Love handles are a nice name for the fat that accumulates just above the belt on the sides of the body. To lose love handles, you first have to lose extra fat. Tone and tighten those core muscles with a wide range of exercises that include weight and resistance training, aerobics and targeted moves.
Love handles and bulging stomachs are made of stored fat, which must be lost before you can cut a lean figure. Trainers at the Military Fitness Center report that a consistent cardiovascular workout program is vital to lose the stored fat around the middle and sides of the body. Spend at least 30 to 35 minutes three times a week in aerobic activities to lose fat. Good options include brisk walking, running, cycling and elliptical-trainer workouts. Join an aerobics class or take up a physical activity, such as kick-boxing, that speeds up your heart and tones muscles at the same time.
Crunches are good exercises that can be modified to work both the abdominal muscles, to give you a flat stomach, and the obliques, to tone your sides. To perform crunches, lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet against a wall or flat on the floor. Then cross your arms in front of your chest and raise your shoulders, tightening your abs and keeping your neck straight. To complete the exercise, lower yourself back to the floor and repeat 20 times. You can intensify the workout by doing the crunches with your legs held straight up in the air. After raising yourself up straight, work on your obliques by bringing your right elbow to your left knee when you rise. Lower yourself and lift up, bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Repeat 10 times on each side. Then reverse the process by continuing to lie on the floor and raising your hips and knees up toward your chest. You can add even more intensity by performing crunches on a stability ball.
The reclining bicycle maneuver gives your stomach and love handles a major workout, according to the American Council on Exercise. The routine mimics the pumping action performed when riding. To do a bicycle, lie on your back on the floor and place your hands lightly behind your head. While in that position, press your lower back into the floor and bring your knees up so that they form a 45-degree angle. Then pump your feet alternately as if you were pedaling a bicycle. You can add intensity to the exercise by raising your shoulders at the same time and touching your right elbow to your left knee as it comes up, and then twisting to touch your left elbow to your right knee. Try to "bicycle" for at least five minutes without lowering your legs.