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Aim to 'Lose Your Love Handles'

By , Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
Love handles, the spare tire, the middle age spread: Call it what you will, but nobody likes having excess flab around the waistline (not even when we name it cute things like "muffin" top). And while you can target the oblique muscles located on the sides of your waist by doing specific toning exercises, doing tons of abs moves alone isn’t enough to shrink your waistline. Your best love handle melting strategy involves the same principles for losing weight anywhere on the body: eating better foods (and less in general), and performing both fat-burning cardio along with muscle-toning strength training.
But like any exercise program, you should cater your exercises to your specific goals. And if whittling your waistline is one of your goals, you should be doing exercises to help you reach it.
I designed this workout circuit to help you target your waistline in a smart way: by keeping your heart rate elevated to burn more calories than you would simply lying on the floor and doing crunches. You’ll alternate a cardio move that also targets your core with a traditional oblique toner for maximum benefit.
Scroll down below this graphic to see detailed instructions for each exercise.

Workout Instructions:
Warm up for 3-5 minutes by marching in place or walking. Try this workout 1-3 times per week on alternating days.
Cardio Toner #1: Torso Twister (Dancing Twist)
Turn up your favorite song and dance off those love handles with this move! Stand with feet together, arms bent front of chest. Take a step to the left and twist your waist to the left, keeping hips square. Step right foot in, bringing feet together and untwisting torso back to center. Repeat on the right side, and continue stepping/twisting to each side for at least one minute. Turn Up the Burn: Repeat for an entire song.

Targeted Toner #2: Belly Blaster (Bicycle Crunches)
This classic move (ranked the #1 most effective move for your abs) activates both the abdominal wall muscles and the obliques. To do it, start lying on your back with knees in table top, hands clasped behind head and shoulder blades off the floor. Extend right leg out almost parallel to the floor, bending left knee into chest as right shoulder twists toward the left knee, then quickly switch to the other side. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps. Be sure to keep elbows wide and avoid pulling on your head with your hands.
Cardio Toner #3: Jiggle Jabber (Cross & Cover)
Kickboxing is a fun and really effective way to work your obliques since every punch involves the core! This punching combo will work your waist and help you fight off fat at the same time. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, knees slightly bent, elbows bent in front of chest, fists near chin. Throw a cross with your right arm by punching across your body, rotating palm down (avoid locking elbow), turning right hip slightly forward and lifting right heel off the floor. Quickly pull arm back in to body and repeat with left arm.  (Notice the "turn" or pivot of the body to each side as you punch, which engages the core.) Then immediately block your face with your arms (elbows up) as if trying to avoid a punch by twisting left, then right, keeping hips square and knees bent while you twist. That’s one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch leading sides for 30 more seconds. Turn Up the Burn: Repeat for an entire song.
Targeted Toner #4: Waist Whittler
(Windshield Wipers)

You’ll use your abs to control your lower body’s range of motion (like you do in real life activities) with this exercise. Start lying on back with knees bent at 90 degrees over hips, arms extended to sides of shoulders on the floor, palms facing down. Brace abs in tight and squeeze legs together as you lower both legs (maintaining 90 degree position) to the right, keeping both shoulder blades and arms pressed into the floor. Use abdominals and obliques to return legs to starting position, and then repeat to the left. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps in total. Turn Up the Burn: Try extending your legs straight.
Cardio Toner #5: Side Sizzler (Side Knee Strikes)
Power up your heart rate while you work your waist with this kickboxing-inspired cardio burst. Stand on left leg with knee slightly bent, right leg extended out to the side with toes lightly tapped on the floor, arms extended overhead on the left. Bend right knee and lift thigh toward chest while pulling elbows down to the outside of the thigh, twisting to the right. That's one rep. Do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat. Turn Up the Burn: Repeat for an entire song.

Targeted Toner #6: Muffin Top Melter
(Side Plank Press)

Target your obliques while also engaging your arms, shoulders, hips and legs for a strength building exercise that works multiple muscles simultaneously. Start lying on left side, with left elbow bent under shoulder, propping upper body off the floor, left knee bent, right leg straight, and right arm extended next to the hip, palm facing up. Lift hips off floor, reaching right arm overhead by right ear, with eyes focused down or straight ahead to prevent neck strain. Lower hips and arm. That’s one rep. Try up to 20 in a row and then repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep elbow directly under shoulder joint avoid strain. Turn Up the Burn: Extend both legs out straight into a full side plank instead of keeping bottom knee on bent on the floor.

