How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Love Handler Exercise - dummies

How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Love Handler Exercise

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

As its name implies, the Love Handler yoga-with-weights exercise is designed to shrink the size of your love handles — the excess weight around your waistline. Many people accumulate fat in this area as a result of stress.

This gentle, side-bending exercise stretches and tones your obliques and the rectus abdominis — Latin for “love handles.” The exercise not only works the aforementioned Latin muscles, but also helps to relieve stress when you stretch and breathe deeply.

You need one hand weight and both ankle weights for this exercise. When you’re ready, follow these steps:

  1. Sit on your buttocks with your right leg extended, your left hand gently pressing down into the floor, your left foot tucked next to your right thigh, and the hand weight held at hip position in your right hand.

    This is the starting position — a position similar to that of a hurdler. Try to sit deep into your buttock on the bent-knee side to anchor you and enable you to stretch farther. The ankle weights act as anchors for your body during the exercise.

    Make sure your spine is erect, your belly is tucked in, and your tailbone is pointing down. Look straight ahead, with your chin neither raised nor lowered.

  2. Inhaling to a count of four, arc the hand weight over your body as you turn your head to the left and look down toward your fingertips.

    As you do this, lean to the left. Don’t throw the weight — lift it carefully. As you lift, rotate the weight in your hand. Feel the right side of your body — especially your love handle — stretching. Use your left hand for support as you look over your left shoulder.

  3. Exhaling to a count of four, return the hand weight and your body to the starting position.

    Feel the muscle on the side of your body draw you back to the starting position.

This is a terrific lateral — that is, side-bending — stretch. Be careful not to lean forward or feel as if you’re falling backward during this exercise. If you do, you’ll lose the benefits of stretching your love handles.

Repeat this exercise six to eight times on each side of your body, take a rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions on each side.