Get A Firm Grip On Those Love Handles

When most of us have the opportunity to scoop someone we adore by the waist, the last thing we’re concerned about is a surplus of grip. Nevertheless, the term ‘love-handles’ has managed to worm its way into our minds during what should be a sweet tender life-moment. Besides romance though, if like me you prefer your clothes to live up and do justice to your healthy lifestyle, you may find it hard to tolerate a bulging interruption above your belt-line.

The Side Plank

For sculpting the side of the abs, the Side-Plank is our go-to movement pattern.

The standard Plank is a well-known exercise for targeting the Transverse Abdominus, that’s the deep sheet of muscle that holds the inside of our trunk together, but the Side-Plank is the one that really hones in on the obliques, AKA the ‘love handles’.

Our core muscles are comprised of a different type of fibre to skeletal muscle and they’re ‘fast-twitch’ so like to be trained with isometric, as opposed to, dynamic movements.


Having said that, the obliques are a peculiar group of muscles and like the two thrill-seekers pictured here, the internal and external obliques play similar roles but at different times.


One keeps a lookout while the other has a blast! 


Featured here is Eva

She’s doing a full Side-Plank with her feet stacked and her arm raised for extra balance training.


At the isometric mid-point of the movement, her lower ‘external’ oblique (the one closest to the mat) is bearing the load of her entire frame, so after a while, as the muscle fibres activate to their maximum, that’s where she’ll start to feel the overload.





But, when she dips her hip to the mat, her lower external oblique lengthens and the upper ‘internal’ oblique switches on.





As the two muscles can only work is opposition, when she raises her hips maximally, the upper internal is lengthened while the lower external reactivates.


Still with me? 

Watch a short video demonstration


To simplify this exercise, rest on the knee of your lower leg rather than your foot.