Let’s get real: Struggling with love handles is a major annoyance. Having some extra cushion around the midsection isn’t necessarily a problem, but it can become frustrating when trying to fit into snug jeans or figure-hugging attire. And as the season for beach outings approaches, the desire to slim down the waist and achieve a toned stomach intensifies. Here at ETNT, we recognize this challenge, which is why we reached out to Mike Masi, CPT, a seasoned personal trainer from Garage Gym Reviews. He reveals the ultimate exercise for trimming those pesky love handles, aiming for a healthier and slimmer appearance.

Reducing love handles not only enhances your look but also boosts your health substantially. Harvard Health Publishing points out that visceral fat, which nestles deep in your abdomen, is linked to poor metabolic health and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. This specific kind of belly fat is even associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. Thus, if the cosmetic aspect of losing love handles isn’t enough motivation, consider the significant health advantages.

If you’re ready to sculpt your midsection, keep reading for Masi’s #1 best exercise for love handles.

What is the #1 best exercise to melt love handles?

So, what’s the top workout for eliminating the stubborn excess around your waistline? Masi suggests squat thrusters as the go-to exercise. He explains that squat thrusters effectively work your shoulders and glutes, potentially aiding in muscle development and creating the illusion of a slimmer waist. This workout involves a large amount of muscle, making it exceptionally beneficial. “Moreover, it’s a versatile exercise that allows for the addition of weights, whether you use a barbell, kettlebells, or dumbbells,” he adds.

Squat thrusters are hailed as one of the most effective exercises for targeting love handles because they’re a compound movement that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the core, legs, and shoulders. This compound movement also torches calories while sculpting and toning the oblique muscles to help reduce the appearance of love handles over time.

The health benefits of squat thrusters:

woman doing dumbbell squat to press, concept of exercises to melt lower belly fat


Squat thrusters help improve cardiovascular health by elevating your heart rate and boosting metabolism, making them an excellent addition to any fat-loss-focused workout program. This exercise also enhances functional strength and athleticism by mimicking natural movement patterns that improve coordination and balance.

“Research suggests there are certain exercises that are better at burning calories than others,” says Masi. “This includes multi-joint exercises like squat thrusters, which outperform isolation exercises. Furthermore, there is a way to train that results in a growth or widening of the muscles at the hips and the upper back, giving the appearance of a smaller waist over time.”

How can you implement squat thrusters into your routine?

Here is Masi’s breakdown on incorporating squat thrusters into your fitness routine.

“Take a barbell in the front rack position, drop into a squat, then stand up fast enough to thrust the bar overhead. The speed at which this is performed may make or break if you can complete the rep by pressing the bar up,” Masi explains. “Start with a light load first, maybe even using a PVC pipe or a broomstick to get the hang of the movement. Depending on your physical ability, even bodyweight squats can be difficult, and that may be the place to start before you’re comfortable enough to move into thrusters. Work up to three or four sets of eight to 12 reps with a weight that makes the last few reps of each set challenging but doable.”

The benefits of squat thrusters for weight loss:

scale weight loss concept, weight loss mistakes


Squat thrusters are ideal for shedding excess fat and toning your body. Here’s why:

  • They burn lots of calories. Squat thrusters engage major muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, core, and shoulders, resulting in high-calorie burn both during and after a workout. This increased metabolic demand can help you burn more calories, even at rest, throughout the day.
  • They help build muscle. Adding squat thrusters to your routine will help you build lean muscle mass while melting body fat. More muscle means a higher resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories even when not exercising.
  • They boost endurance. Squat thrusters require cardiovascular endurance and stamina. Over time, your overall fitness level will increase, allowing you to push harder and longer during workouts to burn more calories and build muscle.

Frequently Asked Questions about Eliminating Love Handles

What are love handles and how can they be eliminated?

Love handles refer to excess fat deposits on the sides of the lower waist and back. To eliminate them, a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength training (focusing on the core and overall body), and a balanced diet are recommended. Consistency and patience play key roles in reducing love handles effectively.

What exercises are best for targeting love handles?

  • Side Planks: These target the obliques and help in toning the area.
  • Mountain Climbers: This exercise increases heart rate, which helps in burning fat, including around the waist.
  • Bicycle Crunches: Another effective exercise for engaging and toning the oblique muscles.
  • Russian Twists: Aimed at the oblique muscles, enhancing muscle tone and strength.
  • Woodchoppers: Great for working the entire core and specifically targeting the love handle area.

How long does it take to get rid of love handles?

The time it takes to get rid of love handles varies based on individual body types, the consistency in workout regime, and dietary habits. On average, noticeable results can be seen within 4-8 weeks of consistent, focused effort, including regular exercise and proper nutrition.

Can diet alone eliminate love handles?

While diet plays a crucial role in fat reduction, including the area around the waist, it is most effective when combined with regular exercise. A calorie deficit is necessary for fat loss, but incorporating exercises targeting the core and other areas enhances the shape and tone of the body, including reducing love handles.

Are there any specific dietary changes that help with reducing love handles faster?

Yes, certain dietary adjustments can help speed up the loss of love handles:

  • Increasing protein intake to boost metabolism and reduce appetite.
  • Reducing simple carbohydrates and sugars, as they contribute to fat accumulation around the waist.
  • Incorporating healthy fats and fiber to help keep full longer and improve digestion.
  • Staying hydrated and avoiding high-calorie drinks can significantly impact overall caloric intake.

Is it possible to target just the love handles with exercise?

While specific exercises can enhance muscle tone in the targeted area, fat loss cannot be isolated to just the love handles. A comprehensive approach that includes full-body exercises and a healthy diet is necessary for overall fat reduction, which will in turn help in diminishing love handles.

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