What causes love handles and 7 exercises to get rid of them

Spare tire, beer belly, tummy fat and muffin top are a few terms used to address belly fat or abdominal fat. One more such term is love handles. When fat accumulates on the sides of the waistline and hangs over pants or skirts, it is known as love handles. It is not dangerous but can be challenging to lose. Love handles are obvious signs of obesity and being overweight, which can also increase the risk of certain medical conditions. So, it would be a good idea to make efforts and get rid of the side bulge with the right food and exercise.

What are love handles?

Love handles are the extra pockets of fat and skin that often form around your hips, waist and abdomen. You must be wondering why it is called love handles. Well, because an individual’s partner or loved one will often embrace them around the hips and waist, much like holding someone’s hand. Hence, fat accumulated in these areas known as love handles. This fat, often known as muffin top, can be a bit stubborn and may not go away easily.

What causes love handles?

Love handles are often a result of consuming more calories in your diet than your body needs, especially when those extra calories come from unhealthy foods. When you consume more calories than you burn through physical activity, your body stores the extra calories as fat. Over time, this fat tends to accumulate around the waist and hips, leading to the appearance of love handles. Lack of exercise can also be the biggest contributor to it.

belly fat
Your unhealthy lifestyle is to blame for weight gain. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

Other factors, such as genetics, hormonal imbalance, and age, can also play a role in the development of love handles. Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, can also make it difficult for people to burn extra calories, resulting in weight gain, particularly fat accumulation around the hips or waist.

Also read: We got a yoga guru to recommend 7 easy-breezy yoga poses to get rid of those love handles

How to get rid of love handles?

To lose love handles, it is important to follow an exercise regime. Here are 7 best exercises to reduce love handles:

1. Bicycle crunch

This exercise can help burn the fat in your overall body including your waist and hips.

How to perform it:

  • Lie on your back with your hands behind your head.
  • Lift your legs, bent at 90 degrees.
  • Alternate touching your elbow to the opposite knee.
  • Extend the other leg straight.
  • Continue in a pedaling motion, engaging core muscles.
    Repeat for desired reps to strengthen your abs.
bicycle crunches
All variations of crunches are perfect for losing belly fat! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Side plank

Side planks are good for arms, legs, and ab muscles. It targets the muscles particularly around your side, which makes it an efficient workout for love hands.

How to perform it:

  • Start by lying on your side with your legs straight and feet stacked.
  • Place your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and prop your body up.
  • Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from head to heels.
  • Hold for a set amount of time, then switch sides.
  • Ensure proper alignment and engage your core muscles throughout the exercise for maximum effectiveness and safety.
side plank
Try this plank pose! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Mountain climber

Mountain climbers are a dynamic full-body exercise that helps burn calories and tighten oblique muscles.

How to perform it:

  • Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Keep your core engaged, bring one knee towards your chest, then switch to the other knee in a quick, alternating motion.
  • Maintain a steady pace for a cardio and core workout.
  • Ensure proper form to prevent injury and maximize benefits.
Mountain climber
Try mountain climber to lose belly fat. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Russian twist

The Russian twist is perfect for losing love handles as it targets obliques, abdominal muscles, and quadricep muscles.

How to perform it:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat.
  • Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight and engaging your core.
  • Clasp your hands together in front of you, or hold a weight or medicine ball.
  • Lift your feet off the ground, balancing on your sitting bones.
  • Twist your torso to the right, bringing the object or your hands close to the floor.
  • Return to the center and repeat the twist to the left.
  • Continue alternating sides for the desired number of reps to work your obliques effectively.
Russian Twist to burn belly fat
Exercising will help you burn fat. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Dumbbell side bend

This exercise helps strengthen obliques, contributing to a slimmer waistline.

How to perform it:

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Keep your back straight and your core engaged.
  • Slowly bend at the waist to the side opposite the dumbbell, keeping the dumbbell close to your thigh.
  • Return to the upright position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side to target your obliques and strengthen your core.
Dumbbell sets
Dumbbell workout is the best to lose fat. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

6. Squat

Squats are excellent full-body exercise that helps in building lower body strength and overall fat loss, including love handles.

How to perform it:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Engage your core and keep your back straight.
  • Lower your body by bending your knees and hips.
  • Keep your knees aligned with your feet, not going past your toes.
  • Go as low as your flexibility allows or until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Push through your heels to stand back up.
  • Repeat for desired reps.
Squats for love handles
Squats can help you strengthen your lower body. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Burpee

This high-intensity exercise combines strength training and cardio workout that promotes fat burn and reduces love handles.

How to perform it:

  • Start by standing upright, then squat down and place your hands on the ground.
  • Kick your feet back into a push-up position, perform a push-up, then bring your feet back to the squat position.
  • Finally, explosively jump up, reaching your arms overhead.
  • Repeat this sequence for a challenging full-body workout.
burpees for fat loss
Try burpees for quick fat loss! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Other tips to reduce love handles

Here are 7 lifestyle tips that you should follow to lose love handles:

1. Focus on a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excessive sugar and processed foods.

2. Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating, which can lead to weight gain. Take smaller meals and eat a variety of foods.

3. Apart from the exercises mentioned above, incorporate cardio workouts like jogging, cycling, or dancing to burn more calories and reduce overall body fat.

4. Strength training is a must when you are trying to lose weight. It can help build muscle, which can help boost metabolism and shape your waistline.

5. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, which can help control cravings and support overall health.

Health benefits of drinking water
Keep yourself hydrated. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

6. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to aid in weight management and reduce stress.

Also read: Here’s how to do lateral running to get rid of your love handles

7. Practice meditation or yoga to manage stress levels, as stress can lead to weight gain.

So ladies, incorporate these exercises into your daily workout routine and follow a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce love handles. Remember, spot reduction is not possible, but weight loss is. These exercises can help you lose overall body fat, including the fat around the hips, waist, and abdomen. So, it requires consistency and patience, so stay committed to your fitness goals.

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