Workouts

10 Best Exercises To Lose Love Handles

There are a lot of so called exercises to lose love handles out there but the majority of them are hogwash.

In this article I’ll break down for you what really works to get rid of your love handles.

Now I’m not saying it’s bad to have a little something to hold on to, but let’s be honest nobody likes having love handles.

Love handles are the fat that builds up on the side of your hips right above your pants.

It seems like for the most of us our fat just seems to go straight to our love handles before any place else.

It’s no wonder why a lot of us out there are trying to hide it with baggy shirts.

Love Handles Causes
love handles causes

The causes of love handles are very simple. You’re body just builds up excess fat from eating too much then storing it on the side of your stomach for “safe keeping.”

Love handles, also known as the muffin top, are not attractive at all and I get more questions asking me how to get rid of them than anything else.

For a lot of people love handles are the hardest to get rid of, and it can be incredibly frustrating when you can lose weight everywhere but there.

It always seems like it’s the last place people will lose the weight but there are some nutrition and exercise tips I can give you to rapidly speed up the process.

So instead of having to buy one of those cheesy sweat belts I’ll give you the real world strategies so you can lose the love handles for good.

What Doesn’t Work to Lose Love Handles

Sometimes you’ll see people in the gym doing a Side Bends exercise and I always want to tell them they’re wasting their time.

The truth is spot reduction is a very ineffective way of losing your love handles. Spot reduction is when you try to lose fat in a specific area on your body by isolating the area with an exercise.

So think of it like you want to lose your love handles so you keep trying to just do Side Bends, but even if you do them forever you will not get results.

While doing isolation exercises focusing on the love handles is okay every once in a while it shouldn’t be your sole method of getting rid of your muffin top.

This study puts the nail in the coffin proving spot reduction is very ineffective for losing love handles or any other part of your body.

In the rest of this article I’ll break down for you what really works to help you drop your love handles.

What Exercises Lose Love Handles

Ok so I know I just said you can’t spot reduce your love handles, but I have a trick up my sleeve.

There are exercises to lose love handles out there but they aren’t what you typically would think of.

These use HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) strategies to burn fat all over your body while adding some specific muscle toning to your love handles.

There are some other methods such as metabolic resistance training that will also help to increase your metabolism and the building of lean muscle.

I would also recommend trying this HIIT workout routine I designed to help get your training program kickstarted for mega fat burning.

All of these training protocols when done correctly will burn a crazy amount of fat compared to the workouts most people do in the gym.

That’s all just a fun way of saying the best way to drop your love handles is to drop fat throughout your body.

With these exercises you’ll lose those love handles and help tone up them up at the same time.

10 Best Exercises To Lose Love Handles

In the video above you’ll see I’m using a couple simple pieces of exercise equipment like the kettlebell and superbands.

You can pick these up pretty inexpensively at your local Target or Wal-Mart. Or you can also pick them up at Amazon.

Just be sure to know I’m using a rather heavy kettlebell for the video, but you probably won’t need to start out that heavy. For you I’d probably find a 10-25 pound kettlebell for getting started.

Although I didn’t specifically state the order of these exercises for love handles I would recommend coupling the full-body exercises.

With these 10 exercises you can make hundreds of different combinations.

Now let’s dig deeper into these exercises to lose love handles with some descriptions.

Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlift

kettlebell-suitcase-deadlift-exercise

Place a kettlebell to the side of your foot then squat down to the floor to pick it up. While holding the kettlebell stand up tall.

Focus on keeping your hips straight throughout the exercise. Keep your chest up and when you squat to the floor make sure you push your hips back like you’re taking a seat on a chair.

Kettlebell 1-Arm Clean & Press

kettlebell clean and press exercise

This movement is a little more advanced but it’s very effective total body exercise. Feel free to do some practicing on this one before trying it with the kettlebell.

Hold the kettlebell in one arm and then shoot your hips forward in a thrusting motion. While you’re doing this also explode upwards with your elbow lifting the kettlebell up.

Next bring your elbow down quickly and catch the kettlebell in your hand. Use your body as a spring to absorb the motion of the kettlebell.

