If you’re looking to slim down your muffin top then try using the best exercises for love handles.
Let’s be honest there’s not a whole lot to love about love handles.
You might be making some great progress with your weight but it can be hard to get rid of your love handles. You might not even be that overweight, but your stubborn love handles feel like they’re the last to go.
Love handles (also known as the muffin top and spare tire) can be really unflattering and embarrassing to have.
To get rid of your love handles you’ll need to reduce your overall body fat. Then you can use these specific exercises to target and tone your love handles.
Some out there will tell you doing oblique exercises will make your love handles bulge but this is not true.
I’m sure you’ll agree to have big love handles is the last thing you want to have on your waist. But by doing these exercises you’ll find below you’ll be able to lose your love handles faster than you think.
Here you will find the best exercises you can use to target and get rid of your love handles so you can slim them away fast.
What Causes Love Handles
If you have fat on your love handles or lower back fat then there’s a good chance your hormones are affecting where your body stores fat. It’s most likely genetic and hormonal if everything you seem to eat makes its way directly to your love handles.
Insulin resistance is a big reason why many people have a lot of fat on their love handles. It’s also the big reason why they can’t seem to ever get rid of them. Cortisol and insulin are the main hormones causing people to not only gain abdominal fat but also hold onto stubborn love handle fat.
Studies have found men tend to carry more abdominal fat while women carry it more in their hips and thighs (1). But depending on your genetics and hormones you could also be storing excess fat on your love handles.
Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone in your body. When high levels of cortisol are pumping through your body it can increase fat storage around your belly (2). If you’re feeling stressed out it can cause you to eat more worsening the problem.
Insulin is a hormone in your body that allows sugar to enter cells. After you eat something sugary your body will release insulin in response to the spike in blood sugar. Insulin will then allow the sugar to enter your bloodstream so you can lower the blood sugar in your body. Eventually, your body can build up resistance to insulin. This will make it increasingly more difficult for the sugar to enter your cells.
This energy in the form of sugar and your cells will be stored as fat if not used. And the worst part is will usually be stored in your belly and love handles. This is just one of the reasons why you have to do more than just “lose weight.”
How to Lose Love Handles Fast
You’re going to have to reduce your overall body fat percentage with fat loss to get rid of your love handles. Focusing on fat loss instead of just weight loss is going to be key to getting rid of your stubborn love handle fat. Then you can use the targeted exercises below to lose your love handles and stubborn lower back fat.
You’ll have to eat a healthy diet to lose your love handles even if you’re doing the exercises below. You’ll never be able to get rid of love handles if you’re eating too many bad foods that are causing you to hold stubborn fat in the first place. There’s a saying that “you can’t out-train a bad diet” and it’s 100% true.
The best thing to do is to cut out sugar from your diet as it’s been proven to reduce belly fat (3). Eating a lot of fructose has also been found to increase overall stomach fat (4). This includes high fructose corn syrup which according to this study causes an increase in stomach fat (5).
You should also stay away from sugary drinks such as soda as they been linked to serious belly fat gains (6). Even diet soda will cause you to gain belly fat even though it is zero calories. Most of your carbs should instead come from leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. Whole grains should be limited as well.
Make sure you start eating more good fats in your diet to lose stubborn love handle fat. This study found those who ate avocados lost more belly fat (7). You can see my list of good fats here. Make sure you get more fiber in your diet as well. This study found increasing your soluble fiber intake by 10 g per day helps to lose almost 4% of visceral belly fat (8).
Try to be more active in your lifestyle too. This study found every 15 minutes you’re sedentary can lead to 0.05″ increase in your waist circumference (9).
Try adding some weightlifting to your workout routine as well. This study found it’s better at reducing your weight and overall belly size than just doing cardio or strength training alone (10).
Try to increase your sleep if you want to lose your belly fat and love handles. This study found those who slept for only five hours per night had more belly fat than those sleeping for eight hours (11).
Add more protein to your diet to get rid of your lower back fat. This study found those eating a high-protein diet lost more belly fat than those eating a low-protein diet (12). I like to supplement with grass-fed low-carb whey protein shakes like this one by BioTrust Nutrition.
Last but not least make sure you reduce your alcohol drinking. This study found alcohol was linked to weight gain increases in body fat around the belly (13).
Best Love Handles Workout
Now it’s true that it’s going to be nearly impossible to spot reduce fat spots on your body. But you can reduce fat throughout your entire body and then add in these exercises to tone up your love handles by adding muscle mass.
You can use all these exercises together in a workout to get rid of your love handles. I would first recommend picking out a handful of your favorites. Then try cycling through them 2-3 times a week after your regular workouts.
The bulk of your workout should be High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and metabolic resistance training. These will give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to losing body fat and adding lean muscle to your body.
Then you should be able to add in these exercises for love handles to target your back fat. This will help to tone up your love handles when combined with the MRT and HIIT workouts a few times a week.
Try to set a timer for 30 seconds per exercise. It’s a good idea to do these exercises in front of the mirror so you can check your form. Otherwise, your form could be off and you won’t get the best results from doing these exercises.
It’s always a good idea to mix up your workouts and add variety to these love handle exercises. This will not only help to mix things up but will also keep challenging your body with a variety of exercises. Doing these exercises multiple times a week will do a lot for getting rid of your spare tire.
