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Spot Reduction: A Bodybuilding Myth.

  • By Vishwanthar on Training

  • November 6, 2009

“You know my friend was very sure that high repetition of abdominal situps, crunches, or any other abdominal work will help us tremendously to trim down the waist. His gym coach was also of the opinion that if you want to burn fat in and around the love handles, you will have to do high repetitions of side bends and side twists as well as the rotating device which is a staple in many gyms. So coach, what do you have to say about that?” I have been continually asked the above query by newbie’s who join my fitness facility. I have always experienced that whenever my body fat is to the lowest, my lower back goes for a toss. It stiffens abruptly, thus not allowing me to do any kind of direct abdominal work. So if you see my pictures where I am exhibiting a shredded midsection, you should also know that in the later stages of reaching lower levels of body fat I never did any abdominal work whatsoever, but I still posed a shredded midsection.

Let’s see what Dr Mel Siff, one of the groundbreaking fitness scientist, had to state about this bodybuilding myth: “What they are claiming is that local or spot reduction is possible with high repetition exercise, something which has never been shown to occur to any major extent by any research to date. All that the high repetitions are likely to do is increase muscle bulk, more especially in the advanced athletes or novice to heavy training. He further adds, no amount of situps without a decrease in caloric intake will trim your waist, so don’t believe all marketing hype about these miraculous midriff trimming toys which benefit the coffers of the marketers far more than the shape of your body.” It definitely doesn’t surprise me when Dr Mel Siff vehemently ridicules these claims. Dr Mel Siff precisely states that spot reduction, generally, doesn’t occur. You can ask any learned fitness trainers on this planet and they would invariably suggest that burning fat at a desired region is far from true.

You advice people that spot reduction is a myth and they are going to mistrust you. Somehow, the belief that you can reduce your waist size by doing regular abdomen work is ingrained in our beliefs, for it is very difficult to tackle that issue. Individuals who have trained for a longer period in a gym set up and if they would have introspected on this issue, very clearly they would have realized that spot reduction won’t occur no matter what fancy exercise you do. So beware of the ad which tells that these set of exercises or some particular gadget is going help you to build a shredded midsection.

Likewise, even the fitness model or the bodybuilder who is promoting the trash device in a TV commercial knows very well that these contrivances would not help us in anyway whatsoever, for he would have reduced his calorie intake and performed high intense workouts for a considerable time to acquire that shredded look. For example, the sauna belt which is now touted to produce amazing results and give us a six pack is an absolute fraud. How on earth can a vibrating belt reduce your fat? Scientific research nowhere suggests that such a miracle occurs. I can’t believe when people have come to me and asked whether they would be of any benefit using the belt. I still find them not to believe my words, and moreover, they want to give it a definite try, as they all want an easy way-out. Sooner or later they will realize that it will not help them in anyway.

In addition, how are these companies which promulgate these products making huge money? They are making merry on our weaknesses and are thus capitalizing on our laziness. We all want instant results without any effort. It is time we face the fact. We all know that Rome was not built in a single day. This reminds me of the the famous quote by Joe Girard, a famous motivational speaker, which I read almost every day, as it is pasted on our gym wall: “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs… one step at a time.” I do hope you understand the above statement, for it generates immense insight.
So what on earth do we have to do to burn the fat? Do we have a way out? Contextual calorie reduction, regular exercise, avoiding junk altogether will pave the path towards possessing a trim waist, but not by doing innumerable repetitions of abdominal situps, crunches, or using some junk (sauna belt) device. I know that this debate is far from over. It is just a minute attempt to send the right message.

5 thoughts on “Spot Reduction: A Bodybuilding Myth.

  1. Nice Post, i would like to say a word that the word MYTH indeed relegated to the area of lies…and would like highlight this sentence which is so TRUE

    “They are making merry on our weaknesses and are thus capitalizing on our laziness. We all want instant results without any effort.”
    That’s what is present world all about…! [INSTANT AND FAST] 🙂

  2. coach,

    U hit the nail right on the head, I see so many ppl saying “I just wanna get rid of my tummy”. Only if it was as easy as doing a 100 crunches a day. I think TV and modern fitness guru’s are responsible for this.

  3. Very True, lazy buffs like me always dream of reducing the waistline without wanting to take the pain of regular workouts and strict diet.

  4. Sir,
    what really disheartens me is seeing that for everyone of coaches like you there are hundred more Bodybuilders who themselves are unqualified to tell people anything ,telling people that spot reduction is possible…. asking people to take light weight and do hundreds of repetitions ,that is not a challenge even for a newbie… telling girls that lifting will make them muscular..and hundred other lies..

    they have all the time in the world.. why don’t they just want to learn anything ?

  5. Hello Sir,
    I completely go by your words and this is such an informative article, i wish people would read this and realize, coz i have seen many of my freinds and relatives buying sauna belt..I have actually requested them not to.
    I have a funny instance where one of my friend bought a belt and started using it, he strictly followed instructions on the manual and started doin dieting “Extensively”. within a week he had lost 1kg of body weight, he was so happy, but he was complaining that he often felt tiered , they all had misinterpreted it , the actual thing was he had got jaundice !!!(he is absolutely fine now).
    Later he used the “BELT” for so many days but , result was a big ZERO..

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