Then bring the kettlebell back down with you before going on to the next repetition.

Kettlebell Alternating Swings

kettlebell alternating swings exercise

This is a variation on a typical kettlebell swing I like to use to focus more on my love handles.

Start like you would a regular kettlebell swing but after the first repetition bring the kettlebell back on the side of your hips.

Then swing it back up like you would a normal swing before bringing it back down on the other side of your body.

Keep swinging the kettlebell side-to-side on the outside of your hips.

Superband Tight Rotations

tight rotations exercise

Using a superband (or other sturdy band you can find) wrap it around a solid object such as a pole.

Hold the other end of the superband in your hands and step away from the anchor location.

Then with some tightness on the band repeatedly swing your hips side-to-side while keeping your abs tight.

Try to increase the speed as you get the exercise down. You can also make the exercise harder by simply stepping farther away from the anchor point.

T-Stab Pushups

T-Stab Pushups exercise

Get in the standard pushup position then after performing a full pushup rotate your body sideways at the top. Let your feet rotate with your body as you turn yourself so you’re now facing the wall.

After a quick pause at the top you’ll next want to bring yourself back to the pushup position. Do another pushup before repeating the sideways movement only to the other side this time.

Side-ups

side-ups exercise

Traditional Side Planks are great for focusing on strengthening your love handles, but there is an even better way to do them.

Get down on your side then lift yourself up like you’re doing a Side Plank only keep lifting your hips up and down from the ground.

Be sure to keep your body straight throughout the exercise while keeping your abs tight as well.

Mermaid Crunches

mermaid crunches exercise

Another fun exercise I like to use to help tone up my love handles are Mermaid Crunches.

You’re going to lay on your side and wrap your bottom foot behind your top foot. Then place your upmost hand behind your head and your bottom hand on the ground for support.

Together lift up your legs and crunch up your elbow towards them. Keep your abs tight as you go up and down off the ground.

Kettlebell Reverse Lunges

kettlebell reverse lunges

Holding a kettlebell stand up tall with your abs tight. Then while keeping your chest up and looking straight ahead begin to take a big step back with one leg.

Lower that back leg towards the ground so it’s about an inch from hitting it. Next bring the leg back up before repeating on the other side.

Kettlebell 1-Legged RDL

Kettlebell 1-Legged RDL exercise

Stand up tall and hold a kettlebell in your right hand. Slowly begin to lean forward as you lift your right leg up off the ground as you go down.

Keep your opposite leg straight with a slight bend in it and your back straight. Try to lower yourself so your back is right above parallel to the floor.

Slowly bring yourself back up to the standing position. Repeat on this same side until your done then switch to the other side.

Tips to Lose Love Handles

The #1 thing you can do to most effectively lose your love handles is to focus on your diet.

There is no amount of exercising you’re going to be able to do if you’re putting too much bad food into your body.

Dieting is key to get rid of love handles and even if you don’t have much weight to lose you’re going to have to step it up a notch.

Keeping sugar and alcohol out of your body will have a big impact on losing the love handles. Also keeping processed foods and carbs low will help to slim down your waist.

This study found sugar will pack on the stomach fat no matter what kind of exercise you’re doing.

Really do your best to kick this bad habit because it’s also the one thing that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Even doing something as simple as getting rid of processed foods from your diet will help to reduce the fat on your body and your love handles.

The high amounts of refined sodium in processed foods is enough to cause your body to retain water making your stomach look bigger than it actually is.

Alcohol is another “bad guy” in the battle against your love handles.  Drinking this little devil will shut off your fat burning hormones as it slows your metabolism to a stand still.

I would limit your alcohol intake to only 2 drinks per week on your cheat day unless you want to keep that belly for the summer.

That’s really just the icing on the cake when it comes to nutrition for losing your handles.

If you ready for the complete guide with meal plans to lose your love handles for good then check out my Flat Belly Formula system.

Final Word On My Exercises to Lose Love Handles

At the end of the day getting rid of your love handles is going to be done through proper dieting.

But there are some exercises you can use to help get rid of those stubborn love handles.

Use the ones described in my video above to get the full exercise benefits to slim down your muffin top.

