In light of Valentine’s Day, I’m featuring 14 fun, exercises for the love handles, also known as the muffin top! Your obliques is an abdominal muscle group which lay diagonally across the sides of your waist. Targeting them, alongside cardio and proper nutrition, will help tone and tighten your waistline.
Instructions: Start off with your choice of cardio, then choose an exercise below to finish with. Do as many repetitions as possible. Be sure to work both sides. Last, but not least, have fun!
1. Side Plank (Hold)
Laying on your side, stack legs, lift hips as you balance on your forearm and foot. Be sure your body maintains a straight line from your head to your heels.
2. Crunch in Side Plank
Laying on your side, stack legs, and lift hips, as you balance on your forearm and foot. Place hand behind head, and curl your elbow in towards your chest as you lower the shoulder, and lift elbow and shoulder back up. Be sure to keep hips lifted. *Modified version: bend knees (90 degrees), balancing on lower leg and forearm.
3. Leg Raise in Side Plank
Laying on your side, stack legs, and lift hips as you balance on your forearm and foot. Hold this position and raise your top leg slightly higher than the level of your top hip. Hold for one breath, lower, and repeat, being sure to keep your hips lifted. *Modified version: bend knee of lower leg (90 degrees), balancing on lower leg and forearm.
4. Hip Raise in Side Plank
Laying on your side, stack legs, and balance on your hand and foot as you lift your hips up until your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels. Lower hips back down to floor. *Modified version: rest on forearm and bend knees (90 degrees), balancing on lower leg and forearm.
5. Oblique Crunch
Laying on your back with knees bent, feet planted flat on the floor, and hands behind your head, raise one shoulder and rotate to the opposite side, while keeping elbow pointing out to the side, and lower back down.
6. Abdominal Pendulum
Laying on your back with arms flat against the ground, lift legs above hips. Slowly lower legs to one side, leaving a few inches off the floor. Keep legs straight and together, and both shoulders flat against the floor. Slowly return legs to center and repeat on other side. *Modified version: Keep knees bent (90 degrees).
7. Air Bike
Laying on your back, keep feet together, and lift legs slightly off floor, with hands behind head and elbows pointing out. Bend one knee and lift opposite shoulder, drawing the opposite elbow towards the opposite knee. Lower shoulder back down, as you straighten the knee. Without lowering legs, perform the same movement on other side.
8. Cross Toe Touches
Laying on back with legs straight, place hands behind your head with elbows pointing out. Simultaneously lift your left leg and right arm, crunching up until your hand meets the toe, return back down, and repeat movement on other side.
9. Side Jack Knife
Laying on your side, stack legs, place the hand of the top arm behind head, pointing your elbow up, and wrap other arm around waist. Simultaneously lift your legs and shoulders towards mid-section. Keep legs straight and elbow pointed up.
Balance on your glutes, with hands behind you for support, and tuck your knees diagonally across chest. Without changing the position of your knees, extend your legs, then bend your knees and rotate to the other side.
11. Plank with Hip Dips
Laying on stomach, lift your body up, balancing on your toes and forearms, maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels. Rotate hips, placing left hip down, lift back up to center, and rotate hips to other side, placing right hip down.
12. Plank with Cross Knee Tucks
Laying on your stomach, press body up with your palms flat against the floor, positioned underneath the shoulders. Be sure your hips are down so that you are in a straight line from your head to your heels and cross one knee over, tucking it into towards the chest. Return your leg, continuing to hold your body’s straight alignment. Repeat on other side.
13. Kneeling Side Bend
Kneel down on one leg, stretch your other leg out to the side, positioning the toes forward, and draw hands together overhead. Bend sideways as you keep arms stretched away from the body, being sure not to lean forward, and return upright.
14. Side Bend in Sumo Squat
In a stance slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, turn out toes and squat down to make 90 degree angles with your legs. Hold the squat as you place your hands behind your head, keeping elbows out to your sides. Keeping torso upright, back straight and chest lifted, bend sideways attempting to touch your knee with your elbow. (Depending on how flexible you are, determines how far your elbow will reach). Holding the squat, return to center and bend sideways towards other side.
Happy Valentine’s Day!