The Secret Workout to Lose Love Handles and Belly Fat, Says a Top Trainer

Love handle workout
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One of the most challenging parts of your body to lose fat from is likely your belly. Your belly fat, also known as muffin top or love handles is excess abdominal fat that accumulates deep under your skin and near your organs in your abs.

While this is a stubborn type of body fat that can be challenging to lose, there are basic steps you can take to get rid of it.

The most effective steps involve following a healthy diet and adding strength training to your regular workouts.

To take it up a notch, add high-intensity strength training workouts to burn fat and tone up.

One best ways to incorporate high-intensity training with strength workouts is to use compound moves. They are exercises that combine multiple moves and hit several large muscle groups at once.

You perform these exercises with little to no rest in between, you’ll have a high-intensity routine that’ll melt fat like no other.

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What Are Love Handles?

10-Minute Love Handle Workout

Love handles are the excess belly fat that sits on top of your jeans. They go by many names like muffin tops, spare tires, and breadbaskets for their resemblance to them.

What makes up this fat is the outer layer of pinchable subcutaneous fat that’s directly under the skin and the under layer of fat called visceral fat.

Losing the appearance of love handles takes a reduction of both types of fat, not just the subcutaneous fat that’s pinchable and under your skin.

It takes workouts and also a healthy diet to reduce both layers of belly fat to start seeing the shrinkage in love handles.

The Best Love Handle Workout to Get Rid Of Your Muffin Top

The Best Love Handle Workout to Get Rid Of Your Muffin Top

Here are 10 of the top exercises that target your entire body, focusing on the abdominal area of your body. 

The important thing to remember here is that you need to tailor the number of reps of each exercise to your personal level of fitness for the best results. 

If you’re a beginner, start with a lower number of repetitions and sets. This is a great way to get comfortable with the following exercises. 

1. Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a fun exercise that really lights up your entire body. 

  • Start with your feet hip-width distance apart. Keep a straight spine as you grip the kettlebell. Squeeze your shoulder blades and engage your core. 
  • Drive through your heels, extending through your hips as you swing the bell upward to chest height, arms extended. Squeeze your glutes. 
  • As the weight swings down, prepare for the next swing. Let the kettlebell swing between your legs. Repeat 3 sets of 10 each.

2. Burpees

Burpees are a compound movement exercise and can be broken into 3 steps completed one after the other. 

  • Start standing at the top of your mat, feet shoulder-width distance apart. The first step is a squat.
  • Lower down, bending at the knees. Place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders.
  • The next step is to hop back, straightening your legs and landing in a pushup position.
  • Do 1 pushup. Step 3 is to hop your feet back to the starting position. Push off through your legs and jump into the air, arms overhead.
  • This is 1 repetition. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps. 

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training or HIIT workouts are a combination of high-intensity bursts paired with a short recovery period. 

They’re typically around 30 minutes in length and are a quick way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

To begin, figure out the ratio that works best for you. For example, a 1:1 ratio means your work and recoveries are the same amount of time, say 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. A 1:2 ratio is also popular for burning fat. 

During your work interval, you will go as hard and as fast as you can while maintaining proper form for whichever exercise you choose. 

Then rest for your determined time before starting to work again. Typically, these intervals last approximately 5 minutes. 

4. Dumbbell Squats to Press 

Dumbbell Squats to Press

Target your glutes, thighs, abdominals, arms, and shoulders (specifically your traps) in this full-body sculpting and fat-burning exercise. 

  • Start with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, feet shoulder-width distance apart. 
  • Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Press through your feet as you stand, arms continuing up over your head.
  • Your biceps should be by your ears. Lower the weights, returning to the starting position. Repeat 3 sets of 10 each. 

5. Dynamic Plank

Dynamic Plank

Plank to pushup is a great exercise that works both your abs and your upper body. 

  • Start in a forearm plank, hips down, and core engaged. You want a straight line from the tip of your head to your heels. 
  • Keep your hips still as you push up with one arm, placing your hand where your elbow is on the mat. Repeat with your other hand, coming into the pushup position. 
  • Squeeze your glutes for stability as you reverse. Lower your first forearm back onto the mat, and then the other return to your forearm plank. 
  • Alternate which arm kicks off the movement. Repeat 3 sets of 10 reps. 

6. Lunge

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width distance apart. 
  • Step forward with your right foot. With your hands on your sides, lower down until there is a 90-degree angle in both legs. Press through your legs, returning up. Step your right foot back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat on the left side by stepping the left leg forward first. Alternate 10 – 12 reps on each leg. 

7. Side Plank with Arm Reach

Side planks work your side abs, known as your obliques and rectus abdominis.

  • To start, lay on your right side with your forearm on the ground, and elbow directly under your right shoulder.
  • Spread the fingers of your right hand wide creating a stable base. Keep your knees bent and stacked.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips and pelvis. Your body should create a straight line from the tip of your head to your knees.
  • Extend your left arm into the air, your left hand over your head, creating an arc without letting your hips dip. Squeeze your booty and pause. Return your body to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps on your right side. Switch to your left side. Complete the same number of reps and sets.

8. Bicycle Crunches

  • Start on your back. Lift your feet, keeping your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Support your neck by interlacing your hands behind your head.
  • Bring your right elbow to your left knee, twisting through the torso. Return to the starting position. Alternate, bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Don’t let your feet touch the floor. Complete for 15 to 20 reps.

9. Russian Twists

Abdominal Twists

The Russian Twist is one of my favorite oblique exercises that also targets your abs and hip flexors.

  • To do this twist, sit on your buttocks on an exercise mat. Bend at your knees and start to lean back until you feel your abdominals engage.
  • Lift your feet off of the floor, an option to cross at the ankles. Brace your core and find your balance.
  • Clasp your hands together at your chest. Twist your torso to the right, dropping your hands to the side. Return up and repeat on the left side. This is 1 rep. Repeat 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps.

To kick it up a notch, use a medicine ball or a hand weight. Start with the ball or weight in front of your chest. As you twist, bring the weight down on each side.

Another variation is the Mason Twist. The movement stays the same, however, you keep your legs straight.

10. Bird Dog

Strengthen your core and test your stability in the Bird Dog exercise.

  • Start in a tabletop position with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Engage your core as you lift your right arm and left at the same time. Reset into your tabletop and repeat on the other side by lifting your left arm and right leg.
  • Practice testing your stability by lifting only an inch or two to start. As you become stronger, you can eventually lift each arm and leg parallel to the ground. Complete 3 sets of the 10 – 15 reps.

To make this exercise further, you can add a crunch by connecting your elbow and knee underneath you.

10-Minute Love Handle Workout

Instructions: Do 3 sets of 15 reps of each move. Rest for 20 seconds before moving to the next exercise.

  • Burpees
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Dumbbell Squat to Press
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Side Plank with Arm Reach
  • Glute Bridges

There you have a quick 10-minute love handle workout that’ll help melt off the stubborn muffin top. Perform this workout 2-3 times per week for the best results.

Exercises for Love Handles: Cardio and Strength Training

Logically, you’d think burning calories with a sweaty cardio session seems like enough.

And while that is helpful, it’s so much more than that. You need to focus on strength training.

By building up the muscle underneath, these muscles will burn off the excess fat faster all over your body. Try resistance training!

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Jennifer Triplett, RYT, NASM CPT

Jennifer Triplett is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and Pilates mat instructor. She is a co-founder of Trillium Virtual Yoga and currently teaches online and in Dallas, Texas.

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