Side fat, aka love handles, is that pesky layer of fat that accumulates around your midsection, particularly noticeable right above your hips. It can be quite a nuisance, particularly when you’re striving for a toned and sculpted silhouette. We get it – the pursuit of a more defined waistline can be challenging, often filled with endless sit-ups and crunches that yield little results. But what if we told you there’s a better way? In this guide we’re going to introduce you to 10 essential exercises designed specifically to target and reduce side fat. These exercises can easily be done at home and don’t involve any crazy sit-up routines. Instead, they focus on engaging various muscle groups to optimize fat burn and toning. Ready? Let’s get into it!
Can I Target Side Fat?
While it’s a common belief that you can target fat loss in specific areas of your body (scientifically speaking, this concept known as “spot reduction”), this is largely a myth.
Fat loss generally occurs uniformly throughout the body rather than in one specific area. Thus, the idea of doing exercises to burn side fat alone is not entirely accurate.
This is backed by numerous studies, including one published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which found that neither fat cell mobilization nor regional fat loss could be achieved by exercising specific muscles (14).
However, this doesn’t mean that exercise isn’t beneficial. Incorporating a balanced mix of cardio and strength training exercises can help you lose weight overall, which in turn will reduce fat all over your body, including your sides. In addition, certain side and back exercises can help tone the muscles in your midsection, giving the appearance of a slimmer waist.
What Is The Best Home Exercise To Lose Side Fat?
No single exercise can be crowned the “best” for losing belly fat. From a scientific perspective, spot reduction, or losing fat from a specific part of the body through targeted exercises, is largely a myth. Fat loss happens across the body, not just in the area being exercised.
Research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise (cardio) and resistance training tends to be the most effective strategy for fat loss (16).
Cardio exercises like running, swimming, or cycling help increase your heart rate and burn calories, contributing to overall weight loss, including belly fat (4).
For example, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which alternates between short bursts of high-intensity exercises and periods of rest or lower-intensity exercises, has been shown to be particularly effective at burning fat (8).
Here’s how you can create a HIIT routine at home using love handle exercises:
- Warm-Up: Start with a 5-minute warm-up of light cardio like jogging in place or jumping jacks.
- Workout: Choose 4-5 exercises that engage your core and obliques, such as Russian twists, bicycle crunches, side planks, and standing side bends. Perform each exercise at high intensity for 30 seconds.
- Rest: Take a 30-second rest between each exercise. This rest period is essential in HIIT as it allows your heart rate to come down before the next round of high-intensity exercise.
- Repeat: Repeat the circuit of exercises 3-4 times.
- Cool Down: Finish with a 5-minute cool-down of light stretching to help prevent muscle soreness.
This routine can be part of a side belly fat workout for males at home. The beauty of HIIT is that it can be tailored to your fitness level. As you get stronger, you can increase the intensity of the exercises, reduce rest periods, or add more rounds to keep challenging yourself.
Remember, consistency is key when it comes to HIIT. Aim for 3-4 sessions per week for optimal results. And always pair your exercise routine with a balanced diet to effectively lose fat (13).
Doing side fat exercises at home combined with a healthy lifestyle can lead to noticeable changes over time.
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What Exercises Burn Side Fat?
Exercises for side fat don’t directly burn fat from the sides of your body. What they do instead is to strengthen and tone the muscles in your midsection, including your obliques and abdominals.
This muscle definition can give the appearance of a slimmer waistline while an overall weight loss regimen reduces body fat.
1. Russian Twists
This is one of the best side fat exercises as it targets your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your torso. It helps to tighten up your midsection, which can give the illusion of reduced side fat.
- Sit on the ground with your knees bent, pull your abs to your spine, and lean back a few inches while keeping your back straight.
- Hold your hands in front of you and twist your torso to the right, then to the left to complete one rep.
2. Side Planks
These are effective side and back fat exercises that work your entire core, particularly your obliques.
- Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder.
- Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet.
- Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side.
3. Bicycle Crunches
This exercise is great to get rid of side fat as it works both your abs and your obliques.
- Lie flat on the floor, press your lower back into the ground and place your hands behind your head.
- Bring your knees towards your chest and lift your upper body off the ground.
- Touch your right elbow to your left knee, then your left elbow to your right knee.
4. Mountain Climbers
Among the best side fat exercises, Mountain Climbers offer a full-body workout, targeting your core, hips, and shoulders.
- Start in a high plank position. Pull your right knee into your chest as far as you can.
- Switch legs, pulling one knee out and bringing the other knee in.
5. Standing Side Bends
This is a love handle exercise that targets the obliques, helping to sculpt and define your waist.
- Stand upright and hold a dumbbell in one hand.
- Bend only at your waist, to the side that’s holding the dumbbell.
For those looking for a side belly fat workout for males at home, the following exercises are recommended:
6. Dumbbell Side Bends
This is a side fat exercise at home that targets your obliques.
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your feet hip-width apart, and your arms fully extended.
- Bend only at your waist, as far as possible to the right, then to the left.
7. Windshield Wiper
This is a great side fat exercise for males that targets the obliques and abs.
- Lie on your back on the floor and raise your legs 90 degrees.
