Your lower abs and love handles are two of the most notoriously difficult areas of the body to tone and tighten. Regular crunches typically only target your upper abs, so more creative ab exercises must be employed to target the obliques and lower abs. With the help of a stability ball and free weights, you can successfully create a tighter waistline. Healthy diet and cardiovascular activity combined with daily ab exercises will help you burn fat that causes love handles and tone your physique all over.
Lie back on a stability ball and walk your legs out so your lower back and bottom are resting on the ball. Holding a medicine ball with your arms extended in front of you, slowly twist to the left, leading with the medicine ball, until your arms reach shoulder height. Slowly return back to center, and repeat on the right. Work up to three sets of 10 repetitions each.
Place the stability ball under your belly while assuming an all-fours position. Support yourself with your legs on the ball as you walk your arms out to extend your body into a plank position with your shins resting on the ball. Target your lower abs by pulling your knees into your chest as they rest on the ball. Your abs will be supporting your body weight, and your lower abs will be contracting as you bring your knees closer to your chest. Hold your position briefly before exhaling and stretching your legs back out to plank position.
Lie flat on an exercise mat with your legs straight and your hands beside your shoulders. Exhale, and then lift your body as if you were doing a pushup. Instead of lowering yourself to the ground again, hold the plank position for as long as you can. You may only be able to hold the position for a few seconds at first, working up to 10 or 20 seconds over time as your abs strengthen.
Add cardiovascular activity to your exercise routine to lose those love handles, which are fat deposits. While ab exercises can help target the lower abs for toning, cardiovascular activity will help burn away the excess fat that can make even tight abs look flabby, notes trainer David Kirsch, in his book, "The Ultimate New York Body Plan." Adding dance, jogging and other daily cardio can help you see results faster.
Items you will need
- ✓ Stability ball
- ✓ Medicine ball
- ✓ Exercise mat
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Exercise is less effective when you indulge in high-fat, high-calorie meals that pollute your body. Look for lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables that help to keep you full and fuel your workouts to whittle away excess fat hovering around your lower belly and sides.
- SteadyHealth.com: Side Abdominal Workouts and Tips for Getting Rid of Love Handles
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Knee Tucks
- The Ultimate New York Body Plan; David Kirsch; 2004
- Will & Deni McIntyre/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.