Spot reduction really is a bad way to go about losing your love handles, but these above HIIT full-body exercises will for sure help to tone up and lose fat overall.

This is what’s really going to help you get rid of your love handles for good.

Most people have the hardest time trying to get rid of them but it really doesn’t have to be so difficult.

As long as you’re willing to put in the work for what really works then you’ll be there in no time.

Love handles are very unsightly and a big point of insecurity for many us.

I know a few people who don’t even want to wear a bathing suit at the beach because they don’t want people to see their love handles.

This doesn’t have to be you though. Just be sure to get your nutrition right and do the exercises to lose love handles above so you aren’t left at the pool with your shirt on this summer.

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41 Comments


  1. Josh Campbell

    April 16, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Hey Josh
    Im a 19 yr old, 6 ft 4. 2 months ago i was 140kg(308), and i started dieting and am currently 120kgs. For the last months my weight has been going up and down with 2 kgs. I was just hoping you could give me tips on how the lose the weight and not go up and down. Cheers

    Reply

  2. erika

    October 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I leard a lot and I want to learn more about keeping fi and get rid of the love handles and get that summer abs

    Reply

  3. Amanda

    November 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Today I did this workout twice through and it kicked my ass… or love handles… I’m a big fan of this guys workout routines and often give the routines to my friends to do as well.

    Reply

  4. Geri

    February 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Michele’s blog RAW recommended your site and I have to thank her. Its great

    Reply

  5. Fola

    September 6, 2013 at 5:38 am

    great job! I have learnt so much and I will definitely mention this site on my blog. For these exercises if I do not wish to use a kettlebell, what size weights do you recommend?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      March 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I’d go with 5-10 pound weights depending on your current fitness level.

      Reply

  6. Dixie

    January 8, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I am a teenage girl who is 5’8 and I’m 18 years old. What do you think is the best weight for me to be at?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      January 12, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      If you have a medium sized frame you should be 136-150 pounds. But that is a VERY generic number. You should place more of your focus on your body fat percentage.

      Reply

  7. lina

    May 6, 2014 at 7:08 am

    well ur exercise really helpd me so thank u ♥ btw u so beaut

    Reply

  8. Jana

    June 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I am a mother of five, 32yrs old, get compliments all the time that I look good for having five kids, however I am not satisfied, Started a job where I sit all day and started developing love handles. I am very upset about this!!!! I wanted to know what is a good diet? Do you have any suggestions on what I should eat for a day when sitting is all I do for 8 hours? I take the stairs at work every chance I get, and am starting to incorporate exercise more in my life, My main concern is diet? What are good foods to eat? I’ve always been able to eat what ever I want and now since I’ve become older it is not the case anymore 🙂
    Thank you

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      August 3, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Jana, maybe see if you can get a treadmill desk or at least a standing desk at your work. They’ll make all the difference! As far as your diet I would really focus on lowering your intake of sugar and starchy carbs while eating more lean meats like chicken and tuna while consuming more green vegetables as well. Also since you’ll be sitting most of the day you shouldn’t need as many calories during the day so try to keep your calories below 2,000 per day.

      Reply

  9. anonymous

    August 7, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Hello I’m 23 , and I weigh 320 pounds. I am an emotional eater, sad .. bored .. lonely .. etc. I want to make a change. what would you suggest I do as far as losing weight (I want to lose my stomach and tone up my arms legs and back) and a good diet plan? thanks for your help !

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      August 3, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Getting to the root of the problem will be key to solving this problem for you. Finding healthier alternatives to negative emotions other than eating will be of the utmost importance for you. Otherwise I’m afraid you’ll end up going back into your bad habits even if you make progress. I’d recommend starting to meditate with the Headspace app. Then I’d focus on being more present by living in the now by reading The Power of Now. I’d also make sure you pick up a copy of my Flat Belly Formula program as well for an optimal dieting program to lose your stomach fat. Hope this helps if you have any other questions feel free to email me. 🙂

      Reply

  10. Kate

    August 12, 2014 at 8:53 am

    How many reps and set of each exercise?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      December 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Get a timer and first try doing 3 sets of each exercise for 30 seconds each. If that’s too easy for you then bump it up for 10 seconds per set.

