7 Exercises to Lose Your Love Handles

We endearingly refer to them as love handles. Or maybe you prefer to call it your muffin top. Either way, excess fat sitting on the sides of the torso is tough to lose.

“You have to cross-train your core like you cross-train the rest of your body,” says celebrity trainer Kira Stokes. Of all the waist-whittling exercises out there, ones that target your oblique muscles will zero in on this area. A general rule to keep in mind: Any move where you’re reaching to the side works your obliques.

But incorporating ones that also hit your upper and lower abs will more effectively sculpt and slim your entire middle section. “Your core works as one complete unit,” Stokes reminds us.

Here, she shares her favorite exercises for getting rid of the extra padding around your middle.

READ MORE: How to Tip at the Salon

1Oblique Press and Reach

Kneel on your left knee with your right foot out in front of you, foot flat on the floor (leg will form a 90 degree angle). Keep the abdominal muscles tight, back straight, tailbone tucked. Hold a weight in your right hand, arm extended out to the right and bent at a 90 degree angle with your fist in the air.

Then, reach up, extending your arm straight into the air while bending your body down to the left side and touching your left fingertips to the ground. Next, use your oblique muscle pull your torso back to starting position. Do 3 sets of 12-15 on each side.

2Side Plank Crunch

Start on your right elbow, your right foot slightly in front of your left. Keep your core tightened throughouts. Pull the right knee in towards chest and crunch your left elbow toward it. Then bring back out to side plank position. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

3Plank Up-Downs

Get into plank position, with arms out straight directly beneath your shoulders, squeezing your butt and pulling your abs tight into your spine. Then, starting with one arm, lower down onto your forearm, then follow with the next arm. Move back up, one arm at a time, to the fully extended plank. Make sure to avoid rocking your hips, Stokes warns, and keep the core tight the entire time.

“It also works your upper body as well,” Stokes notes, since your upper body is moving and helping to support your entire plank position. Do 8 on each side, or shoot for 30-45 seconds.

READ MORE: Ask a Scientists: Are Waist Training Corsets Safe?

4Around the World Obliques

Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out just a little bit, tailbone tucked. With a very light weight in your hands (5 pounds at most—or you can even hold a pillow—just to keep anchored so you don’t feel the move in your lower back) extend arms up straight above your head as far as you can. “It should really feel like a stretch,” says Stokes. Then, bend from the hips and reach your body as far as you can to the right, hips and shoulders square forward. At the last second when you can’t reach any more, rotate toward the floor. Twist your body back to face front, exhale and pull back up to center.

Make sure to keep your knees soft, don’t lock them. Do 8-10 slow and controlled reps in each direction, alternating sides.

5Pass the Ball

These are basically bicycle crunches turned up a notch. Lie flat on the ground, abs pulled in tight to your spine and back flat on the floor. Pick your chest up, pulling the right knee into your chest and holding a ball in your left hand. Pass the ball underneath your right knee into your right hand and crunch up. “It’s almost like a figure-8,” says Stokes. Like dribbling a basketball, minus that bounce on the floor.

Rotate your legs after each pass, and make sure you’re crunching up every time. Keep your shoulder blades lifted off the ground throughout. Do for 30-45 seconds.

6Knee Drop

Lie flat on the ground, abs pulled in tight to your spine, back flat on the floor. Lift legs off the floor and into a tabletop position. Squeeze the ball between legs, engaging the inner thigh muscles and lower abs the entire time. Drop your knees over to the right—slowly—keeping abs pulled in tight and lower back flat. Exhale and pull to center, then inhale as you drop them down the other way.

“You want to keep them tucked in, knees aligned over your hips,” says Stokes. You’ll also get an awesome lower back stretch. Holding the ball tight will ensure you keep your legs together throughout the movement. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps each side.

7Crouching Tiger Push-Up

One of Stokes’ signature moves, the only other place you’ll see this is in one of her classes. Start in a push-up position (hands wider than shoulder-width). Do a pushup. Then, bend knees off floor, and press back into your hips so your knees are directly beneath your ribs. Your arms should be straight pressing through the shoulders—you’ll feel it in your quads and shoulders.

