While the name "love handles" may sound cute, their presence on your body can actually be quite annoying. If you’re like everyone else who has them, you want them gone. However, it’s notoriously difficult to get rid of.
"Love handles" are basically the area surrounding your oblique muscles — the same area that makes up that coveted "v-line" in its best state. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most stubbornly persistent areas of fat accumulation in the body, and anyone who has ever been on a weight loss journey will tell you the same thing. Even after seeing significant overall fat loss, the fat around our bellies is the hardest to eradicate.
Of course, the natural reaction is to just hit the ground and do a terrible amount of sit-ups. This is a misguided practice, as everyone knows spot reduction doesn’t really work. To acquire that perfectly-sculpted midsection, it will take far more than just doing sit-ups. Instead, getting rid of ‘love handles’ involves overall fat-burning cardio, combined with targeted exercises, to tone and define your midsection.
Martial arts is a superior workout in every aspect. With high-intensity routines effectively burning fat and building muscle, you can soon bid goodbye to those annoying excess fat deposits, not only on your belly, but on every part of your body.
Looking for exercises that will help you sculpt your abs and get rid of those pesky "love handles"? Look no further. We’ve come up with a great list of workouts to get you started.
Today, Evolve Daily shares five martial arts exercises to get rid of "love handles".
1) Manny Pacquiao Crunches
Manny Pacquiao’s abs are absolutely legendary. His chiseled midsection is like a sculpted masterpiece. He’s got muscles on muscles for days. Of course, this legendary core is also responsible for his concussive knockout power and bottomless pit of stamina.
Obviously, he’s worked very hard on them. The Filipino firebrand’s midsection is the result of a routine that consists of grueling core exercises, featuring medicine balls, boxing pads, and even a rattan stick that he has his coaches occasionally whack him with.
But for us regular humans, just merely trying to emulate Pacquiao’s core workout should help us out quite a lot. Start by doing 20 sets of a variation of core workouts, for roughly 30 seconds each set, with only a few seconds of rest when necessary. Pacquiao also likes to mix up various classic crunches, including figure fours, circle crunches, and knee tucks, with modified exercises such as the hip up-reverse crunch hybrid. His core strengthening program is guaranteed to give you the washboard abs you’ve always wanted, and get rid of those pesky "love handles".
You may modify the duration of each exercise when you begin and scale it up as you get used to the intensity, but make sure to do everything in proper form to maximise the results.
2) Nong-O Gaiyanghadao’s Muay Thai Pad Training
Reigning ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao from the Evolve Fight Team is one of the hardest workers in all of striking martial arts. The legendary Thai fighter loves to hit the pads, honing the power in his thunderous kicks.
In fact, those kicks hold the secret to getting rid of "love handles".
Nong-O’s pad work is an excellent demonstration of functional ab-sculpting. The high-intensity workout involves explosive movements that both tone muscles and burn through an astounding amount of calories.
The core and hips generate the torque that translates to the force behind each strike, practically from any limb, and particularly with the kicks. The constant and repetitive movement of engaging the core to bring the leg up works the entire midsection, not just the obliques. Knees also utilize the lower abdomen, which helps a great deal.
The next time you are in the Muay Thai gym, try to train like the legendary Nong-O and see your "love handles" disappear over time.
3) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Drills
Though usually not thought of as a martial art for physical conditioning, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners will actually attest to the discipline’s weight loss and muscle toning properties. BJJ drills like rolling, shrimping, and guard passing, among others, do tend to engage the core and the abdominal muscles a lot.
Much of BJJ is mastering leverage and how you can balance your weight to gain an advantage over an opponent. This, of course, draws heavily on the core muscle group to provide enough strength to execute the techniques.
Many of the different movements tap the lower abdomen and the obliques, and are arguably more effective than sit-ups and crunches in shaping the midsection.
Another advantage is the ability to perform BJJ drills at practically any location where you can get on the ground.
4) Boxing Combinations
Similar to Muay Thai, boxing combination drills require intense cardiovascular strength and endurance. But instead of kicking, you’ll be punching and engaging those core muscles, particularly the explosive shell.
Every punch thrown in boxing is immediately preceded by a tightening of the explosive shell, which helps the midsection transmit the force generated by the hips and legs into the fist. You can get help from your boxing coach for intense pad work sessions, or you can stand in front of the heavy bag and unload your most powerful blows.
Make sure to pay attention to proper technique, and correctly wrap your hands to protect your wrists. Put the entire weight of your body and momentum into every punch to maximise the power potential.
Boxing combination drills burn an incredible amount of calories, while also stimulating the core and obliques enough to see those "love handles" melt away.
5) Full Body MMA Workout
Of course, there’s no better martial arts workout that helps get rid of "love handles" than a combination of many different disciplines. That’s where mixed martial arts training comes in, bringing Muay Thai, boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the like together into one seamless fighting style.
There is a reason why most MMA fighters have perfectly sculpted bodies: MMA is a complete full-body workout. The high-intensity training commonly seen in MMA gyms offers multifaceted physical benefits. These include the high calorie-burning capacity of cardio exercises, extended afterburn, and functional muscle development, which eliminates ‘love handles’ and defines the obliques.
MMA is extremely popular now for fitness, and is a whole lot of fun. Train regularly, and with consistent effort, you’ll soon see yourself achieve the ideally toned physique that you’ve only previously dreamed of.
This article, "5 Martial Arts Exercises To Get Rid Of Love Handles", originally appeared on Evolve MMA, Asia’s No. 1 martial arts organisation.