Why Crunches Alone Won't Burn Belly Fat | STACK Fitness

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Why Crunches Alone Won't Burn Belly Fat

March 27, 2013 | Joe Giandonato

Must See Strength Training Videos

If you're trying to burn belly fat and tone your abs, it's almost guaranteed that you're performing Crunches. If you are, you are not alone. Many gym-goers target their belly fat with this popular exercise. (Learn if you should do Crunches.)

It makes sense that repeatedly contracting your abs will burn belly fat, because that's the area you are working. Crunches do burn calories—a minimum of 68 calories per 10 minutes; however, working your abs does not mean you will burn stomach fat.[1]

Do Crunches Burn Belly Fat?

A study indicated that abdominal exercise alone, including Crunches, was not effective in reducing local abdominal fat stores.[2] Fat is generally burned in the opposite order it was put on. So if the last place you put on fat was your thighs, they will be the first place it will come off.

Rather than Crunching your valuable gym time away, spend it performing exercises that involve more muscles, such as Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Rows and Olympic lifts. Because you will be using large muscles, you will burn more calories, develop a stronger core and cause your body to continue burning calories after you complete your workout. (Learn how to build true core strength.)

Ab exercises such as Planks, and even Crunches, won't necessarily cause you to burn stomach fat. However, a balanced workout program combined with these exercises will accelerate fat loss and help you get the stomach you've always dreamed of.


[1]  www.healthstatus.com/
[2] Vispute SS, Smith JD, LeCheminant JD, et al. "The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat." J Strength Cond Res. 2011.

Topics: BURN FAT | ABS
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 70,557
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 19,026
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 78,399
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

Squatting is simple, right? Grab the weight, sit down, stand up - BOOM. Massive gains in strength and size, right? Hold on. Squatting is simple, but not...

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

Develop Core Strength for Throwing

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Improve Soccer Agility with Lateral Strength Exercises

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

Perfect Your Squat Technique With the Unloaded Squat

How NOT to Perform a Pull-Up (With Fixes)

Mike Boyle's 5 Tips for More Effective Workouts

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes

How to Design a Greco-Roman Wrestling Training Program

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

How Often Should You Vary Your Exercise?

How Functional Training Has Overly Complicated Strength Training

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

5 Exercises to Develop Soccer Power

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

A Better Way to Train Your Core

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

Reach New Training Heights With Resistance Band Exercises

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

4 Lifts to Build Wrestling Strength

4 Exercises to Build True Lacrosse Power

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise