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Let’s talk about love handles.

Do you think you have them? Do they make you feel uncomfortable in certain clothing? Are you hesitant to wear that swimsuit in the summers?

You’re not alone! Many people have love handles and complain about how they look. However, as a personal trainer, I’m more concerned with the health implications.

One of the main reasons I recommend love handle workouts is to prevent any adverse health conditions that can come along with carrying excess abdominal fat.

Luckily, the process of getting rid of love handles can be fairly simple. As usual, you need to stay consistent with exercises to lose love handles and eat healthily.

I’ve had so many clients who were self-conscious of their midsections. However, with dedication, determination, and a program of my favorite love handle exercises, they were able to transform both how they looked and felt!

Keep reading to learn more about which exercises for love handles you should try, what an effective love handles workout looks like, and more!

What are love handles?

Love handles are made up of stored body fat that sits on the lateral areas of your abdominals and around your hips. 

Unfortunately, many people tend to store the most fat in their midsection, so love handles are quite a common struggle.

What causes love handles?

It is up to your genetics where you gain and lose fat first. That said, many people tend to gain and maintain extra fat on their abdominal areas quite easily.

An accumulation of excess fat results from someone being in a caloric surplus. A caloric surplus is the number of calories that you are consuming above your maintenance calories. 

Therefore, if you were to eat your maintenance calories, you would maintain a healthy weight.

If you’re eating too many calories every day and not burning enough calories through exercise and general daily movement, you can quickly enter a surplus. This results in the development of love handles.

Are love handles dangerous?

exercises to lose love handles

Love handles themselves are not necessarily dangerous. However, they could be an indicator of an increased risk of weight-associated diseases.

The following are possible consequences of carrying too much fat on your abdominal area:

  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver
  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Strokes 

How to Get Rid of Love Handles

getting rid of love handles

Luckily, you do not need a procedure or diet pills to effectively get rid of love handles. 

You simply need to put yourself in a caloric deficit so that your body uses stored fat for energy rather than the extra calories you were providing it before.

To be in a deficit, you can eat fewer calories than your maintenance calories, exercise more, or both.

Utilizing both methods is generally the most manageable and sustainable since eating too little or overexercising can be difficult both mentally and physically. It can also lead to burnout.

A great way to get started with getting rid of love handles is to eat 500 calories less than your maintenance calories a day. Combine that with my recommended love handle workout plan!

Top 10 Exercises to Include in Your Love Handle Workout Program 

Related: Weighted Ab Workouts

1. Hanging Leg Raises

Looking for a challenge? Hanging leg raises are amazing for working your abdominals while challenging your legs and improving grip strength

Equipment Requirements

Bar

How-To Perform Hanging Leg Raises

  1. Grab onto an overhead bar so your body is fully extended and your feet cannot touch the ground. 
  2. Brace your abdominals and press your legs and feet together. 
  3. Keeping your legs completely straight, raise them up in front of you until they parallel the floor. 
  4. Hold them here for a moment before slowly releasing them to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Works your abdominals
  • Improves your grip strength

Pro Tips

  • To increase the difficulty of this exercise, try holding your legs out at the top position for five seconds before lowering.
  • If you find leg raises to be too difficult, you can substitute them with knee raises.

2. Battle Rope Waves

Battle rope waves allow you to use both cardio and exercise the abdominal muscles simultaneously, making it one of the best workouts for love handles! 

Try including this move in a HIIT workout.

Equipment Requirements

Rope 

How-To Perform Battle Rope Waves

  1. Position yourself at the end of a fairly taut rope and grab both handles. 
  2. Squat down slightly while keeping your back straight and chest up. 
  3. With one hand, lift up the rope and then slam it on the ground. 
  4. Do the same on the other side and continue to alternate at a quick speed while maintaining the squat position.

Benefits

  • Improves core strength
  • Burns lots of calories

Pro Tips

  • Another variation to try is bringing your hands up at the same time and slamming the rope down.
  • If you are a beginner with this move, take your time and go slowly at first to ensure that you are maintaining good form.

3. Russian Twists

Russian twists are great for strengthening your core and building your obliques. These are a must for creating a nice shape to your waist.

Equipment Requirements

None

How-To Perform Russian Twists

  1. Take a seat on the ground with your ankles crossed and feet hovering above the ground. 
  2. Maintain a straight back as you lean back slightly and clasp your hands in front of your chest. 
  3. Keeping your gaze forward, bring your hands to one side and touch the floor. 
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits

  • Strengthens your core
  • Defines your obliques

Pro Tips

  • If you are struggling with balance, try placing your feet on the floor.
  • If you want to make this exercise harder, you can hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or plate in your hands.

4. Box Jumps

If you are looking for an explosive movement guaranteed to make you break a sweat to melt those love handles away, try box jumps! 

This is a great move to be included in a HIIT workout or to finish your gym session off with.

Equipment Requirements

Box 

How-To Perform Box Jumps

  1. Find a box or step of an appropriate height. 
  2. Stand in front of the box with your toes facing it. 
  3. Come down into a squat as you bring your arms behind you. 
  4. Push up through your heels and swing your arms forward as you jump onto the box. 
  5. Pause when you are on it, and then either step or jump back down onto the floor.

Benefits

  • Challenges the lower body
  • Improves core strength

Pro Tips

  • If box jumps are too advanced for you at the moment, start with simply stepping up onto the box at a fast pace to get your heart pumping.
  • Be sure to focus on bringing your knees up to your chest when jumping onto the box to help prevent you from clipping your toes on the edge.

5. Kettlebell Swings

Work your whole body with these kettlebell swings! Whether you work out at home or the gym, you can perform this killer exercise with minimal equipment.

Equipment Requirements

Kettlebell 

How-To Perform Kettlebell Swings

  1. Hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of your body. 
  2. Squat down and bring the kettlebell back between your legs. 
  3. Push your hips forward as you come back to standing and swing the kettlebell up until your arms are parallel to the floor. 
  4. As the kettlebell naturally falls back toward your body, squat back down again and repeat the motion.

Benefits

  • Strengthens your abdominals
  • Works both your upper and lower body

Pro Tips

  • Keep your back straight and chest up for the duration of this movement.
  • Try to do as many reps as you can per set to amp up the intensity.

6. Burpees

Burpees alone can feel like a full-body workout, so they will be sure to help you with losing love handles! 

Use these in a superset to take your workout to the next level.

Equipment Requirements

None

How-To Perform Burpees

  1. Start in a standing position. 
  2. Squat down and place your hands on the floor. 
  3. Jump your feet back to get into a plank position. 
  4. Jump your feet back up to the squat, and stand up.

Benefits

  • Burns lots of calories
  • Challenges the whole body

Pro Tips

  • To work your upper body more, try adding a push-up in the plank position.
  • You can add a tuck jump at the end if you want to up the calories burned and challenge your lower body more.

7. Woodchoppers

This dynamic abdominal exercise is sure to help with defining your core and helping you build strength in the area. Include these at the end of a workout or as part of your ab routine!

Equipment Requirements

One dumbbell

How-To Perform Woodchoppers

  1. Start in a standing position while holding the end of a dumbbell with both hands. 
  2. Bring the dumbbell up to one side above your shoulder so that your arms are in a diagonal line. 
  3. Keeping your arms straight, bring the dumbbell down to chest level and then by your hip on the opposing side. 
  4. Bring the dumbbell back up to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat for reps on the other side.

Benefits

  • Challenges the obliques
  • Works the arms

Pro Tips

  • You can also perform this exercise with a kettlebell or cable machine.
  • Try to do the movement as slowly as possible for maximum effects.

8. Side Plank Hip Lifts

Side plank hip lifts are one of the best exercises to lose love handles because it allows you to really define your obliques to improve the appearance of the area where you may deal with love handles. 

The exercise is also great for improving core strength and balance. 

