The name ‘love handles’ is a misnomer. Nobody loves love handles. On the contrary, those with love handles are in a hurry to get rid of them.
In case you are not familiar with the term, love handles refer to the excess fat that accumulates above the hip bone. Variously nicknamed as side tires or muffin tops, they add an extra layer to the torso. Love handles not only make you buy the next size in jeans, they take a toll on your health, too. You can blame them on junk food, but stress, lack of sleep, improper diet, too much sugar intake and irregular meal timings are also to blame.
Getting rid of love handles is not an easy task but it is achievable. You don’t need a gym membership, lift crazy weights or undergo major cleansing diets, although all these can be quite effective. There is a simpler way out. A small change in lifestyle, indoor exercises and some mindful diet changes can get rid of these much-hated appendages.
Read on to see how you can get rid of love handles easily at home.
1. Standard crunches
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees with feet placed on the floor. Place your hands behind your head so that the elbows are jutting out. Lift your head and use the abdominal muscles to crunch your body forward. Your shoulder blades, neck and head should lift off the floor. Your hands should not push the head forward. Ensure that the feet don’t move much on the floor. Hold in that position for a second or two and return to your original position. Start with ten to fifteen repetitions in a set and increase gradually.
2. Bicycle crunches
Lie flat on your back and lift your legs with thighs perpendicular to the ground. Place your hands behind your neck with fingers interlocked. Now lift your head, use abdominal muscles to crunch forward, and touch your left knee with your right elbow. It is regular crunches with a twist and has a direct impact on the abdominal muscles. Start with ten repetitions in a set and increase your count gradually.
3. Side plank with leg lifts
Lie down on your side and keep your knee, hip and hand in a straight line. Prop up with your elbow and maintain a rigid pose. Now, extend your other arm towards the ceiling and hold that position for few seconds. This is a side plank. If and when you wish for a more challenging version, lift the leg that is on the top and hold that position along with your raised hand for a few seconds. Start with five seconds and gradually increase up to fifteen seconds. Do four to five sets with ten-second breaks in between.
4. Knee drop
Lie down flat with your abs tucked in. Extend your arms sidewise and lift your legs off the ground, bent at knees. Hold a medium sized ball between your knees. This engages both your inner thigh muscles and lower abs at the same time. Gradually drop your knees to the right side. Ensure that the top part of your body is rigid and does not move with your knees. Breathe out and pull your knees back to centre. Breathe in and repeat the process for your left side. Start with three sets of ten repetitions each and gradually increase the number of sets.
5. Russian twists
Sit on the floor with your feet down and knees slightly bent. Hold your hands out in the front with fingers entwined. Lean back approximately 45 degrees and twist your body side to side from waist up. You can also do this by holding a 1 kg or 2 kg dumbbell. Unlike in crunches where your spine is flat on the floor, here you hold your spine off the floor thus working your lower back muscles.
6. Leg flutters
Lie down flat on your back. Lift your legs off the floor, ensure they are straight and kick them in the air up and down alternately, i.e., move your left leg up and right leg down. Do this fast for at least ten seconds in the beginning. Gradually increase the timing.
7. Standing twist trunks
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Keep the knees relaxed and twist your trunk to the right. While doing so, make sure hips and legs are stable. While twisting, punch the air with the left arm. While you are twisting to the left side, punch with your right hand. Do 25 repetitions of each set for a start.
8. Side bends with dumbbells
If you don’t have dumbbells at home, you can use any heavy book or small buckets filled with water to do this exercise. Stand straight with your legs shoulder width apart. Bend sideways without bending your knees or hips. Repeat this alternatively on both the sides.
Jogging and bicycling can also be incorporated into your schedule. They work your hip and thigh muscles and tone down those areas. If you are too busy to jog outside, jog in the same place inside your house or even your office.
Click on the next page to learn 6 diet changes that you can make to help you get rid of those love handles!