13 Best Exercises for Love Handles & Obliques
These exercises not only focus on fat loss but they’ll tighten and tone up your midsection. Improving your body composition is key to getting rid of stubborn fat. This is why simple weight loss isn’t going to do the job. You need to lower your body fat and then you’ll lose the stubborn fat. And with the exercises below, you’ll build lean muscle mass that’ll tone up your abs and obliques.
- Start off in the standing position while holding either a dumbbell or medicine ball at your chest.
- Then slowly rotate towards one side of your body while squatting at the same time.
- Reach down with the dumbbell or medicine ball to the outside of your ankle.
- Then stand back up, twist your torso, and rotate as you come back up bringing the way across your body and extending over your head to the other side in a chopping motion. Then switch sides.
- To do Russian Twists first start off in the seated position with your knees together and leaning back with your chest out and shoulders back.
- Hold weight and bring it outside to the side on the outside of your body.
- Make sure you try to keep your knee steady throughout the movement and to make things harder you can lift your feet up off the floor.
These are a lot more difficult than traditional side planks. But if this is too difficult for you then just start off with regular side planks.
- Start off laying on your side in the side plank position with your elbow underneath your shoulder and 1 foot on top of the other.
- Raise your hips up off the ground and make a straight line with your body.
- Flex your glutes together and keep your abs tight throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower and raise your hips up towards the ground while keeping your body straight.
Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
Think of this is as an inverted bicycle crunches exercise. While bicycle crunches are also good for your abs this will hit your sides better.
- Start off in the push-up position with your hands on your shoulders and your feet together keeping your body straight.
- Quickly explode one knee up bringing it across your body towards her opposite arm.
- As you bring that same knee back to starting position simultaneously bring your other knee to meet the opposite elbow crossing your body.
Side Plank Reach Throughs
- Start off laying in the side plank position with your elbow underneath your shoulder and 1 foot on top of the other.
- Lift your hips up off the ground so you are in a straight line with your body.
- Then with your top arm slowly reach underneath your body like you’re going to scratch her back.
- Slowly bring yourself back out into the starting position.
- Start off in the push-up position with your hands or if your shoulders and your feet together.
- Begin to lower your chest towards the ground as you bring the knee on your right leg up to your right elbow.
- Push yourself back up by extending your right elbow to the starting position and return your right leg back to the starting position. Then repeat on the other side.
- Start off in the plank position with your elbows on your shoulders, your body in a straight line, and your feet together.
- Slowly begin to rotate your body into a side plank while allowing your feet to rotate with your body too.
- Pause at the end before slowly bring yourself back to the center and then repeating to a side plank on the other side.
- Lay on your side and put your feet together but with your bottom foot behind your top foot. Have your knees bent a little.
- Put your top elbow up with your hand behind the head.
- Then begin to crunch up words by bringing your elbow and your feet towards the sky.
- Squeeze your abs and love handles at the top before slowly lowering yourself back down towards the ground.
Crab Bridge Reach Overs
- Start off in the crab bridge position with your hands and feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and lift your hips off the ground.
- Begin to raise your hips up off the ground and then with one arm reach up and across your body.
- Allow your body to twist with your hand.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- For this exercise for love handles you’re going to need a band anchored about chest height away from you.
- Keep your arms out extended in front of your chest while holding the band.
- Then start to twist your body away from the anchoring point while keeping your abs tight.
- Then bring yourself back to the starting position and then repeating on the other side.
- Lie on your back on an exercise ball with your upper back on it and your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- You can hold the weight such as a medicine ball or a dumbbell over the top of you.
- Then slowly begin to twist your torso by bringing the dumbbell to the side of your body.
- Keep your website and when you reach the end bring it back up to the starting position before repeating on the other side.
- Place a band around an anchoring point about chest high away from you.
- Hold the band out with your arms extended away from you straight from your upper body.
- Make sure there’s enough tension on the band for you to feel it when you extend your arms.
- Keep your appetite and body straight throughout this movement.
- Just bring the band back and forth away from your chest. Really try to fight the urge to push her body towards the anchoring point.
- Start off in the push-up position with your hands in your shoulders and your feet together.
- Then begin to rotate to the side by bringing your outside leg underneath your body.
- At the end of the movement try to touch her hand opposite total.
- Then bring yourself back up to the special position and repeat on the other side.
What is the cause of love handles?
The reason you have love handles is that you have too much fat on your body and that’s where your body likes to store it. If you have a high body fat percentage then you’re also going to be much more likely to have love handles. Our bodies evolved to store excess energy for future use and many of us tend to store it in our love handles.
Can you get rid of love handles by running?
It’ll definitely help to lessen the appearance of your love handles by running but it’s going to be hard to get rid of them for good. You’re also going to need to lower your body fat percentage by increasing how much muscle is on your body. Follow some of the exercises above to help tone and slim down your love handles when combined with running.
The Last Word
Make sure when you’re doing these exercises for love handles you keep in mind you also need to reduce your overall body fat.
The best way to lose your overall body fat is through the proper diet and fat burning workouts.
Check out The Flat Belly Formula for the best way to lose stubborn body fat fast so you can get rid of your love handles quickly.
Then all you have to do is add in these exercises to target your love handles and low back fat.
You’ll be able to slim down your muffin top faster than you think as long as you’re doing the right stuff.
Now that you know the best exercises for love handles it’s time to put them into action so you can get rid of them fast and get the results you want.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.