Everywhere you look, someone has their “top 3/5/10 exercises” for leaner thighs, abs, arms, or whatever.
All this hyperbole and anti-scientific rhetoric is based on the same type of nonsense – but let’s keep it specific to the “tummy” since that’s probably the most common “trouble zone”.
Want to know what exercise helps you get a flatter stomach?
Stomach fat loss is not in response to ab muscular activation (just as fat loss ANYWHERE is not in response to local muscle activation).
It is the result of greater calories expended versus consumed over time.
Core exercises certainly play a role in a well balanced training program, but don’t kid yourself – planks or crunches won’t help you burn off stomach fat more than squats or bench presses. Hell… we could even say that if anything, lower body exercises would be the most efficient for helping you lose belly fat more than any other exercise due to the greater level of energy demand for lower body exercises with sufficient load (more calories burned per set).
But focusing JUST on those would be INCREDIBLY short sighted (and ineffective), as a COMPREHENSIVE training program would enable you to burn the most total calories since you’re not becoming dependent on the work capacity of any given muscle group.
And then we could talk about the benefits of increasing muscle throughout your body for increasing your daily metabolic rate… and let’s not forget injury prevention, yadda yadda yadda.
Point being: ANY exercise helps with losing “trouble fat”, because in the right context of diet, exercise, and lifestyle it is helping you burn calories. A well balanced training program focused on your WHOLE body rather than simply your “problem areas” will result in greater benefits, since we cannot choose where fat leaves our bodies based on what exercises we choose.
An exercise program that *a) helps you build or maintain muscle, b) keeps you safe so you don’t have to take time off due to being injured, and c) helps you burn a substantial amount of calories (in relation to an appropriate amount of food intake)* will put you on the best path towards leaner (insert body part here) for the long term assuming that you have body fat to lose in the first place.
Put the emphasis on having a balanced program focused on ‘big bang for your buck’ exercises. Targeting parts of your body with self-perceived excessive fat, using gimmicky and/or un-challenging isolation exercises is at best, a waste of time.
If you’re looking for some guidance on getting more out of your workouts, check out my Fit Body Blueprint for Women program – http://www.FitWomanBlueprint.com
Talk to you soon,