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HAPPYCAMPER001 5/25/2020
Wish this had a video! Report
GINSBERGR4534 3/27/2020
What sort of aqua exercises can I do for my love handles? I have limited mobility and balance issues. Thanks!
GINSBERGR4534 3/27/2020
I have limited mobility and balance issues so I take many of the suggested exercises into the pool. I use aqua dumbbells for weight training. I use a pool noodle for support on other exercises. Lastly, I swim laps for cardio. I don't do many reps of anything, yet. I need to be aware of what the impact will be to me after getting out of the water. But I'll get there! Report
NASFKAB 3/19/2020
Great Report
KHALIA2 2/13/2020
The Ab Roller is another tool that I use!!!!! Report
KHALIA2 12/31/2019
What love handles? Report
BONNIE1552 12/20/2019
I can do most of these. Thanks. Report
BONNIE1552 12/20/2019
I can do most of these. Thanks. Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Thanks Report
Thank you Report
Great moves! Report
Many "experts" say one cannot spot reduce with exercise and the body decides where to take off inches. Be that as it may, these exercises tone and can only be beneficial. Report
Thank you Report
Looks easy, hope it is as easy as it looks! Report
Great article! Report
Gonna do these! Report
Thank you Report
Thanks. Report
Tone what you own! Report
Thanks Report
Thanks. Report
Thank you! Report
Thanks Report
Excellent Report
Burn Baby Burn Report
Great moves Report
Great moves! Thanks! Report
good article Report
Took a couple of these to add to my routine!!thank you Report
Thank for sharing, SparkFriend. We. can do it. Report
Just crazy bout Jessica Smith!!! Report
I love these workouts from actual personal trainers. They are so well explained and the visual demonstrations to do them properly is wonderful. I do not go to a gym and only have a dumbbells and ball, and medicine ball, so this is a workout where I do not need any equipment. I love it!! Thank you Report
I love these workouts from actual personal trainers. They are so well explained and the visual demonstrations to do them properly is wonderful. I do not go to a gym and only have a dumbbells and ball, and medicine ball, so this is a workout where I do not need any equipment. I love it!! Thank you Report
Thank you Report
Thank you, Jessica! Great article! Report
Great moves! Report
Will add some into my workout. Report
Will add this to my routine! Report
Strength training is so important so is abdominal exercises. These looks like some I really want to try, thanks for sharing this.. Report
I used to think that I could not 'spot reduce' until I started physical therapy. I could not be lieve how the exercises trimmed my muffin top or at least made it look better though the goal was to strengthen not trim. I am sold. Pinned these exercises! Report
Allow your weight-loss journey be a marathon, not a sprint. Report
for those looking for the save button it is at the end where you see "More" click and you will see the save button. Report
I'm not going to even listen to the negative people, because I know from experience abdominal exercises have done wonders for me. Of course eating a healthy diet has helped too! Also, I have Jessica's Abs Diet workout video and it's one of my favorite ab workouts and has been very effective for me. Report
We use several of these moves in our Zumba class! Plus, I found a machine at the gym that I just love using: the Ab Coaster. You can add weights for added resistance, and it works lats and obliques! Report
I really like Jessica's workouts. I started using the moves last month and have seen improvements where I need them most. I am not where I want to be yet but I am getting there thanks to her easy workout plans every day I try a different type of workout out plan from her. Easy to understand and easy to motivate yourself at the same time. Report
I credit Jessica smith and her workouts for helping me lose 45/lbs and keep it off. Those of you making nasty comments about this article really need to check out her website and exercise videos. Jessica is upfront in saying its not possible to spot reduce. These are toning exercises. I have been doing her workouts for two years and have lost 4 inches around my waist and upper hips. As someone up thread said "lighten up". Report
If you select all under edit and then select export as PDF under file it saves the entire thing to your desktop or document files! :) Report