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Ab Workouts: Spot-Reduce Your Belly Fat

Follow this science-based program and you'’ll be spot on for achieving a chiseled six-pack in six weeks.

By Jim Stoppani, PhD & Joe Wuebben

Once thought to be as real as Bigfoot and the Chupacabra, research is showing that spot reduction actually some merits. Here's how to mix it into your training for a shredded set of abs.

Who would you believe? The Barbie and Ken look-alikes who say on the infomercials that if you use their ab-training gizmos, "You'll lose inches off your waist in just a few weeks!" or the many scientists who say such a claim is totally bogus? After all, attaining a washboard midsection simply by doing an ab exercise for five minutes a day is more or less the definition of spot-reducing, an outdated method of fat loss that had been relegated to a weight-room punch line. Well, now you can stop laughing - it seems the spot-reduction theory may actually hold water. Doing ab exercises for prolonged periods can, in fact, help you get better abs, and we've designed a program for you to achieve just that. All of which makes Barbie and Ken's logic, according to scientific research, brilliant!

The Basis of Spot-Reduction

OK, maybe Barbie and Ken aren't 100% correct. Although you may not be able to spot-reduce your midsection fat to reveal ripped abs by using some gizmo for just five minutes a day, you can spot-reduce your waistline with the right program.

Spot reduction refers to the ability to train a muscle group, such as abs, with region-specific exercises, such as crunches, in an effort to remove bodyfat from just that area of the body. Until a couple years ago, if you asked any exercise physiologist if it were possible to spot-reduce your middle, you'd get an emphatic "Hell, no!" Now, that same expert, assuming he or she has been paying attention to the latest research on the subject, would want to retract that statement.