The expression "love handles" defines one of the aesthetic worries that afflict men and women of all ages, with a particular impact on men. Love handles are nothing but subcutaneous fat deposits located in the waist area, including the hips and lower back, which give the silhouette a decidedly rounded shape.
Is it possible to act on localized fat?
With the arrival of summer, it is common for trainers and specialists in the fitness and beauty sector to receive the most disparate requests for help in the war on localized fat. Moreover, it is often widely believed that we can act selectively on fat loss as if our body could work on "watertight compartments".
In reality, there is always a set of elements and processes that work synergistically to obtain the final slimming result. The primary element is always and unequivocally the need to create a caloric deficit through a controlled diet. A negative balance for which the overall expenditure in terms of "work" carried out by the body is higher than the revenue in caloric terms necessary to carry out that work.
Love handles and hormones
The localized adiposity, however, is strongly influenced by the concentration at the plasma level of different hormones that determine, in fact, the accumulation of fat in different regions of the body depending on sex and hormonal profile. This is, unfortunately, the reason that leads many weight loss attempts to fail despite following a low-calorie diet and doing sports.
In men, the accumulation of fat in the abdominal region and on the waist is often associated with low testosterone and high cortisol levels, while in women it is the excess of estrogen that plays a decisive role in the failure of many programs. of slimming.
The best choice is always to try to work synergistically - but with the right balance and without lingering in excess - several factors:
- muscle toning workout,
- cardiovascular training,
- food supplementation.
We have already mentioned that the diet must be low-calorie but varied, with a preference for lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and low glycemic index carbohydrates. Following a weight training program will help keep your metabolism high and consume many more calories, even when you are at rest. Carrying out cardio activity will be of great help in achieving the desired result but be careful not to exceed, in order not to incur a rise in cortisol! In this sense, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio activity protocols are recommended, provided they are short-lived. Not to be underestimated, then the use of herbal or amino acid products with thermogenic or lipolytic properties, obviously not to be considered as substitutes for a correct diet.
Can localized fat be eliminated?
In light of the above, is it possible to obtain localized weight loss through specific training in the district affected by the fat? The answer is not so simple, because if, as we have seen, slimming is linked to a complexity of factors, it is equally true that triggering, through training, growth in muscle mass will correspond to increasing the metabolism with consequent consumption of fat accumulations.
4 exercises to eliminate love handles
So let's see some exercises that involve the muscles of the region affected by love handles: obliques and the quadratus lumborum.
Obliques and, in particular, external oblique and internal oblique, together with the transverse and the rectus abdominis muscle, make up the whole of the abs. Both obliques have the function of stabilizing the trunk and the pelvis and of containing the organs. The specific exercises to train them must take into account their anatomical function, therefore flexion, ipsilateral inclination, and contralateral rotation of the trunk.
1. Leg raises for obliques
To target the area of love handles, it works only by contracting the obliques, alternating left, and right sides. Simultaneously, raise your knees to the opposite side, alternating left and right movement. Always keep your pelvis under control, so that the whole back adheres to the support and that only the abs work. Do not focus on the number of reps, rather on the quality: continue until you can perform the exercise correctly.
2. Side plank
For the side plank, you start lying on the ground on your side, checking that you are straight from the tip of your feet to the head. The outside of the leg and the side touch the ground. The elbow is located under the shoulder, perpendicular to it, while the forearm is placed on the ground, in front of the body. At this point inhale, contract the obliques and lift the whole body upwards, aiming only at the elbow, forearm, and external part of the foot on the ground. Stay for at least 30 'and repeat 3 times on each side.
3. Twisting crunches
The crunch with torsion involves, together with flexion of the torso, torsion of the trunk which leads to the activation of obliques. In this case, it is good to use a slightly unbalanced weight in the opposite direction to the rotation to exercise a minimum of overload and make the exercise more effective.
Excellent for lumbar and buttocks, hyperextension, in this case, should be performed as a sort of "reverse crunch" with an extension of the lumbar muscles against the force of gravity that activates the spinal erectors. The isotonic contraction is repeated with concentric/eccentric cycles. If you wish, it is possible to use a weight for a more intense workout.
Model: Asia Callegari, IFBB Pro League Bikini athlete
- Sherwood.L.: Fondamenti di Fisiologia,Edizione italiana a cura di F.Bodega, D.Brambilla, G.Cerri, M.Montagna, C.Sironi.Casa Editrice Piccin, Padova.
- Martini F.H,Tallitsch R.B.,Nath J.L.: Anatomia Umana, Casa Editrice E di SES S.r.l, Napoli.