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What are Ineffective Belly Fat Exercises?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
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Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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