LET’S FACE IT…there is nothing more aging nor unsightly than lumpy bulging love handles. Still there is hope as HEALTH takes a closer look at key exercises that can effectively banish your love handles and give you the flatter abs you’ve always dreamed of.
What Are They?
Love handles, tells Christopher Nganga, Fitness Manager at The Body & Soul Health Club, are essentially layers of fat that form around the sides of the body just above the waistline. He elaborates, “They look like rings or tyres and they round all the way to meet the belly fat.” Basically love handles are prominent in men and women and even in women at the age of 26 who have no exercise routine can also have these. Also, Nganga tells that after child bearing, most women develop them. Men develop them at 30 when their metabolism begins to slow down. Also almost all men with weight issues have love handles since men’s main fat deposit area is the belly. “Genetics, diet and age play an important role on how some people have more than others,” he says.
Nganga stresses that it is of utmost important to note that the following exercises DO NOT get rid of love handles. “They only serve to strengthen the muscle around the love handles,” he says and the bottom line is that to get rid of love handles, cardio routines are important along with balanced diet.
How to Do It: Twists are extremely powerful whilst targeting the external and internal oblique’s which are the muscles targeted towards burning the fat/love handles. Twists are done standing upright facing the mirror and with your feet in the same position, twist your torso to the left and your head should face the left shoulder and repeat in the opposite direction.
How to Do It: Laying flat on your back with your hands by your ears, elevate your legs to a 90-degree angle, next, bring your left knee towards your chest and twist your right elbow to meet it. Repeat this on the other side. Also, as you bring one leg in, stretch the other one straight out.
Progression – Twists with weights
Hold a weighted disc in your hands, ideally one with grips. Twist your torso in both directions using the same technique above but with weights. The twister in gyms can also be used to target this muscle.
How to Do It: Using one arm, either your forearm or your hand, line it up beneath your armpit and stack your feet on top of one another. Ideally, you want to create a “T” shape with your body.
How to Do It: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees into a squat position. Using a kettle bell or weights, bring your weights in front of you with your arms forward and bring them back slowly.
The Hula Hoop
How to Do It: A fun exercise that really tones up that troublesome love handle area is using a hula hoop. Swivel your hips while maneuvering the hoop higher and lower up and down the column of your waist area. After a while you can really feel your oblique muscles kicking in, which means that you are starting to have some effect on strengthening the muscles below the love handles area.
Stability Ball Plank
How to Do It: Using a stability ball, place your elbows and forearms on the ball. After you regain your balance, try to hold a plank position for two to five minutes.
The PT’s Advice:
- Getting rid of love handles in simple words is losing excess weight. Ensure that your weight loss regimen begins in the kitchen and then moves to the gym.
- Choose a sustainable diet plan. If you plan to lose 10 kilos in a month and even manage to achieve it, you need to check whether that is fat loss or just water weight which may be easier to lose and regain.
- Cardio needs to be balanced with a good measure of weight resistance training. Stronger muscles will ensure that the fat storage area – the bulge on the hips is burning away at a faster rate even when you are resting!
- Work logically around your day to day meals. And remember that every individual has their own dietary preferences. You should select what suits you and what you are able to sustain. Potion control is the key.
- Before you eat, ask yourself what you are about to do. if you just woke up and you have a long day, carbohydrates would be a good choice. One full plate of biryani will do you more good than harm. If on the other hand, you are sitting down in the evening to eat dinner, then watch TV before bed, that same plate of biryani or any form of carbohydrate will be converted to fat and stored at your love handles since your body does not require carbohydrates or any energy giving food to sleep.