- Spread your arms straight out to your sides for support and rotate your legs to the left, then to the right.
8. Kettlebell Swing
This side fat exercise with weights engages your entire body but especially your hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, pecs, and grip.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, grab the kettlebell with both hands.
- Bend your knees, hinge at your hips, and swing the kettlebell up.
This is one of the excellent exercises for side fat that targets your obliques.
- Stand and hold the weight with both hands, position your feet hip-width apart.
- Twist your torso to the right and raise the weight above your right shoulder. Then, swing the weight down and across, past your left knee in a “chopping” motion.
Cardiovascular exercises like boxing can help burn fat all over your body, including your sides.
- Get into a boxing stance and throw punches in the air.
- Ensure to twist your body with each punch to engage your obliques.
How To Lose Side Fat In 7 Days?
Losing side fat in 7 days is highly unlikely.
It’s natural to want quick results, but the truth is that healthy and sustainable fat loss takes time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a safe and achievable weight loss goal is 1 to 2 pounds per week (10).
This rate of weight loss translates to a caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day achieved through a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity.
If you’re specifically looking to lose side fat, remember that spot reduction isn’t possible. You’ll need to focus on overall weight loss, which will include losing fat from your entire body, including your sides.
Incorporating strength training exercises that target your core muscles can help tone your waistline, giving the appearance of less side fat (2).
Given these factors, it’s unlikely to see significant changes in side fat in just 7 days. However, you can kickstart your weight loss journey in this period by starting a balanced diet and regular exercise routine.
Remember that everyone’s body responds differently to diet and exercise, and individual results can vary.
How Can I Slim My Sides With Diet?
The saying “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet” is true when it comes to slimming your sides. To lose side fat, you need to focus on both exercise and diet. Below are some ways to get rid of love handles using your diet:
Reduce Caloric Intake
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you consume fewer calories than you burn (5). This is the fundamental principle of weight loss backed by numerous studies.
However, it’s important not to go too extreme, as very low-calorie diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health issues (11).
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Eat More Protein
A high-protein diet can boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and help increase feelings of fullness, according to research (17). Foods high in protein include lean meats, eggs, fish, legumes, and dairy products.
Cut Down On Refined Carbs
Refined carbs are linked to overeating and increased fat storage in your body (1). They are usually found in processed foods, white bread, and pastries. Instead, choose whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Eat Healthy Fats
Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for weight loss. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and fish can actually help you feel satisfied and less likely to overeat (6).
Drinking enough water can help you feel full and may increase your metabolic rate, aiding in weight loss (9).
Limit Added Sugars
High intake of added sugars, especially from sugary beverages, is linked to increased fat in the belly area (7). Limit your intake of candies, baked goods, and sweetened beverages.
Eat Fiber-Rich Foods
Dietary fiber can help you control your weight by making you feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat (3).
Even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation. Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid consuming too many calories (19).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How To Lose Side Fat With Exercises For Men?
A: While you can’t target fat loss in specific areas, exercises that strengthen and tone your core muscles can help give the appearance of a slimmer waistline. These include Russian twists, side planks, bicycle crunches, and standing side bends.
For optimal results, combine these exercises with regular cardio and a balanced diet.
Q: What Exercises Burn Side Belly Fat?
A: Exercises alone cannot specifically burn side belly fat as spot reduction is largely a myth. However, full-body workouts like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which includes exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks, can help burn calories and reduce overall body fat.
Strength training exercises that target the core, such as Russian twists and side planks, can also help tone your waistline.
Q: What Exercises To Lose Fat On The Side Of Breasts?
A: To lose fat on the side of your breasts, focus on overall body fat reduction through a combination of cardio, strength training, and a balanced diet.
Specific exercises like push-ups, chest presses, and chest flies can help tone the chest muscles, giving the appearance of a more defined chest.
Q: How To Get Model Thin Side Back Fat Exercises?
A: To reduce side back fat, incorporate exercises that target your back and core into your fitness routine. These can include dumbbell rows, lat pulldowns, and Superman exercises. However, remember that you cannot specifically target side back fat for loss.
Overall fat loss, achieved through regular cardio, strength training, and a balanced diet, will help reduce fat all over your body, including your back (18).
Say goodbye to those stubborn love handles with our guide on 10 essential side fat exercises you can do right at home. We get into the science behind fat loss and provide a mix of cardio and strength training exercises that target your core and obliques.
Remember, spot reduction isn’t possible, but by incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can strengthen and tone your waistline as part of an overall weight loss strategy.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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- Greater consumption of sweetened beverages and added sugars is associated with obesity among US young adults (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss (2010, hindawi.com)
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- Regional Fat Changes Induced by Localized Muscle Endurance Resistance Training (2013, journals.lww.com)
- Skeletal muscle energy metabolism during exercise (2020, nature.com)
- The effect of 12 weeks of aerobic, resistance or combination exercise training on cardiovascular risk factors in the overweight and obese in a randomized trial (2012, biomedcentral.com)
- The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance (2015, sciencedirect.com)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies – Weight Management (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What is the role of portion control in weight management? (2014, nature.com)