      Reply

  11. keshia

    January 24, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Hey,

    i weight 278 pounds. I am trying to lose 70-80 pounds by May 2015 or graduation and 50 pounds by April for prom. Please help me and tell me what can i do

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      May 12, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Keshia,

      Losing that amount of weight is going to be easy even if it’s in 3-4 months time. The best thing you can do is commit to a dieting plan as well as a full-body weight and cardio workout routine to lose the weight. Stay off the bad carbs, eat a lot of protein, don’t drink your calories, use H.I.I.T. workouts and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

      Reply

  12. Kiyonna

    March 3, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Does jogging/running on a treadmill helps lose love handles as well

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      May 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Kiyonna,

      Yes, jogging or running on a treadmill can help you lose your love handles. But make sure that you’re doing High Intensity Interval Training on the treadmill and not just jogging. Think of yourself as a sprinter on the treadmill instead of a long-distance marathon runner. This printer will get results and losing your love handles, but not the marathoner.

      Reply

  13. Cassandra

    June 4, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Hey Josh
    I’m 22 and 198 pounds. I’m very unhappy and I want to lose about 60-70 pound before the end of this year. What can I do? And I have nasty love handles. Help me please.

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      June 4, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Hi Cassandra,

      Here are the steps I would take to lose that much weight…

      1. Stop eating sugar and processed foods
      2. Start working out with weights and high intensity interval training
      3. Eat a high protein diet

      And the key will be consistency. Staying the path won’t be easy but real lasting results come with longevity and hard work.

      Reply

  14. falisha

    June 15, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Hi I am Falisha and I am 17 years old and I weigh 179.4 and I want to lose at least 25/30 pounds by the end of the year. Any good tips about losing weight beside cutting down on sugary things? And specific exercises??

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Along with dropping sugar I would also stay away from processed foods and carbohydrates. Unused carbohydrates in your body are what is going to cause you to gain weight. Check out the glycemic index as well and focus on eating foods that are lower on the rankings. Also make sure you drink plenty of water and get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

      Reply

  15. Mason's Gram

    June 16, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Hi Josh, I am 50 years old 5’4 180lbs. I have gained almost 30lbs in a year and a half. I have arthritis in both knees that limit what I can do. I’m told I need a knee replacement but I’m too young. My back fat is what bothers me the most. It has really gotten out of hand. I try to exercise and I used to be very active and strong.. but a lot of exercises hurt my knees… any exercises you suggest to get rid of this back fat? I’ve watched your video and love the exercises, lunges are out however… any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      It’s really difficult to lose fat on just a certain body part. You’re going to have to lose fat throughout your body to lose fat on focused areas. This is done mostly through diet but you can add in resistance exercises for your back that will help to tone it up once the fat is gone. It’s going to be hard to exercise though with your knees hurting so bad I would try riding a bicycle, kettlebell swings and heavy rope exercises for your cardio.

      Reply

  16. Lucie

    June 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Hey josh i am 183 pounds and im 5,6 i have pretty big love handels i have 2 months to loose acouple inches off what do i do? And how many inches do you think i can loose in 2 months?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 28, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Two months is more than enough time to lose a couple inches off your waist. But the key is going to be to put in the work to do so. Along with doing the exercises in this workout video make sure you really get your diet right. It’s going to be near impossible to drop those two inches off your waistline if you’re not eating clean.

      Reply

  17. stacia

    June 27, 2015 at 3:39 am

    Hey Josh I’m only 13 years old and I’m 240 pounds isn’t that crazy I’m trying to lose 80 pounds and I tried everything nothing seemed to work please help me in tired of getting picked on in school I’m counting on u to help me

    . Thanks Stacia

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Hi Stacia, sorry to hear you’re getting picked on. I would focus on your diet to start. Eliminate all sugar and processed foods from your diet. Eat a lot of protein along with vegetables while limiting your carbohydrate intake. Once you get your diet down then you can get started on your workout program. But diet is by far going to be the biggest way for you to lose weight.

