Despite regular workouts and practically starving yourself, there may be some parts of your body that you flinch at when looking in the mirror. Wouldn’t it be great if someone told you there’s an exercise to target that particular spot. Fat spot reduction is one of the most debated topics in fitness circles. A general theory is that some exercise moves will help reduce fat in specific body areas. For instance, consistently doing leg lifts will cut fat around hips and thighs. A vast pool of experts negates the effectiveness of fat spot reduction. They firmly believe that a comprehensive approach covering a solid nutritional profile and physical activity can help people shed weight from the desired areas. This article examines various fat reduction methods and covers how to slim down specific body parts.
What Is Fat Spot Reduction?
The theory of spot fat reduction has been widely promoted in the health and fitness domain. It is a form of training that reduces subcutaneous fat from specific body parts. The logic is that directing all workout efforts to a particular spot will encourage fat loss in that area. Thighs, butt, and waistline are common areas where people wish to lose weight. Arm fat loss is also a concern for many people.
You must look for an exercise to target specific organs. For example, people who aren’t happy with the sides of their torso or hips will perform constant Russian twists and side planks. Likewise, athletes who wish to reduce the size of their breasts often focus on bench presses and dumbbell flyes.
Below are some details on reducing fat from your back, face, and lower belly.
Can You Spot Reduce Back Fat?
A healthy diet, workout routine, and calorie deficit focusing on the lower and upper back can reduce your back fat.
The following exercises target lower back muscles, including extensors and obliques. You can perform them at home or the gym as they require minimal equipment.
This exercise aims at the obliques. It tones your love handles and lower back.
- Lie on the right side with legs stacked on each other.
- Keep your left hand behind your head while placing the right hand wherever you feel comfortable.
- Squeeze the obliques as you draw the left leg upward towards your arm, which stays stable on your head. You will bring the left arm towards the left knee.
- Repeat this movement several times before you switch to the opposite side.
The Superman exercise targets the lower back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Begin by lying face down on a mat or soft surface with your arms extended out in front of you.
- Engage your core and raise your arms, legs, and chest as if you were flying like Superman. Keep your neck and spine neutral, and avoid arching your back too much.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your body to the ground.
- Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions, typically 10 to 15 times.
To increase the difficulty of the exercise, you can hold a lightweight or resistance band in your hands while performing the movements.
Rowing exercise focuses on the back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi. You can perform this exercise using a rowing machine or a resistance band.
- If using a rowing machine, sit on the seat with your feet securely placed on the footrests. If using a resistance band, sit on the ground with your feet firmly planted and hold the resistance band in both hands.
- Lean forward and reach your arms in front of you, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your core engaged.
- Inhale as you bend your elbows and pull the handle or resistance band towards your chest. Keep your elbows close to your body and your wrists straight.
- Exhale as you straighten your arms and extend them back in front of you, returning to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times.
A sedentary lifestyle or lack of cardio exercises can contribute to back fat accumulation. Furthermore, a diet enriched with sodium or sugar can also cause inflammation, highlighting fat and bloating. It is essential to work on all factors, not just the workouts.
Can You Spot Reduce Face Fat?
Spot-reducing fat in specific areas is often debated. But you can improve your overall facial appearance by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and practicing good skincare habits.
Some specific facial exercises may also help tone and define the facial muscles, giving the appearance of a slimmer and more defined face (1).
- Stand or sit in a comfortable position with your head upright, and your shoulders relaxed.
- Inhale deeply through your nose, filling your cheeks with air.
- Hold the air in your cheeks for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth, making an “O” shape with your lips.
- Repeat the same movements around 10 to 15 times.
- Stand or sit while relaxing your shoulders and keeping your head straight.
- Clench your teeth and jaw tightly, then push your lower jaw forward as far as it will go.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, then relax and return to the starting position.
- Repeat this workout around 10 to 15 times.
Even though the market is filled with many slimming devices claiming to boost facial fat loss, a comprehensive weight loss approach is always preferred. It is more sustainable, and your face will appear slimmer as you add to your workout routine.
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Can You Spot Reduce Lower Belly Fat?
While there is a constant debunking of myths regarding fat spot reduction, many people are still interested in ways to reduce lower belly fat.
For starters, you should find out what increases your lower belly fat. For example, people with high insulin or cortisol may deposit fat in the abdominal area. Also, many females store fat in the lower belly because of age, genetics, and hormonal factors.
Once you have identified the cause, you can begin your targeted weight loss journey. The best part is that you will burn extra fat from your entire body.
Listed below are also a few exercises that will be helpful in this regard:
The hundred is a classic Pilates exercise that targets the core, arms, and leg muscles. It can be performed as part of a Pilates or strength training routine.
- Lie on your back on a mat or soft surface. Keep your arms by your sides and your legs extended straight.
- Engage your core and lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground slightly.
- Reach your arms straight out in front of you and lift your legs off the ground, hovering just a few inches above the ground.
- Pump your arms up and down, keeping them straight and parallel to the ground while lifting and lowering your legs.
- Continue the exercise for 100 pumps of the arms while taking quick, shallow breaths through your nose.
- To modify the exercise, you can keep your legs on the ground and only pump your arms, or you can keep your arms by your sides and lift and lower your legs.
This is an exercise that is often included in the Pilates workout. It targets the lower belly muscles, hip flexors, and glutes.
- Lie down on the mat and keep your arms at your sides.
- Bring one leg towards your chest, keeping the other leg straight.
- Quickly switch the position of your legs, bringing the extended leg up towards your chest and the bent leg out straight.
- Continue to switch the position of your legs in a scissor-like motion, maintaining control and keeping your core engaged.
- Do this exercise several times
Remember that healthy habits tend to have a domino effect. Consider supplementing your exercise with nutrition and positive lifestyle changes. You should seek assistance from a medical professional if you are undergoing a health condition.
How Do You Break Down Fat Deposits?
Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your organs and causes them to stick out. You can reduce visceral fat by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce visceral fat:
Avoid processed foods and sugars. These tend to be loaded with belly-bloating fructose and will increase your risk for belly fat (4). Instead, choose whole grains like brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice or pasta. You may also try sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes when cooking at home.
Consume Lean Protein
Eat lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey breast, and fish daily. Try incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet and beans and lentils for added fiber and protein.
Make Healthy Swaps
Instead of butter, use unsweetened almond or coconut oil for cooking the veggies instead of olive oil. When baking, try switching out butter for applesauce– or, use stevia instead.
The Bottom Line
It is about time we get rid of the idea that fat spot reduction could help us lose weight from specific body parts.
No matter how often you see this concept being perpetuated by fitness trainers or television infomercials, no one can change the fact. You must adopt a wholesome approach to lose all the unnecessary fat. Curate a diet plan, a sleep schedule, and a workout regime to achieve your goal.
Also, don’t expect overnight results. It takes intensive effort and thorough consistency to witness incredible fitness outcomes!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- The effectiveness of facial exercises for facial rejuvenation: a systematic review (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Relationship between Whole Grain Intake and Body Weight: Results of Meta-Analyses of Observational Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials (2019, .ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- 11 Things That Make You Gain Belly Fat (2021, healthline.com)