Equipment Requirements

None

How-To Perform Side Plank Hip Lifts

  1. Lay on your side with your feet stacked. 
  2. Place your forearm and palm flat on the ground with your shoulder directly over your elbow. 
  3. Put your other hand on your hip, and lift your hip off the ground. 
  4. Pause at the top before slowly lowering back down to the floor.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the core
  • Improves balance

Pro Tips

  • You can try stacking your knees rather than your feet if this variation is too difficult.
  • Try holding a dumbbell on your hip if you need added resistance.

9. Planks

The plank is a classic abdominal exercise that also challenges the entire body. Performing these is great for improving stability and balance, and they can be incorporated into any workout!

Equipment Requirements

None

How-To Perform Planks

  1. Come onto the floor and get on your hands and feet with your arms fully extended. 
  2. Your entire body should form a straight line with your shoulders directly above your hands and your gaze on the ground. 
  3. Hold this position for a predetermined amount of time.

Benefits

  • Promotes stability in the body
  • Strengthens your core

Pro Tips

  • You can try performing planks on your elbows to see if it is more comfortable for you.
  • Focus on pulling your belly button up to prevent your lower back from caving.

10. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers can be used for both burning calories and strengthening your abs, so they are a great addition to a love handle workout!

Equipment Requirements

None

How-To Perform Mountain Climbers

  1. Get into a plank position on your hands with your body in a straight line. 
  2. Bring one knee into your chest, then bring it back to its starting position as you bring your other knee into your chest. 
  3. Continue to alternate legs in an explosive manner.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the core
  • Improves cardiovascular health

Pro Tips

  • Try going slow at first if you find being explosive too difficult.
  • Be sure to maintain a straight back and keep your gaze on the floor in front of you for proper form.

Best Love Handle Workout Program

love handles workout program

Beginner

  • Monday – Upper Body Workout
  • Tuesday – Workout #1
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – Workout #1
  • Saturday – Lower Body Workout
  • Sunday – Rest Day

Workout #1

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Woodchoppers310-121 minute 
Russian Twists312-151 minute
Burpees210-1230 seconds
Mountain Climbers215-2030 seconds

Advanced 

  • Monday – Workout #1
  • Tuesday – Upper Body Workout
  • Wednesday – Lower Body Workout
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – Workout #2
  • Saturday – Full Body Workout
  • Sunday – Rest Day

Workout #1

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Woodchoppers410-1230 seconds
Kettlebell Swings312-1530 seconds
Burpees310-1230 seconds
Hanging Leg Raises210-1230 seconds
Side Plank Hip Lifts212-1530 seconds

Workout #2

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Battle Rope Waves415-2030 seconds
Mountain Climbers315-2030 seconds
Russian Twists315-2030 seconds
Side Plank Hip Lifts210-1230 seconds
Plank245 seconds30 seconds

Frequently Asked Questions

What exercise is best for love handles?

While it is the cardio movements that will help burn the fat that creates your love handles in the first place, it’s helpful to focus on exercises that shape your obliques. 

A few examples of these great love handle exercises are side plank hip lifts and Russian twists!

How can I lose my love handles fast?

It’s no use to have unrealistic expectations about transforming your physique. Being consistent with healthy habits can help you lose your love handles – and keep them off.

Perform exercises to lose love handles one to two times per week and eat in a caloric deficit to see the fat melt off!

Can you shape your love handles?

When someone “shapes” their love handles, they are really just burning the fat stored in that area. After this process is complete, they can then strengthen their obliques with exercises for love handles to create a stronger and more attractive core area.

Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed my workouts for love handles! I know it can be frustrating to carry extra fat on your abdominal area and hips. It’s one of the most common body complaints among a lot of people, especially women.

But with the right love handles exercises and a caloric deficit, you’ll be feeling more confident than ever.

Better yet, you can lower your risk for certain diseases. That’s far more valuable than looking good in some clothes.

Follow the love handles workout guide and commit to performing both high-intensity exercises and moves that target your core to see efficient results that you can enjoy long-term. 

Doing this in combination with eating right is sure to get you to where you want to be! 

Please comment below your favorite love handle ab workout, and don’t forget to share this with anyone you know who may benefit!