Spot reduction

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Spot reduction refers to the fallacy that fat can be targeted for reduction from a specific area of the body and that it can be achieved through exercise of specific muscles in the desired area, such as exercising the abdominal muscles in an effort to lose weight in or around one's midsection. Advertisers exploit this concept when advertising exercise-related products.[1]

The scientific consensus among fitness experts and researchers is that spot reduction is a myth. Studies largely show that it is not possible to reduce fat in one area by exercising that body part alone.[2][3][4][5][6][7] Instead, fat is lost from the entire body as a result of diet and regular exercise.[4] Muscle growth in the abdominal region does not reduce fat in that region.[8] Instead, being on a caloric deficit is recommended for reducing abdominal fat.[9]

The misunderstanding may be attributed to the firming and shaping effect of muscle hypertrophy.[original research?] When additional muscle is built, it takes up new space which can briefly compress subdermal fat against the skin until the skin adapts, a larger bulging muscle shape is also more easily seen through the layer of fat on top of it. This can give the illusion of fat being reduced when it has not. For example, triceps hypertrophy firming the back of the arm.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fat loss and weight training myths". Retrieved 2008-06-10. [unreliable medical source?]
  2. ^ Perry, Elena (2001). "Targeted Fat Loss: Myth or Reality?". Yale Scientific. 
  3. ^ Nickol, Carolyn (2001). "Spot Fat Reduction". University Fitness Center, University of Cincinnati. 
  4. ^ a b Wilmore, Jack H.; Costill, David L. (1999). Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics. ISBN 978-0-7360-0084-0. [page needed]
  5. ^ Ramírez-Campillo, Rodrigo; Andrade, David C.; Campos-Jara, Christian; Henríquez-Olguín, Carlos; Alvarez-Lepín, Cristian; Izquierdo, Mikel (2013). "Regional Fat Changes Induced by Localized Muscle Endurance Resistance Training". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 27 (8): 2219–24. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31827e8681. PMID 23222084. 
  6. ^ Vispute, Sachin S; Smith, John D; LeCheminant, James D; Hurley, Kimberly S (2011). "The Effect of Abdominal Exercise on Abdominal Fat". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 25 (9): 2559–64. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fb4a46. PMID 21804427. 
  7. ^ Katch, Frank I.; Clarkson, Priscilla M.; Kroll, Walter; McBride, Thomas; Wilcox, Anthony (1984). "Effects of Sit up Exercise Training on Adipose Cell Size and Adiposity". Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 55 (3): 242–7. doi:10.1080/02701367.1984.10609359. 
  8. ^ Dave Harshbarger. Wellness Program. West Virginia University.
  9. ^ "How to Lose Belly Fat: Tips for a Flatter Stomach". Retrieved 2012-06-25.