What are Ineffective Belly Fat Exercises?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Small amount of belly fat.
Small amount of belly fat.

Readers may be surprised to find out some of the ineffective belly fat exercises. These include virtually all exercises that work the stomach muscles solely. Such exercises are things like crunches, work on ab machines, pilates moves, work on exercise balls and a variety of others. Almost all of the various exercises designed to work the stomach muscles do simply that; they do nothing to address belly fat.

People may use exercise balls to do stomach crunches.
People may use exercise balls to do stomach crunches.

It cannot be stated emphatically enough that fat loss comes from a couple of sources. One of them is liposuction, which can be a very quick way to target certain areas of fat and remove it. The other, which is a cheaper option for most people, is cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. Humans lose fat more quickly if they raise their heart rates to certain target levels and then remain at that level for a set period of time. When they do this consistently and take in fewer calories than they use, they will lose fat.

Building muscle mass can accelerate the body's ability to burn fat.
Building muscle mass can accelerate the body's ability to burn fat.

Where fat comes off, and the reason why things like liposuction are so popular, is variable. People may have various fat storage areas and some are more tenacious than others when it comes to reducing fat. It’s also very easy to get sold on the idea that exercises designed for a certain part of the body will help make that part of the body less fat. However, exercises designed for the stomach really have to be viewed as ineffective belly fat exercises.

Abdominal exercises can build muscle, but do not have much affect on fat content.
Abdominal exercises can build muscle, but do not have much affect on fat content.

This doesn’t mean that working on muscle tone in certain body areas is a bad idea. Toning muscle can create a slimmer look, and building more muscle mass may accelerate the body’s ability to burn fat and not create more of it. It’s just important that people understand that any “belly specific” work must be considered as ineffective belly fat exercises.

People lose fat more quickly if they raise their heart rates to certain target levels.
People lose fat more quickly if they raise their heart rates to certain target levels.

There are a few cardiovascular exercises that do work the belly muscles at the same time. Rowing machines are excellent in this respect. It’s also possible to elevate heart rate to some degree while completing lots of repetitions of a muscle exercise. Working up a sweat in hard pilates classes does help burn calories, though not at the same efficiency as other more rigorous exercises that work one to two major muscle groups at the same time without pause for 15-20 minutes.

Aerobic exercise is essential when trying to lose belly fat.
Aerobic exercise is essential when trying to lose belly fat.

People who want to steer clear of ineffective belly fat exercises should understand that any cardiovascular exercise will help to reduce fat, and it really doesn’t matter which muscle groups are involved. Using a rowing machine may not remove any more belly fat than a stair stepper or an aerobic dance class, but it does help tone abdominal muscles. Typically, people should look for exercises that help accelerate the way they burn calories and combine these with a reduce calorie intake diet. This still does not guarantee that all belly fat will go, but overall fat loss is usually achieved by this method.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • Small amount of belly fat.
      Small amount of belly fat.
    • People may use exercise balls to do stomach crunches.
      People may use exercise balls to do stomach crunches.
    • Building muscle mass can accelerate the body's ability to burn fat.
      Building muscle mass can accelerate the body's ability to burn fat.
    • Abdominal exercises can build muscle, but do not have much affect on fat content.
      Abdominal exercises can build muscle, but do not have much affect on fat content.
    • People lose fat more quickly if they raise their heart rates to certain target levels.
      People lose fat more quickly if they raise their heart rates to certain target levels.
    • Aerobic exercise is essential when trying to lose belly fat.
      Aerobic exercise is essential when trying to lose belly fat.