Then lift the hips up into a downward dog position. From there, round out your back and slowly roll your spine forward in a wave motion, starting with lower spine and ending with upper spine rolling the rest of the body flat until you are back in your starting plank position.

“Pressing back forces you to engage the low abdomen; the rolling wave is active abdominal work, and it’s also stretching your back.” Do 3 sets of 10-12 slow and controlled reps.

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  • Najah LaShay

    I got rid of my love handles using $25 body wraps and all I had to do is drink water with it on! Email me at najah_lasha for more info!

    • No2stupidity

      Bunch of crap. Celophane and dehydrating yourself does the same thing. Total rip off.

      • Najah LaShay

        Excuse you, but my wraps don’t dehydrate you. The wrap detoxifies your body, thus shrinking your fat cells. No sweating needed. The water’s job is to help flush out the toxins. So before you give a negative opinion, get your facts. And until then, please excuse yourself from my comment. Have a blessed day!

        • No2stupidity

          Scam. Tried and true and a temporary fix for a long term problem. Try exercising and eating right. I do have my facts straight. Ever wonder why they are a pyramid scheme instead of being sold in stores? If this works so well why are people not flocking to it? Like I said celophane has the same results.

          • Najah LaShay

            It’s most definitely not a scam! I tried one before I even thought of joining my team and I was skeptical too, until the 3rd day of my first wrap results. The only way to gain that fat back is to eat it on and not maintain your health properly. And as for the pyramid, every major company is a pyramid, there’s the CEO, then corporate, then management, then supervisors, then employees. With my company, you don’t work a set number of hours for a set amount of pay. There are no managers or supervisors, just fellow distributors that personally train us to do what we do(which is wrap people, host spa parties, and talk to others about distributorship) and train us to train others. They are leaders, not bosses because leaders need us just as much as we need them, there’s also no limit to how much we can make. If you’re still not impressed, that’s on you, but if you’d like me to prove to you that it isn’t a scam and that we really do make money by helping others, feel free to contact me!

          • Najah LaShay

            And also, the reason why it’s not sold in stores is because people like to copy amazing products and make it their own, and our CEO doesn’t like the typical pyramid method of running a business. If he was to do that, it would limit all of us and make us the bad pyramid you’re talking about!

          • James Bertram

            Ummm that’s why patents exist but good effort.

          • Yourfitnesspal

            Omgggg you’re so ignorant to what NO2Stupidy is saying hahahaha. You keep bringing up a pyramid but implementing it in the wrong way. Stop when you are ahead. P.s. Those wraps are a joke.

          • No2stupidity

            You apparently have no clue what a pyramid scheme is. If you have to buy the product you are selling is the first indicator. Second you also have to rope others in to selling it -. The pills you sell are nothing but overprice maternity pills. Ever wonder why their is an extremely high turn over rate in reps? Sad that the company has to bombard search engines to cover up all the complaints. No legit job charges you for a product you are to sell.

          • Najah LaShay

            There’s a reason for everything, but obviously you’re not gonna listen to anything I say. And instead of asking questions you throw accusations about a company you aren’t involved in. I love my job and what it does for others; I’m done entertaining your hate. Enjoy your life

          • Melanie Fincham

            Welllll, I don’t know about these wraps, butttt, Avon (which is a huge & successful company) has their employees sell the same way this lady is selling her wraps. I’d say they are legit and their products aren’t a scam, even though they are having their employees buy the packages they sell. I’d say it has a good bit to do with thievery too. Also incentive to sell since the employee’s money is on the line and not the company’s. In todays world it’s hard to trust employees. This is a safe way for the top dog to run their business. The company knows they will try that much harder to sell if they’re trying to get their money back. If they steal the product. ..well it’s already paid for, no loss to the CEO. I know nothing of these wraps though. My fat back would be too stubborn for them I’d say. They work for some though, although I am sure it is temporary if you do not continue diet and exercise afterward or continue them every once in a while.