      Reply

  18. ROBERT FELICE

    August 16, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Hi: I am in my 70’s and look and feel much younger. I am 5’8 and weight 162. I live alone with my dog and have some medical restrictions. In 2009 I had a angioplasty. My doctor said it was a minor artery and I was fortunate. I have had no symptoms since. I acquired Asthma at the age of 3 and currently have COPD. I am in terrible shape. I tried doing 2 pushups the other day and my stomach was sore for 4 days. My breathing and stamina are limited. I want to expand my stamina and lose 10-15 pounds off my stomach and love handles. This would be a cinch if I could do a full workout. Recently I started taking one Smoothie every day and I quit eating any kind of candy/sweets for the past month. When doing the smoothie, I either do an all vegetable or an all fruit smoothie. I usually add water, coconut milk and/or Greek no fat plain yogurt. I have not walked for any length of time in years. However, when starting the smoothies, I put an inexpensive pedometer and do about 3000-4000 steps per day. That may sound silly, but for me this is a radical change. Can you give me your suggestions and advice as to how to lose this stomach/love handles fat and expand my breathing a stamina a bit? I believe you are a genuine, caring person and I trust you to help me. Many thanks…Bob

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      August 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Hi Bob, sounds like you’ve gotten a pretty good start with your diet which is great. I’d also make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet as well. Aim for 0.7-0.8g per pound of bodyweight. Even though you’re very underconditioned physically it’ll be key to take baby steps starting off and work your way up. Work your way up with a goal of 5,000 steps per day then slowly start adding more and more. This goes with other forms of exercise such as push-ups, squats, etc. If you’re having trouble staying motivated you may want to look for the help of a local personal trainer who may be able to offer you a more personalized experience. Hope this helps!

      Reply

  19. Anuradha

    October 4, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Hi. I am 36yo, i am about 161cm and 55kgs. I have 2 kids, aged 4 and 2. Both were csecs. What can i do to lose my tummy? Ive been going to the gym, doing alot of situps and crunches. But i dont seem to be losing it.

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 27, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      The best way to really lose your belly fat would be to reduce your carbohydrate intake. So I’d start by not consuming any more sugar or starchy carbohydrates. The bulk of your diet should be lean meats and vegetables. Crunches and sit-ups won’t help at all with dropping your belly fat. This best way to shrink your stomach at the gym is with weight training and sprinting.

      Reply

  20. J

    November 3, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hi Josh. I am 43yrs, 5’4 and 160 lbs. I have been struggling to lose 10 lbs. I eat pretty well, rarely drink and walk at least 5 miles per day. I have started to incorporate more workouts into my daily routine but I don’t know the best method to drop lbs. I have a little belly, small love handles and thick calves and thighs. Some of it is genetic but I have definitely picked up 15lbs over the past few years that I need to lose! Any advice??

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 27, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Hi J, I’d recommend checking your carb intake and making sure it’s not too high. A lot of the time when you’re holding weight in your belly and love handles is because of high carb/starch/sugar intake. Also drinking the wrong kinds of alcohol can really add to your belly fat. That would be my #1 suggestion for you!

      Reply

  21. Renee

    March 13, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Great stuff!

    Reply

  22. Alexis

    October 18, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Hi I am 5’4 180 pounds I am 17 years old I am a girl. I hate how my stomach got in the past three months and I hate my love handles. What would you recommend as a meal plan to help me lose this in a few months. And workout routines. I’m am very conscious about my body I hate going out with my friends because they all have nice body’s and it’s very hard for me to feel comfortable in certain clothes… I would like to have a flat stomach and Smaller love handles. Do you think you can give me a meal plan and a workout routine to help me lose this.. I will greatly appreciate it. I am very determined to lose this stomach and love handles

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      March 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Alexis, I’d highly recommend checking out my Flat Belly Formula program. It’s designed to help you not only lose weight but to focus on your belly fat. It contains meal plans, recipes and workouts and focused towards slimming your stomach. If you have any other questions just let me know.

      Reply

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About Josh

trainer josh bio

Hey, I’m Josh.

I help good people get a flat belly with smart nutrition.

Let’s do this.