You’ve tried situps, cardio, and dumbbell side bends, but nothing seems to help you lose love handles. Sound familiar? It might be time to change up your gym routine—or start a new one. That belly fat collecting around your torso is a key indicator of poor overall health. To get the best moves for a lean torso, we asked Sadik Hadzovic, an I.F.B.B. men’s physique professional, and Adam Rosante, strength and nutrition coach, for their 15 favorite exercises to shed love handles.
“This workout is effective because it’s fast paced and designed to target both the rectus abdominals and the transverse abdominals,” Hadzovic says. “To burn fat, you must do more then just crunches and situps; you need to recruit your entire body to enter a thermogenic state that leads to an accelerated rate of fat loss.” Complete your dream physique with these 15 moves that will carve up your core fast.
The Best Exercises to Help You Lose Love Handles
Do these exercises as a workout once a week, as well as adding individual exercises into your regular strength and conditioning routine. On other days, churn through high-intensity interval training three times a week. And stick to a clean diet.
1. Sledgehammer Overhead Strikes
Grab the sledgehammer with your left hand on the bottom and your right hand near the hammer. Raise the sledgehammer above your head and over your right shoulder, and then bring it down toward the center of a tire, similar to chopping wood. Switch sides.
2. Running Planks
Reps: 30 sec.
Perform the plank facedown on a mat with your feet together. Lift your hips off the ground and support your body weight on your forearms and toes, maintaining a neutral spine and a tight core.
Stand with the bar above the center of your feet – your stance should be a bit more narrow than shoulder width to give your arms room. Grab the bar overhand, bend through your knees until your shins hit the bar, which must remain above the middle of your feet. Keep your shoulder blades directly over the bar. Pull, keeping the bar close to your body, roll it over your knees and thighs until your hips and knees are locked.
4. Hanging Leg Raises
Grab a bar and just hang. Flex your abs and lats, slowly raise your feet up to the bar, remembering to keep your legs straight.
5. Battle Rope Waves
Reps: 30 sec.
Rest: 30 sec.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, your knees and hips slightly bent, and your core “locked in.” Grip the ends of the rope in both hands, allowing your arms to hang straight down at the center of your torso. Lower yourself into a half squat. In a single movement, explode your body upward, extending your knees and hips as you swing your arms up over your head. Immediately return to start and continue the movement
6. Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with both legs bent and feet on the ground. Extend arms straight out holding a weight or medicine ball. Lower your upper body back until your back is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Rotate your arms from side to side, twisting your upper body. Make sure not to lift or move your feet.
7. Box Jumps
Stand in an athletic position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, at a comfortable distance from the box. When you’re ready to jump, drop quickly into a quarter squat, then extend your hips, swing your arms, and push your feet through the floor to propel yourself onto the box.
8. Kettlebell Swing
Stand up straight, with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Grab hold of the handle with both hands, keeping your palms facedown and arms in front of the body. Maintain a slight bend to the knee and drive the hips back, lowering the body – but not too low, this isn’t a squat. Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, keeping the glutes and core engaged.
9. Kneeling Vacuum
Reps: 60 sec.
Kneel on the floor and sit back with your butt on your heels. Place hands on the sides of your legs. Pull your shoulders back then pull your abs in as if trying to touch your belly button to your spine. Hold the vacuum for 20 or more seconds, then maintain the contraction for 1 to 2 seconds, alternating contractions and releases.
10. Jumping Burpee
Start standing with your feet together. Bend at the knees and waist and place the palms of your hands on the ground. Kick your feet backward so that you are in a plank position. Kick your feet back in, stand back up, and immediately jump in the air. Land on your feet.
11. Barbell Front Squat
Reps: 5, working up to the heaviest weight you can handle with great form
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, holding barbell across collarbone. Place your fingertips under the barbell just outside shoulders, elbows pointing up. Lower into a squat until thighs are parallel with the floor. Push up to return to standing position.
12. Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat
Stand in front of a bench, back facing it, holding a dumbbells in either hand. Rest one foot on the bench with laces down. Squat on standing leg until knee of trailing leg nearly touches floor. Push up through standing foot to return to starting position.
13. Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Holding a dumbbell in right hand, place left knee and left hand on a bench. Your back should be flat, extend right arm toward floor. Exhale and slowly pull dumbbell up, bending elbow and keeping arm close to the side of your body. Inhale and gently lower the dumbbell to starting position to complete 1 rep.
14. Heavy Farmer’s Walk
Reps: 25 total steps
Stand tall with weights held by your sides. Keep shoulders tight and back straight. Take short, quick steps.
15. Heavy Sled Sprint and Backward Drag
Load a sled with weight and a sturdy strap to attach around your torso. As fast as you can, push the sled forward 20 yards, then turn around and drag the sled back 20 yards to starting position to complete 1 rep.