Written by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Viewed by 97 readers since 06-14-2009
No matter your gender, age, or habit, love handles are sure to be a bother. Fat tends to look much worse in this position than anywhere else on the body. Unfortunately, many people find that a large majority of fat gained often settles in this region. This region being to the immediate right and left of the belly button, along the hips. Because people have been plagued by this problem for so long, however, they have managed to find a solution or two. But what could possibly trim down these unbelievably large and squishy “grips” around the hip?
First off, it is important to understand the muscles that primarily contribute to the love handle region. There is actually only one superficial, or surface layer, muscle in this area. That one muscle is the external oblique. The external oblique is an important abdominal muscle that functions to twist the torso horizontally. Twisting the body from the laptop in front to the television set on the side is done with the help of the external oblique. Another similar abdominal muscle, the internal oblique, lies deep to the external oblique and also assists in this twisting motion. The internal oblique, however, is a deep muscle that is not visible.
As the dull anatomy lesson comes to a close, let’s take a look at a few quality exercises that specifically target the obliques.
1. Crunch Twists. Start laying down on your back. Begin raising your shoulders off the ground as if performing a basic crunch. Instead of completing the crunch and ending with both elbows in line with the knees, twist to either the left or the right. Drop back down and raise to the other side. Proceed with this back and forth action for two or three sets of 12.
2. Russian Twists. These are very similar to the crunch twist. However, your back will not be flat on the ground. Plop yourself down on the floor and lean back to a 45 degree angle. You will then alternate twisting between the left and the right. Be sure to maintain the 45 degree angle to ensure stress on the oblique muscles. For many, this exercise will need to be performed with some kind of resistance. You may hold either a small weight or a medicine ball between your hands to intensify the Russian twist. Again, perform two to three sets of 10-12.
3. Twisting Leg Raises. A leg raise requires that you stabilize the upper body in some manner, usually with a machine specifically designed for it, while raising straight legs into the air. The twisting leg raise is just an easy variation to apply more stress to the love handles. Instead of raising your legs straight in front of you, twist to both the right and the left. Two to three sets of 10-12 is the magic number today.
Although these three exercises are very important in maintaining a solid shape around the love handle region, it is important to note that diet comes before anything else. A poor diet will only ensure that the love handles never disappear. Be sure to consume five to seven small meals per day to keep the metabolism up. Your calorie intake should consist of at least 90% clean calories. Run with the 10% rule – a little bad here and there won’t hurt.
With this newfound knowledge, those love handles are as good as gone!