T Nation

Cutting Advice - Obliques


Currently at 198lb 5’9 seeking goal of 165 lean.
I’m 20 and former wrestler who is used to having to cut weight but now i’m seeking to cut weight and build toned muscle in the process. I’m having issues with cutting down the oblique area (“love handles.”)
Any recommended workouts that will burn and cut them down?


Spot reducing fat is impossible (outside of convoluted hormone manipulation that may/may not work). Just cut the fat – the love handles will disappear once your BF is low enough.


Is there a way to turn it into muscle? Not spot reducing but just doing constant oblique workouts allowing it to tighten up?


Can fat ‘turn into muscle’? No, not at all – physically impossible.
Fat can be burned, and muscle can be built in its place.

Constant oblique workouts will build the oblique muscles beneath the fat – while that’s not a bad thing, overly hypertrophying those muscles can make your waist look wider. Furthermore, considering that you want to lose your love handles, I’d say that the ‘constant’ oblique workouts are a waste of your time – you’d be better served by perfecting your diet and performing some high-intensity, full-body movements (sprints, tabatas, kettlebell swings, etc.) to really shred the fat.


Unless you are an alchemist, it’s impossible to turn matter X to matter Y (fat to muscle specifically). Visible abs are made in the kitchen but you can build them bigger just like you can do with any muscle. Heavy cable crunches, weighed leg raises or planks etc. You can also do standing cable crunches with a twist for oblique work.

Just don’t overwork your abs. Just like any other muscle, there is no reason to work them constantly because they will not grow bigger that way. Just do abs let’s say twice a week. Cable crunches once, planks or ab wheels or anything else once and that’s it.