Blog Weight Loss Is The Japanese Towel Exercise an Effective Way to Burn Belly Fat?

Is The Japanese Towel Exercise an Effective Way to Burn Belly Fat?

Solutions for belly fat are as numerous as stars in the sky. Some promise overnight results with minimal effort, others require stringent diets and grueling workouts. And if you’re looking to tone your midsection without resorting to extreme measures, you’ll find the sheer number of options overwhelming as well.

The Japanese towel exercise is among these unconventional methods that have gained popularity. Popularized on TikTok by fitness enthusiasts, this exercise involves a simple routine with a rolled-up towel and a few minutes of your time each day.

So, is this the one solution that will finally help you shed those stubborn pounds around your waistline? Here’s what you need to know about the effectiveness of the Japanese towel exercise for burning belly fat.

What Is the Japanese Towel Exercise?

Toshiki Fukutsudzi, a Japanese doctor, originally created the towel exercise to improve posture and relieve back pain. The routine involves sitting on the floor with a rolled-up towel under your lower back for support. You then need to spend a few minutes in this position while engaging your core muscles and taking deep breaths (11).

The concept behind this exercise is that by correcting your posture and aligning your spine you can indirectly flatten the appearance of belly fat. Poor posture is believed to contribute to a protruding belly, and according to Fukutsudzi, correcting it will help you achieve a flatter stomach.

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Does the Japanese Towel Method Really Work for Weight Loss?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of the Japanese Towel Exercise for burning belly fat or toning abs. While correcting your posture can have numerous benefits, there’s no guarantee that it will specifically target the fat around your midsection.

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In addition, spot reduction (targeting fat loss in a specific area) is not possible. When you lose weight, it happens all over your body, and no exercise differs from that. So, while the towel exercise may help improve posture and potentially correct the placement of your pelvis (1), it won’t magically make belly fat disappear.

Our Tabata Yoga blog post illustrates further how exercise, in general, can help you improve your posture and burn belly fat.

Other Factors to Consider

A flat stomach and/or toned abs is due to a combination of factors, and it’s not always an achievable goal by everyone.


You may be genetically predisposed to storing fat in your midsection, making it harder to lose belly fat (9). While you can’t control your genes, you can focus on overall weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

You may also be genetically predisposed to a certain body type, such as having a naturally curvy or athletic build. This can also affect the appearance of your stomach and abs.


Eating a nutrient-dense, balanced diet is crucial for weight loss and overall health. Cutting back on processed sugars and unhealthy fats can help reduce belly fat. However, spot reduction is not possible with any specific food or diet (12).


Regular exercise is essential for overall health and weight loss. A combination of cardio and strength training can help burn calories and build muscle, which can lead to a toned stomach over time (4). While the Japanese Towel Exercise could be an addition to your fitness routine, it should not be relied upon as the sole method for achieving a flat stomach.

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japanese towel exercise  

Hormonal Factors

Hormonal imbalances can also contribute to weight gain and make it harder to lose belly fat (14). For some individuals, seeking medical advice and possibly hormone therapy may be necessary for achieving their desired body composition.

Read more: Japanese Eggplant Recipes: A Taste of Japan at Home

What Is The Japanese Towel Swing Exercise?

The Japanese Towel Swing Exercise is another variation of the original towel exercise, involving swinging a rolled-up towel from side to side while lying on the floor. While this may provide some resistance and help engage core muscles, it is not a significant enough movement to contribute to weight loss or toning.

Japanese Towel Exercise Benefits

Despite its lack of evidence for burning belly fat, the Japanese Towel Exercise can still provide some benefits:

  • Improved posture: Correcting your posture can help alleviate back pain and prevent future issues (1).
  • Mindfulness: Spending a few minutes each day focusing on deep breathing and engaging your core muscles can provide a sense of relaxation and mindfulness (1).
  • Additional core strengthening: While it may not directly target belly fat, the towel exercise can still help strengthen your core muscles (1).
  • Low cost and accessibility: The Japanese towel exercise requires only a rolled-up towel and a few minutes of time, making it accessible for most individuals.
See also
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If you’re thinking of trying out the Japanese Towel Exercise for some benefits, check out our BetterMe Pilates Mat – a product designed for maximum comfort and support during floor exercises.

Japanese Towel Exercise Side Effects

There are no apparent risks or side effects associated with the Japanese towel exercise, as long as it is performed correctly. However, if you experience any discomfort or pain it’s best to stop the exercise and consult a healthcare professional.

Is The Japanese Towel Exercise Safe?

The Japanese Towel Exercise is safe for most individuals, but it’s essential to listen to your body and not push yourself beyond your limits.

Pregnant women, for example, may not be able to perform this exercise comfortably. It’s always best to consult with a doctor before starting any new fitness routine, especially during pregnancy.

Best Time To Do Japanese Towel Exercise

According to the exercise creator, the best time to do the Japanese Towel Exercise is in the morning on an empty stomach. However, there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim, and you can perform the exercise at any time that works for you.

The only condition is that you don’t use the Japanese Towel Exercise for belly fat only; you understand exactly what it can and cannot do for you.

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What Are Japanese Tricks for Weight Loss?

Japanese culture is known for its healthy lifestyle practices, including a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

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These practices can contribute to overall weight loss and a healthier lifestyle, but there’s no one “Japanese trick” for losing belly fat or body weight. Our blog on a Japanese breakfast banana diet for simple and quick weight loss contains further reading on this 

japanese towel exercise  

That said, some Japanese principles that are holistic and may contribute to weight loss include:

Ichi-Ju Sansai Principle

This is a traditional Japanese meal structure, meaning “one soup and three sides”. Its origins lie in the concept of consuming a variety of nutrient-dense, balanced meals with smaller portion sizes.

