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Ball Exercises for Love Handles
woman leaning on exercise ball image by Ken Hurst from Fotolia.com
In order to target your love handles, you need to engage in exercises that specifically recruit your obliques. Your obliques are the abdominal muscles located in and around your waist and are responsible for trunk rotation and bending side-to-side. Exercises using the stability ball can tone and strengthen your love handle area, but you will have to combine them with cardio exercise such as power walking, swimming or indoor cycling to burn overlaying excess fat.
Stability Ball Oblique Crunches
Stability ball crunches with torso twists allow you to work your entire abdominal wall while you emphasize your obliques. Sit on your ball and walk your feet out in front of you until your middle back is resting comfortably over the top of the ball. Place your feet flat on the floor directly underneath your knees which are hip-distance apart. Rest your left arm on the ball and place your right hand behind your head. Keep your elbow lined up with your ear being careful not to pull on your head and neck as you twist. Exhale and contract your ab as you raise your right shoulder up and off the ball and twist towards your left side. Inhale on the return movement. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions. Switch your arms and perform 10 to 12 repetitions with the left side twisting.
Side Lying Ball Raises
Side lying ball raises effectively target the internal and oblique muscles and can be performed on a mat or soft surface. Lay on your left side with your left elbow directly under your shoulder. Place the ball between your lower legs with your top leg perfectly lined up on top of the ball with your left leg underneath. Keep your feet flexed and facing the front. You will be supporting your weight with your left elbow and left hip. Place your right hand on the floor in front of you. Squeeze the ball between your lower legs and feet and raise it up about 2 inches off the ground as you contract your obliques. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly lower your bottom leg back to the floor. Tip: as you lower and raise the ball, try not to let your hips roll forward. Perform two to three sets, then turn on your right side and repeat the sequence.
Stability Ball Russian Twist
One of the most challenging but effective exercises for your love-handle region is the stability ball Russian twist. This exercise targets all your core muscles but primarily works the obliques. Position yourself on your stability ball so that only your head, shoulders and upper back remain on the ball. Lift your torso into a tabletop position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your legs should be hip-distance apart with your weight equally distributed throughout your feet. Place your palms together and raise your arms directly over your chest, with elbows fully extended. Exhale, contract your abdominals and slowly rotate your torso to the right side until your left shoulder is directly lined up on top of the right shoulder and your arms are parallel to the floor. Without letting your hips sink, slowly rotate your torso all the way to the left side, bringing your arms up and over until they are parallel to the floor on the left side. Continue to rotate side-to-side for 10 to 20 repetitions.
- ACE Fitness: Stability Ball Russian Twist
- Stability Ball Training: A Guide for Fitness Professionals from the American Council on Exercise; Christine Cunningham; 2003
- Ultimate Core Ball Workout; Jeanine Detz; 2005
Alison Stellner, owner of Body Tune Personal Training, is a fitness instructor and freelance writer with more than 25 years in the health and fitness industry. Her first professional article was published in "Idea Today Fitness Magazine" in 1993. She majored in music and business administration at the University of Oklahoma.