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July 29, 2021 9 min read

Are you a guy who is dealing with embarrassing love handles?  Are you tired of feeling horrible about your abdominal fat and want to get rid of it fast?  If so, then we have the solution!

We are sharing our top 5 exercises for getting rid of love handles.  Each exercise was picked because it specifically targets the abdominal area, blasts away fat, and builds strong muscle in the process.

If you're ready to say goodbye to your love handles, then give our favorite love handle-melting exercises a try!

Get Rid of Love Handles (And Keep Them Away)

There is a specific and straightforward strategy to getting rid of love handles (also known as a muffin top).

It involves three key tactics, including:

  • Doing the right exercises
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Making other healthy lifestyle changes

Concept for fitness, exercising and diet

If you combine these three tactics, you will melt away your love handles and improve your entire physique in no time. Here is more about the three tactics you must follow to get rid of your love handles!

Do the Best Exercises

First off, you must incorporate the right exercises into your workout plan. And, in the world of getting rid of love handles, not all exercises are created equal. Don't waste your time on ineffective ones that won't get you the results you want!

The perfect exercises for getting rid of love handles have one of the following (or both) benefits:

  1. They burn belly fat
  2. They sculpt ripped abs and obliques

First off, love handles are pure body fat. The easiest way to get rid of body fat is to do high-intensity cardio that burns a ton of calories in a short amount of time.  Shedding fat is the first step in revealing a sculpted midsection.

Second, underneath your belly fat, you want to have lean muscles. Therefore, do strength-training exercises that build pure muscle mass. Then, once your fat melts away, you will reveal a completely tight and toned tummy.

Each of our top five exercises either helps to burn fat or (and) build muscles.   Even better, all of them can be incorporated into your at-home workout routine!  You don't even need to go to the gym to get rid of your love handles!

Follow a Healthy Diet

Next up, following a healthy diet will help you get rid of and keep your love handles at bay. The ideal diet will have a few particular components to it, including:

  • Having the right amount of calories for you
  • Plenty of protein for muscle building

First off, you need to eat the right amount of calories. Eating too many will result in a build-up of body fat in your waistline. On the other hand, eating too few calories won't help you build tight abdominal muscles. Therefore, the first place to start is figuring out how many calories you need per day.

Second, you also need to make sure that your diet includes enough protein. Each of our top exercises to get rid of love handles burns a ton of calories and builds a lot of muscle. That makes getting enough protein every day crucial to success!

Upgrade Your Lifestyle

Last but not least, if you want to upgrade your body, you need to upgrade your lifestyle. That means ditching old unhealthy habits and replacing them with healthier ones. A few common unhealthy habits that are detrimental to success include:

Do not underestimate the power that a healthy lifestyle can have on your goals. Upgrade your life, and your love handles will go away sooner! Now without further ado, here are our five favorite exercises for getting rid of love handles!

1. Side Planks

Perhaps the best exercise for getting rid of love handles is the side plank. Unlike the regular plank position that targets your middle abs and core, side planks target your obliques on the sides of your abs. Tight obliques snatch in your waist and give you that ripped-core look.

The other great thing about side planks is that there are so many variations. You could do an entire workout routine of just different side plank positions. Here are some of the top side plank variations:

  • Thread the needles
  • Raised side plank
  • Side leg crunch
  • Side plank lateral leg raise

These are just four of the best side plank variations. There are countless others that you can try. However, if you are just getting started, here is how to do the original side plank with proper form:

  1. Start on all fours on a soft, flat surface. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  1. When you're ready, send your legs backward to get into a regular plank position, balancing on your toes and the palms of your hands. Create one long line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  1. When you're ready, exhale, lift your left hand up towards the sky, twist your torso open to the left side, and pivot your feet so that your toes point to the left. The right side of your core and hips should be facing the floor.
  1. Engage the right side of your core to keep your hips pressed high in the air. Do not let your hips drop!

To make side planks effective, you must keep your hips lifted high in the air. Keeping your hips lifted forces you to keep your obliques engaged. But, how long should you hold a side plank?

What amount of time is not enough, and how much time is too much time? To get an idea of how long you should hold your side plank for, check out our  complete guide to planks!

2. Russian Twists

Next up, Russian twists are a classic strength training exercise for building stronger obliques, abs, and lower spine. Yes, Russian twists help strengthen your spine!

Russian twists require you to balance on your tailbone while performing a complex movement. To achieve that balance, you need to hold the front and back sides of your core tight.

Most people don't even realize that their core also includes their lower back. The backside core muscles are the:

  • Pelvic floor muscles
  • Erector spinae
  • Multifidus
  • Hip flexors

Moreover, Russian twists help sculpt lean muscles in your entire core, including the front and back sides! Therefore, they are ideal for blasting away abdominal fat.

Before getting started, you will need to grab a medicine ball, weight plate, or a dumbbell.  If you are an ab exercise beginner, you can opt-out of using a piece of equipment.

