Does the Ab Roller Burn Love Handles?

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You cannot burn fat from specific parts of your body with specific exercises. The ab roller or any other specific abdominal exercise will not burn or reduce fat from your love handles. Though the ab roller may help tone and tighten the muscles beneath your love handles, other exercises may be more effective. To burn your love handles, undertake an exercise program combining cardiovascular and strength training exercises. The former burns fat all over your body and the latter increases your metabolism and ability to burn fat.

The Obliques

Love handles occur when excess fat accumulates over your obliques. Your obliques are located on either side of your abdominals. The external obliques run diagonally across your lower ribs onto your pelvis. Situated beneath the external obliques, the internal obliques run from your hip bone to your lower ribs. Your external obliques help rotate your upper body. They also help you bend sideways, moving your rib cage toward your pelvis, and together with your internal obliques help shape your waistline.

Evaluating the Ab Roller

The ab roller is only marginally effective at working your obliques. A study by the San Diego State University that was commissioned by the American Council on Exercise used electrocardiography--EMG--equipment to measure the effectiveness of 13 different abdominal exercises. Some of these included the ab roller, traditional crunches, the captain's chair and the bicycling maneuver. As an oblique exercise, the ab roller ranked in the lowly tenth position, and it ranked nine as an abs exercise.

Effective Exercises

According to the ACE study, the captain's chair and bicycling maneuver are the two most effective exercises for your obliques. For the former, position yourself on the captain's chair with your back against the rest and your legs hanging down. Exhale as you raise your knees to your chest, pause and then lower your legs. If you haven't got access to a captain's chair, do the exercise while hanging from a pull-up bar or while balancing your weight on your forearms on the bars of a dipping station. To perform the bicycling maneuver, lie flat on your back with raised shoulders, your hands on your temples and your legs raised with bent knees. Mimic a bicycling motion by pulling your left knee toward your right elbow and then your right knee toward your left elbow.

Cardiovascular Exercises

To reduce fat from your obliques, follow the Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services. Do a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular exercise. Depending on your capabilities, lifestyle and preferences, some of your options include dancing, brisk walking, uphill walking, hiking, swimming, running, bicycling and aerobic classes. You may also use cardiovascular equipment in a gym such as the treadmill, stair climber, elliptical machine, rowing machine or stationary bike. These exercises burn fat as energy.

Strength Training Exercises

The Physical Activity Guidelines also recommend at least two days a week of strength training exercises. These increase your lean muscle tissue, which helps elevate your metabolism, increasing your body's capacity to burn fat from all over your body even while at rest. Use a combination of resistance equipment and free weights in a gym, focusing on your major muscle groups such as your chest, back, shoulders, legs, glutes and hips. If you prefer not to use a gym, do body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, handstand push-ups, body weight squats and lunges to work the same muscles.