Nobody likes having ‘love handles’. Just the name alone makes some of us shiver a bit because it implies that we have enough flab on our side to constitute handles and that people have to love us to put up with them. Sure, the term probably isn’t meant that way but that is often how it is taken.
So what can you do about it?
Along with performing regular cardiovascular exercise to reduce fat and following a well-balanced diet you need to make sure that your abdominal training includes specific oblique exercises that target the oblique muscles. These muscles on the side of the body are important for stabilization, rotating the torso and helping create that sexy V-shape torso that so many people want.
The Best Oblique Exercises
Ideally you want to use multi-functional exercises that hit a muscle from multiple angles if possible. So in this list we have some oblique exercises that hit just that section of the muscle and a few others that hit more than one area. Make sure that you are using one or more of these gems with each abdominal workout to ensure that your entire core is strong and balanced. An imbalance in any muscle group can easily lead to muscle strains and also looks odd.
Oblique Static Holds – This is a killer exercise. Lie on your side with ankles touching and your arms crossed over your chest. Perform an oblique crunch by simultaneously lifting your shoulders off the ground and your ankles and knees by contracting your side. Then you simply hold that position. Start by aiming for a 30 second hold and then work up to 60 seconds. Don’t forget to do the other side as well After you can get to 60 seconds slip a 5 pound weight plate between your ankles and hold another one to your chest. You can later work up to a 10 pound plate for each.
Side Planks – This is a basic exercise which is great for the core but especially the oblique muscles. Start on your side with your feet crossed so they are both touching the ground. Prop your upper body up on your elbow with your forearm flat on the ground underneath your shoulder. Keep your body flat as a plank from head to your feet and hold for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Then switch sides.
Decline Twisting Crunches – This is one of the best oblique exercises that is very multi-functional. Sit on a decline bench with your arms together in front of your body. Keep your back flat and slowly lean back until your body is parallel to the floor. Now slowly twist to the right as far as you can comfortably, return to center, and then twist to the left. Next, return to center and crunch up to a sitting position. If it becomes too easy hold a medicine ball for added resistance.
Woodchopper – This is a great core exercise that stresses the sides. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bench. Hold a light dumbbell with both hands over your right shoulder like it is an axe. Swing down to chop on the outside of your left foot and stop when your right elbow touches your left knee. Chop for 30 seconds to each side then work up to 60 seconds before increasing the weight of the dumbbell.
Twisting Cable Crunches – Use a rope handle attachment on a high pulley in cross-over station. Kneel down so the pulley is to one side of you because you will crunch away from it. Hold the handles behind your head. From here crunch forward and twist so that the elbow closest to the pulley touches your knee furthest from the pulley. Exhale sharply as you crunch all the way down. Start with light weight to get the feel and proper positioning. Everyone is slightly different based on body mechanics and how adjustable the pulley is.
There you have it, some fantastic oblique exercises that will pound those ‘love handles’ into toned muscle that you can quickly dub your ‘sexy sides’.