A major complaint of people who want to look more fit is belly fat. Specifically, a large number of people have trouble with “love handles.” Far from lovely or lovable, these are deposits of fat that take up residence on the sides of one’s lower torso, around the external oblique muscles. Traditional crunches and sit-ups will not do much for this sort of chub, as they mainly work the abdominal muscles and not the obliques. The good news, however, is that there are a few stomach exercises which specifically target the obliques, helping trim love handles. As with any new physical activity, consult a professional before beginning and be sure to properly warm up to avoid injury.
A simple exercise, side bends are also probably the most effective method for losing love handles. Start by standing upright. Position your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly. Lower your whole torso to one side, then back to the other. Lean only side to side, not backwards or forwards.
This stomach exercise is also effective at reducing love handles, and is good to do right after the side bends in your routine, as it is also done in a standing position. Again, with feet shoulder width apart, slowly twist the body to one side, then to the other. The key here is to twist from your torso, not from the hips. As much of the twisting work as possible should be done by your oblique muscles, not your hip flexors. Keep your torso upright with no bending.
The next two stomach exercises require you to get off your feet and lie down, preferably on the floor or other flat surface. Use a mat or towel as a cushion if you have a particularly hard floor to work with. Lie down on one side. For simplicity, let us say you are on your right side to start. Bring your right arm across your waist so that your right hand comes to rest on your left side. Touch your ear with the fingertips of your left hand, so that your left elbows winds up pointing straight upward. Lift your shoulders up off the floor while simultaneously raising your left leg to height of about twelve inches (30 cm). Contract your obliques as you do this. Hold for a few seconds, then gently lie back down. Do this for an entire set, then switch to the right side.
Seated Knee Drop
First, position yourself on the floor so that you are resting on your hipbones (not sitting on your butt). You can put your hands on the floor behind you to keep yourself stable in this position. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Put your ankles together. Now lower your knees to the right. Your feet will roll on to their sides, but should remain on the floor. Continue this lowering move until your knees are about six inches above the floor. Hold for one second, then go back up and down to the left side. Move slowly and under control, using your stomach muscles rather than momentum to raise and lower your legs.