your legs rapidly back and forth. Do this for 20 seconds. Take a 20 second break and then repeat again.
This exercise will work your internal and external obliques as well as the abdominals. These are the two muscle groups that live around your waist. Fat is generally stored on top of these muscles, thus creating the love handle effect.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
2. Carefully lift your head up and place your hands behind your head without locking your fingers together.
3. Twist to the right bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Extend your left leg out.
4. Now twist back to the left bringing your right elbow to your left knee. Extend your right leg out.
5. Repeat 25 times.
Standing Trunk Twists
This is a good aerobic-type exercise that will help get your heart rate up as well as burn some calories in your middle.
1. Stand with your feet about a foot apart and knees relaxed.
2. Twist your torso to the left while keeping your hips and legs as stable as possible. As you twist to the left, cross your right arm in front of your body in a punching motion.
3. Twist back to the right and cross your left arm over your body in a punching motion.
4. Do 100 reps.
The Bottom Line
Just like getting rid of belly fat, love handles will only firm up if you start increasing your body’s metabolism by exercising 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes. This does not only include crunches, sit ups, etc.. but cardio exercises that will get your heart rate up – like swimming/running/stairs.