Ask the Trainer: Does Spot Reduction Work?

Ive heard that just because you have muscle soreness, in say, your inner thighs that it doesen't mean you are losing inches or getting more tone there.  Is that true? - Amanda from FaceBook

Amanda - The answer to this may not be so cut and dried.

In the old days we used to tell people that there was no such thing as "spot reduction." Spot reduction is the idea that one might lose fat directly over the muscles they are using (i.e. inner thighs). A new Danish study suggests spot reduction actually works. They did a study on a small group of people where they did blood work as the study group did leg exercises. The blood work showed that the fat was being released from the area being worked. This suggests that spot reduction is plausible. The other thing is, old time bodybuilders (Larry Scott -world's 1st Mr Olympia; Arnold Schwarzenegger, just to name a couple) swear by spot reduction. These guys know more about the human body through trial and error than most other humans.

The take home here is - spot reduction might work to a degree. But, my experience tells me the degree of effectiveness is VERY small. I have seen people with very large hips doing tons and tons of hip exercises without change. This would suggest Spot reduction is a hoax, however the science of the peer reviewed Danish study appears to be valid and worthy of review.

Therefore IMHO If spot reduction works it will need to be combined with proper nutrition and exercise. Then - and only then - a little extra work on a trouble area may be advantageous.


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