          • DonMarqez

            I would love to try this product

          • Jamie Johnson

            Hey girl! Not sure if Najah got back to u since the original thread was from a year ago. I’m also a wrap distributor for same company.. If you’re interested in trying the wraps email me at jdj.itworks@gmail

    • Tojo

      Please I’ll like to know how you did so. Been looking for a way to get rid of mine

    • sam

      hi! I am desperate to loose those awful lovehandles and I want to know what you have to offer! email me at- komori@live.fi -cuz I don´t know how to contact you, pls 🙂

      • Najah LaShay

        Hey Hun, I emailed you yesterday

    • Jennifer Melisa Weiner

      Im interested! !

  • JimmyA

    Thanks for sharing.I know you want to look your best, want to be lean, muscular and sexy, especially during the Summer months.I’ve already managed to pack on 22lbs of pure muscle since starting this program,see my review of it:>bestfitnessandmusclebuilding(dot)com/14fl< Best wishes.

  • SusanaAnderson

    Sorry to be the negative Nancy but you cannot spot reduce fat. Don’t get me wrong, these are good exercises but they will only target the muscles underneath the fat. When you lose fat, you lose it from your entire body and this is achieved through correct diet and cardio (mainly your diet) If anyone’s looking for a program that actually works, try the 3 week diet, it’s brilliant. It wont let me post a link on here, so remove the space if you want to check it out:

    3WeekFatBurn. com

    • TaylorD86

      Thanks for sharing that program Susana. Not long until summer now and I can’t wait to get started. I always seem to do well when it comes to exercising but always struggle with the diet. (Ice cream is just too damn nice lol!)

    • Fish61324

      Thank You… I’m just gonna leave a comment to reinforce your comment. A lot of people have the misconception that you can target fat loss. When you lose fat, your body decides where it loses fat. Now of course the more you target certain muscles, the bigger and more toned those muscles get and you’re also losing fat in general….. so eventually those muscles start to show, thus making that part of your body look better. But if you’re someone looking to just lose fat and not worried about building/toning muscle… than do some cardio and DIET!! Eating right is much more important than exercising if you’re trying to lose weight/fat.

    • http://careersreport.com Palma Blanding

      ì want to guíde you to amazíng online work opportunity.. 3-5 h of work a day.. payment at the end of each week.. performance dependíng bonuses…earnings of six to nine thousand dollars /month – merely few hours of your free time, a computer, most elementary familiarìty wìth www and #trusted web-connection is what is needed…learn more by headìng to my page

    • Susan Ava

      Stop spamming a legit article. Training your abs is essential to losing love handles, and all these exercises will definitely raise your heart rate, which burns fat.

    • trio

      Right, if your tires occupy you from top to bottom – well excessively plump. For some of us what she’s referring to is only cold spot remaining, those moves worked for me – sorry.

    • BATMANfromDaHood

      True story

    • Chelsie Hanson

      You can do cardio till your blue in the face but unless your also building muscle it will take much more time to see results. Muscle is needed to burn fat. I think this is just showing strengthening moves that specifically target the muscles and problem areas a lot of women struggle with. Cardio is still needed and that’s where cross training rules. It’s constant, and intense. Very effective. For instance…cardio running 5miles vs cardio doing 3 sets of 10-15 burpees with a push-up…. That’s cardio and strengthening. Much more effective. Abs are also made in the kitchen, eat clean, eat healthy, work those muscles get that cardio in. Cross training is a good option for people that want to slam cardio and strengthening into one workout and depending on the moves, you can get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time.

  • http://hcgezdrops.com/ Barbara Laurie

    Simple exercises like this can help you lose weight, and with a proper diet eating healthy food will definitely lose your weight.

    • Peter Shuttleworth

      Yes, but not specifically from problem areas like one’s love handles.

    • MySay

      Exercise does not help you lose weight, a calorie deficit does. There is no such thing as spot reduction. For eg, If someone trained only their abs for 12mnths and nowhere else are you saying they would have a six pack but a fat back or fat arms etc, doesn’t happen. If a stomach and waist is devoid of all fat then it is very unlikely there will be any fat elsewhere on the body.