Hara Hachi Bu Principle

This is another traditional Japanese practice that translates to “eat until you’re 80% full”. The idea behind this principle is to stop eating before feeling completely full, which can prevent overeating and weight gain.

Acclimating Your Body

Some Japanese believe that eating specific foods based on your climate can help acclimate your body and potentially aid in weight loss. For example, consuming warming foods in colder climates or cooling foods in warmer climates (13).

The research on these practices and their direct effects on weight loss is limited, but they can contribute to a healthier overall lifestyle since they promote mindfulness as far as food choices. 

Japanese Diet

The Japanese diet can be a healthy and balanced way of eating that may contribute to weight loss. It focuses on whole foods, including fish, vegetables, rice, and soy products. This diet is also typically low in processed sugars and unhealthy fats (15).

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Check out our blog on the Shokuiku Diet; a diet based on traditional Japanese eating patterns and practices.

Half-Body Bath

Some Japanese believe that taking a half-body bath (immersing your body in a tub with half of your torso exposed) can help stimulate metabolism and promote weight loss (5). However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Ice baths (similar to cold water exposure therapy) have shown some evidence for boosting metabolism and promoting weight loss (6), but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any extreme temperature therapy.

Long-Breath Diet

The Long-Breath Diet was a popular fad diet in Japan that claimed to promote weight loss by practicing breathing out slowly for longer periods. The idea behind this diet is that exhaling slowly can help burn more fat (10). However, there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this diet for weight loss.

Deep breathing as a stress-relief technique may have some benefits for overall health and potentially promote weight loss indirectly by reducing stress and emotional eating.

In our blog titled Japanese Breakfast Banana Diet for Simple and Quick Weight Loss, we explore how a healthy diet and lifestyle can contribute to weight loss.

Read more: Japanese Sweet Potato: Nutrition, Health Benefits, and Recipes

japanese towel exercise  


  • What Japanese Superfood Burns Fat?

There is no specific Japanese superfood that has been proven to burn fat. However, many traditional Japanese foods are nutrient-dense and low in processed sugars and unhealthy fats, making them a part of a healthy diet for weight loss.

There are some specific foods, such as matcha green tea and seaweed that are popular in Japan and have potential health benefits, but they should not be solely relied on for weight loss.

  • What Is The 7-Second Weight Loss Secret?

The 7-Second Weight Loss Secret is a Japanese weight loss method that involves taking 7-second breaks in between bites of food. The idea behind this method is to give your body time to register fullness and prevent overeating. There is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this method for weight loss.

However, mindful eating and taking breaks between bites can promote healthier eating habits, which may contribute to weight loss.

  • What Are The Japanese Morning Drinks for Weight Loss?

Japanese morning drinks for weight loss are a blend of tradition, health, and simplicity. Here are some of the drinks commonly consumed:

  1. Green Tea (Matcha): Known for its rich antioxidant content, green tea, especially matcha, is believed to help boost metabolism, thus aiding in weight loss (8)
  2. Lukewarm Water: Japanese water therapy involves drinking several glasses of lukewarm water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. This practice is thought to kick-start metabolism and promote weight loss (7).
  3. Warm Water with Lime and Honey: Some suggest starting the day with a glass of warm water with lime and honey to kickstart metabolism
  4. Black Soybean Tea (Kuromame Tea): This tea is a part of the Japanese diet and has been highlighted for its potential benefits in weight loss (2).
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar Drink: A mixture of apple cider vinegar, honey, and water is believed to help with weight loss by boosting metabolism and suppressing appetite (3).

Remember, while these drinks are part of traditional Japanese practices, it’s always important to incorporate them into a balanced diet and regular exercise routine for effective weight loss.

  • What Is The Japanese Diet Enzyme?

The Japanese Diet Enzyme is a popular enzyme supplement that claims to aid in weight loss by helping the body digest food more effectively and promote healthy gut bacteria. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this supplement for weight loss.

The Bottom Line

While the Japanese Towel Exercise may have some benefits, it is not a magic solution for burning belly fat. A healthy and balanced lifestyle, including proper nutrition and regular exercise, is still the most effective way to achieve overall weight loss and a toned midsection.


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!


  1. 4 benefits of japanese towel exercise (n,d,
  2. Anti-obesity and hypolipidemic effects of black soybean anthocyanins (2007,
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Reduces the Risk of Obesity in High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats (2018,
  4. Exercise for weight loss (2019,
  5. Effects of room temperature on physiological and subjective responses during whole-body bathing, half-body bathing and showering (2002,
  6. Effect of Intermittent Cold Exposure on Brown Fat Activation, Obesity, and Energy Homeostasis in Mice (2014,
  7. Effect of ‘Water Induced Thermogenesis’ on Body Weight, Body Mass Index and Body Composition of Overweight Subjects (2013,
  8. Green tea for weight loss and weight maintenance in overweight or obese adults (2012,
  9. How much do my genes affect my ability to lose weight? (2020,
  10. Here’s How You Can Breathe and Meditate for Weight Loss (n,d,
  11. Japanese Weight Loss Technique (n,d,
  12. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance (2021,
  13. Relationship between Seasonal Changes in Food Intake and Energy Metabolism, Physical Activity, and Body Composition in Young Japanese Women (2022,
  14. The Role)) of Hormonal Factors in Weight Loss and Recidivism after Bariatric Surgery (2013,
  15. The Role of the Japanese Traditional Diet in Healthy and Sustainable Dietary Patterns around the World (2018,
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