Absence makes the heart grow fonder. All’s fair in love and war. Love is blind. Love conquers all. All you need is love.
When it comes to clichés, I’m the world’s biggest mess up! I am usually well intentioned but stumble through almost every cliché I try to speak. I once had a boss who spoke primarily in clichés. I often had to, embarrassingly, ask her for further clarification on exactly what she meant. I’m just not good when it comes to understanding and using clichés.
One that I do understand clearly, however, is this: Rome wasn’t built in a day. While I don’t know how many days it actually took to build Rome, I know it was more than one. Pretty straight forward.
Not only is this cliché true of Rome, but it’s also true of the area of excess fat that is located over the external oblique muscles, or more commonly known as the love handles. Just like Rome, it took more than a day to “build” those pesky love handles, so, likewise, it will take more than a day to lose them. But, if you stay focused, eat well, and take note of a few tips, it won’t be long before absence of those love handles will make your heart grow very fond of sculpted, sultry curves!
Having nice, sculpted external oblique muscles will not do much good (appearance wise, at least) unless the layer of excess fat that covers those muscles is shed. So, we need to be sure that we are maintaining a regular schedule of cardiovascular exercise and watching our caloric intake. While we are doing this (reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass), we can be toning the external oblique muscles underneath. Here are a few of my favorites:
- This is my all-time favorite exercise, but it does require a piece of equipment or access to a gym with equipment. It’s called a hyperextension bench. The woman in this photo below is using the hyperextension bench to work her lower back. To work the external oblique muscles, she would need to flip onto her side and place her hip where her torso had been. With a weight in her hand that is closest to the ground, she would perform side bends. Because of the angle of the bench, this simple move becomes far more effective than a standing side bend. I like to perform 10-12 reps on each side for three sets.
- My second all-time favorite exercise is the side-lying oblique crunch. Lie on one side. Crunch up with obliques, aiming the shoulder toward the ankles. Perform 10-12 reps on each side for three sets.
- One more exercise to put into your routine comes from the the Livestrong website, “the bicycle crunch is the overall best abdominal exercise. It recruits almost two-and-a-half times more muscle than the traditional crunch. The upper body tilts up, activating the upper abdominals. The lower body bicycles, activating the lower abdominals, and the upper body twists back and forth, activating the obliques. Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled fashion for sets of 20. Once you can do 20, hold a plate in front of your chest.”
So, follow the cliché that says it takes two to tango, because you now know that it takes two to get rid of those handles – cardio and toning, not one or the other.