  • Dipaq Thapa Chetri

    I became fan of ur muscle……….|-__-|

  • Peter Shuttleworth

    Sadly sometimes a person’s body simply chooses specific areas to store fat. In my case, it is the love handles. Even when I was running half marathons, training regularly and hammering the cardio in general I was unable to fully lose my love handles – in spite of having very little fat anywhere else on my body. If you read up in detail on this, for some people, it can be almost impossible to lose the remaining fat in this area, regardless of exercise or dietary choices. That is why even some athletes choose to have liposuction in this area.

  • Paul Jacoby

    This is a good article for dudes, its my theory that women should have SOME love handles though. I think everyone is different. I don’t think they have really proven either theory true. (diet vs exercise) The reason is that all humans are different and what works best for one person may not for another. Body chemistry’s vary a lot. This is my own theory no clue if its right or wrong, but I believe diet becomes more important as you get older. Your metabolism slows down so I think as you age, you have to be cautious of those late night trips to the fridge. The only way to know what works for you is by taking pictures and measurements (body fat/weight/tape measure) and pictures. One thing is certain cardio will help, but unless you are just starting out GET OFF THE ELIPTICAL.

  • Hammad Shahid

    Do some research before posting something! This will not make you lose love handles AT ALL unless you do them in a HIT fashion. These will strengthen obliques, but you won’t lose the fat on them! You have to do extreme cardio/resistance training or HIT/HIIT to lose fat effectiveness. Spot training doesn’t work for fat. Can’t believe you would post an article without doing proper research!

  • Christopher McClennan

    This is a great workout routine I’ll try; however, dieting and cardio is also important to burn calories. Right now I’m strictly on a meat, fish, and vegetable diet my personal trainer recommended.

  • 5th judge

    Fuk off

  • Ross

    As others have already said, you cannot specifically target areas of fat. Will these exercises work your oblique muscles? Yes. Will they get rid of the love handles? No.

    There are so many studies that prove you cannot target fat loss, but this myth wont die. It it was possible, you would see guys with ripped abs and man boobs. (Because sit ups get rid of belly fat right??)

    Coming from somebody who used to have love handles, the best way to get rid of them is through your diet. Just avoid the extreme diets (low carb, juice cleanses etc.) – Because these types of diets mess with your fat burning hormones and slow down your metabolism. I recommend trying carb cycling which is a method many bodybuilders use. It’s basically a strategic way of eating and allows you to eat whatever carbs you like without storing them as fat. Shall Hadsall has a whole guide on concept and it’s brilliant. I’ll leave a link to his guide below:


  • Ree

    As others have said already, you cannot specifically target areas of fat. Will these exercises work your oblique muscles? Yes. Will they get rid of the love handles? No.

    There are so many studies that prove you can’t target fat loss, but this myth still lives on. Coming from somebody who used to have love handles, the best way to get rid of them is through your diet. Just avoid the extreme diets (Low carb, juice cleanses etc.) Because these types of diets mess with your fat burning hormones and slow down your metabolism. I recommend trying carb cycling, which is a method that bodybuilders use to get rid of stubborn fat quickly. It also allows you to eat your favourite carbs without storing them as fat. Shaun Hadsall had a whole guide on this concept and it’s brilliant. You can find it at: > CarbMethod.COM

    Love handles and lower belly fat are the last places your body will use fat from. Just be consistent with your diet and you will see them gradually reduce. Hope this helps.

    • Bren

      ^^ Truth bomb right here.

      Thanks for the awesome share.

  • http://www.allplayingcards.com/custom-playing-cards.asp cristy jones

    Please suggest for thigh exercise also

  • MySay

    Exercise does not help you lose weight, a calorie deficit does. There is no such thing as spot reduction. For eg, If someone trained only their abs for 12mnths and nowhere else are you saying they would have a six pack but a fat back or fat arms etc, doesn’t happen. If a stomach and waist is devoid of all fat then it is very unlikely there will be any fat elsewhere on the body.