Get Rid of Love Handles with This 5-Step Workout Plan

Written by Stefanie Lisa, CPT, CFN

How to Get Rid of Love Handles

It’s the often-asked question: how can you get rid of love handles? It’s a “condition” which has plagued many for as long as one can remember, and it’s an issue which isn’t going away anytime soon.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “love handles” before but you may not be entirely sure what they are. It turns out that love handles are made up of fat below the surface of the skin (subcutaneous fat). This is great news. Why? Because you can get rid of body fat. The downside here, however, is that you can’t truly spot reduce. You can help the situation, though, by working the area with resistance training, adding cardio, and cleaning up your diet.

How Can You Get Rid of Love Handles?

If you want to get rid of love handles, you’re going to have to put in some work. You probably don’t want to hear this answer to the age-old question “how can you get rid of love handles,” but the answer is… you can’t outwork a bad diet. Having a diet that is on point will help tremendously when it comes to whittling down your waist.

What kind of diet should you be following to help you get rid of love handles? You’ll want to follow a healthy whole foods diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and good carbs. Getting rid of the junk and processed foods in your diet will go a long way toward helping you reveal those coveted abdominal muscles.

The truth is, we all have abs, and we don’t have to walk around with love handles. Love handles and a lack of visible abdominals are mostly a function of too much body fat and, secondarily, a function of too little abdominal resistance training.

5 Workouts to Help You Get Rid of Love Handles

Can you get rid of love handles with diet and exercise? Yes! But, let’s be clear, you have to put in the work if you want to see results. Don’t forget, if revealing your abs were easy, everyone would have them. So, it’s time to focus on diet, cardio, and some solid resistance training for the abdominal region. Strengthening and toning your core, with a focus on obliques, is a good plan to get rid of love handles.

1. Cardio
Yes, you’re probably going to have to do copious amounts of cardio, but what kind is going to be most effective for burning off those love handles? Try adding HIIT (high intensity interval training) to your routine. You can do HIIT cardio training 3 – 4 times a week with some steady state cardio done on your off days for maximal fat burning.

Next, add resistance training to strengthen and tone the obliques so that once you whittle away the excess body fat, you can reveal that toned midsection. Try these exercises 3 times a week.

2. Plank
Doing this exercise can help strengthen and tone your entire core and is easily done anywhere, with no equipment needed. Basically, you will be in the top of the pushup position. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Your body should be straight, your arms extended, and you should be on your toes with your knees straight. Now, just keep your core tight and hold this position for between 30 seconds and 1 minute. Rest and repeat.

If you’re just getting started, you can do this exercise with your knees down. Just remember to keep a straight line from your shoulders to your butt, and straighten your legs and place your toes on the floor for a couple of seconds to build up your core strength.

3. Hanging Leg Raises
While difficult, this exercise is extremely effective. You can begin by using what’s known as a “Captain’s Chair,” which is basically a chair with armrests, a back rest, and no seat. Position yourself with your elbows on the armrests and your legs hanging straight down. Without using momentum, use your lower abdominal muscles to pull your knees up toward your torso and hold for a moment. Slowly lower your legs to return to the start and repeat ten times. For added intensity, you can keep your legs straight and bring them up parallel to the floor and hold.

Another variation of this exercise can be done by simply hanging from a bar. Raise your legs as you would on the Captain’s Chair. There is added difficulty since you have to stabilize your entire body as there is no arm or back rest available. Or, if you’re extra motivated, try bringing your straight legs all the way up to the bar and slowly back to the start without bending your knees.

If any of these variations seem like too much right now or you don’t have a bar or Captain’s Chair, you can try this same movement lying flat on the floor. Just remember to keep your lower back on the floor, and engage the lower abdominals throughout the exercise.


4. Woodchopper
Perform this exercise on a cable machine. Stand in front of the machine, facing forward, with your feet hip-width apart. Grab the handle/cable arm from the high pulley position by twisting so your shoulders and hips are facing to the left. With your arms straight (keeping a slight bend at the elbows), twist your body to the right and pull the cable down in front of you and across your body. Squeeze your abs and hold for a few seconds before returning the cable (in a controlled manner) to start. Repeat ten times and then repeat on the opposite side. No access to a machine? No problem! You can also use a dumbbell, a medicine ball, or resistance band to perform this exercise.

5. Russian Twist on Stability Ball
Lie on a stability ball with your upper body on the ball and your hips parallel to the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, feet flat on the floor, and hip-width apart. With your arms straight and pointed toward the ceiling, clasp your hands together and slowly rotate through the shoulders to the right until your arms are parallel with the floor. Return back up to center and repeat on the opposite side. You can intensify this exercise by holding a dumbbell in your hands for added resistance.

These exercises will help you get rid of love handles, but again, you’ll need to combine them with a solid whole-body exercise program combined with a whole food, healthy nutrition plan. You’ve got this!

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