Here is how to do Russian twists with proper form:

  1. Sit in a pike position on a flat surface. Hold the medicine ball, weight plate, or dumbbell at chest level.  If you are not using a weight, hold your hands together in a fist.
  1. Pull your feet in towards your glutes so that your knees bend to a 90-degree angle. Lean your upper body back about 45-degrees. Be sure to keep your back completely straight as you lean back!
  1. Lift your feet off the floor so that you balance on your tailbone.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and twist your upper body to the right so that the medicine ball, weight, or your hands tap the floor. While your upper body twists, make sure that your hips and lower body stay facing forward!
  1. Inhale to untwist your spine and come back to the center. Then, exhale and twist to the left.
  1. Repeat! Keep twisting back and forth to the right and left sides! One rep is equal to one twist on each side.  Do between ten and twelve reps, take a short break, then do two to three more sets!

One common mistake people make with Russian twists is hunching their back.  Hunching not only hurts your back but also takes some of the work off of your oblique muscles. 

Therefore, only do as many reps as you can while keeping your back straight.  Once your back begins to hunch, then stop and change to a new exercise!

3. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers have the double benefit of strengthening your core while burning body fat. They challenge your core muscles and boost your heart rate, making them perfect for building a lean and toned midsection!

Mountain climbers combine planks with running. The plank carves out the abdominal muscles while the running blasts belly fat. They're the perfect exercise to lose your love handles or muffin top in no time.

The idea is to make it look like you are climbing a mountain, but the floor is your mountain! Here is how to do mountain climbers with proper form:

  1. Start in a traditional plank position on your hands and toes. Create a straight line from your head to your heels.  Make sure that your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and pull your right knee in towards your chest. Hold it in for one second, then inhale and step your right foot back to the plank. Make sure to keep your back flat as you pull your knee into the chest. Do not lift your glutes in the air!
  1. Exhale and pull your left knee in towards your chest. Hold it in for one second, then exhale and step your left foot back to the plank.

Keep alternating between your left and right feet. Once you get the hang of the movement, start running your feet in and out, rather than stepping them back and forth. The faster you run your feet, the higher your heart rate goes. The higher your heart rate, the more excess fat you burn.

4. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches might be the best abdominal area muscle-building exercise! They target every muscle in your torso, including the deep and surface layer muscles.  The deep core muscles include the:

  • Rectus abdominis (creates the washboard look)
  • Transverse abdominis 
  • Internal obliques

Asian Athlete muscle man doing bicycle crunch

The transverse abdominis is a muscle deep within the core. Very few exercises other than bicycle crunches penetrate that deep into the core region.  It is one of the most important muscles in your entire body to keep strong for several reasons, including:

  • Stabilizes the core region and spine during exercise and while at rest
  • Holds your lower back up straight (perfects posture and prevents back pain and injuries)
  • Coordinates complicated body movements

Moreover, having a strong transverse abdominis is essential if you want to have an overall strong body.

Here is how to do bicycle crunches with proper form:

  1. Lay flat on your back with your legs extended and arms by your sides.
  1. Lift both legs into a tabletop position, hover your shoulders and head above the floor, and lace your fingers behind your neck.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and extend your left leg while pulling your right knee in towards your chest and twisting the left side of your upper body to the right. Your right knee should touch your left elbow.
  1. Once your opposite knee and elbow touch, inhale and untwist the left side of your upper body while placing your left and right legs back into tabletop position.
  1. When you're ready, exhale and extend your right leg while pulling your left knee in towards your chest and twisting the right side of your body to the left. Your left knee should touch your right elbow.

  2. ​Once your left knee and right elbow touch, untwist your upper body and return your legs to a tabletop position.
  1. Repeat! Once you get the hand of the movement down, speed the exercise up a bit!


Last but not least, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout rather than an exercise. But, it is so effective for weight loss and belly fat loss that we had to include it on this list.

HIIT is so fantastic for fat burning because it increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). When you exercise, your body needs more oxygen for energy, which causes your metabolism to increase. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories.

Moreover, the more intense your workout, the more oxygen your body consumes. And, the more oxygen your body consumes, the higher your metabolism goes and the more calories you burn.

Every workout causes your body to consume extra oxygen while you are exercising. However, HIIT causes your body to use up a ton of extra oxygen even long after you finish exercising. As a result, your metabolism stays high, and you burn more calories in the hours after you complete your workout. 

This is an example of EPOC in action!  Few workout types cause EPOC to increase more than HIIT. Therefore, HIIT helps you burn calories both during and for hours after you finish exercising! That is an exercise bargain.

There are several different ways to practice HIIT. One of the most popular is Tabata. A single Tabata set looks like this:

  1. 20 seconds of exercise
  2. 10-second break
  3. Repeat seven more times!

We suggest making Tabata a full-body workout and a mix of cardiovascular and resistance exercises. For example, for your first set, do a bodyweight exercise such as push-ups.

Then, for your second set, do a cardio exercise like jumping jacks. Mixing resistance with cardio workouts will help burn fat the fastest. To get started doing HIIT today, check out our complete guide to Tabata!

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of love handles is simple and straightforward when you do our favorite love handle-melting exercises! 

Coupled with a healthy diet and incorporating healthy lifestyle changes, your love handles will vanish in no time. Say goodbye to your love handles right now, then get to work!

Bonus tip: Want to give HIIT a try for getting rid of love handles?  Then check out our 12 favorite HIIT exercises for burning calories and building muscle!