When it comes to getting rid of love handles, more often than not, whittling your middle comes down to better nutrition paired with ab exercises that target the obliques. CeCe Marizu, former Daily Burn 365 trainer, says, “It’s important to build up both your internal and external obliques because they create a force that builds strength to allow muscle to take over the fatty areas everyone calls their love handles.”
Sculpting your oblique muscles will not only give you a more defined midsection, it will also help stabilize your core and support your back. “Your external obliques will help your trunk rotate, while your internal obliques also help with rotation but on a deeper level,” Marizu explains.
Here’s the perfect workout to keep your sides in check and build total-core strength.
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7 Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles
What’s best about the oblique exercises below is that they target more than just your love handles. They strengthen your entire posterior chain, too. “Dynamic exercises, like spiderman push-ups and side planks with a reach through, help with your love handles by building muscle. A lot of times we can be neglectful of our side bodies,” Marizu says.
Perform each move for 30 seconds and then take a 30-second break for as many rounds as possible. Marizu recommends doing these exercises three to five days a week. “You don’t have to work long, but work smart,” Marizu says. That means putting a big emphasis on your diet. “Do your core work and show your love handles some love by eating right,” she says.
1. Side Planks with Reach Through
How to: Lie on your right side and place your right hand firmly on the ground. Engaging your core, prop yourself up into a side plank. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line (a). Extend your left arm towards the ceiling and then lower your arm in front of you and bring it under your right hip (b). Bring your left arm back above your head (c).
2. Spiderman Crunch
How to: Get into push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands (a). Lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower your body into a push-up. Be sure your hips don’t drop and your back doesn’t arch (b). Return your right foot back to the starting position as you push yourself back up (c). Repeat on the left side.
3. The Saw
How to: Sit up on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Spread them as wide as the mat (a). Form a “T” with your arms out to the sides and twist toward your right side, stretching your left hand toward your right foot. Pulse three times (b). Untwist yourself and return to center (c). Repeat on the left side.
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4. Crab Reach
How to: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground in front of you and your right hand firmly on the ground behind you. Keep your left arm bent by your side (a). Lift your butt off the floor while extending your left arm behind you, reaching for your right side as you come into a reverse tabletop (b). Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side (c).
5. Mountain Climbers Twist
How to: Place a plyo box in front of you and get into high plank position with both palms firmly on top of the box (a). With a flat back and abs engaged, lift your right foot and bring your right knee to your left elbow. Return to the starting position (b). Then, lift your left foot and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Return to the starting position, and continue alternating sides (c).
6. Side Plank with Knee Drive
How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right forearm. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line. Keep your left hand on your left hip (a). Engaging your core, drive your right knee up to your chest and repeat before switching to the other side (b).
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7. Giant Clam
How to: Place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU ball (a). Raise your body up into a side plank with your left leg straight out to the side, and your right leg behind you, bent at 45 degrees. Raise your right arm up overhead and keep your hips lifted (b). Bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your left leg straight (c).
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Originally posted on February 6, 2018. Updated on March 25, 2022
Cover image and GIFs by Daily Burn