Why can not burn fat locally: a review of research

This article analyzes data Zozhnik research, we are able to still get rid of the fat with the help of targeted training in any particular area of ​​the body, for example - with the "twists for burning belly fat? "

A recent article about ourwhile the growth of muscles and burning fatIt aroused the interest of our readers, one of whom said: "Well, it remains to wait to justify local fat burning." We have already published the text "Why can not burn fat locally"And decided to refresh its own review of the research on this topic: Is it possible to frantically press training, burn fat just above his dice?

How to burn fat

Actually, if a little vdatsya the details and realize how burns fat rashochetsya immediately make bending in the direction to "remove the barrel", hanging from the jeans.

Briefly and simply, the fat burning process consists of three stages:

1. The mobilization of fat (lipolysis) - splitting of triglycerides (which are stored in fat cells) into fatty acids and glycerol with their subsequent release into the bloodstream. That is, under the influence of biochemical reactions of the body enters "team" of energy shortages and the need to make up for it at the expense of fat reserves.

2. Then the fat dissolved in the blood (as fatty acid) is transported to the place of the oxidation (incineration),
3. Oxidation - incineration itself fatty acids for energy production.

Scientists have long been interested in the question whether it is possible to burn fat locally and conducted a lot of research. We have selected the most notable and characteristic study on whether it is possible to burn fat in any particular place, if the train is a specific place?

Study #1. Tenissisty and their hands

Now plunge in the scientific data. Back in 1971, scientists from the College of Medicine at the University of California decided to test the concept of local fat burning. They measured the circumference of the hand and the thickness of the fat folds on both hands in a group of tennis players. It is no secret that tennis players leading hand (which they always racket) regularly receives more load than the hand in which the racket is not.

Supporters of burning fat with the help of special "fat-burning exercise" should think and fat-dominant arm should burn more?

results: An active arm circumference tennis men's forearm by an average of 2.25 cm more than the less active hand, and women - on the 1.15 cm.

With regard to thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer, between right and left handed tennis players no significant difference was observed. Note that this is despite the fact that, compared with the inactive hand, "working" hand in tennis is doing a huge amount of work during training and games.

The conclusion of scientists: This study is a direct proof of the failure of the local fat burning concept.

Of course, after this study was conducted still many experiments, which resulted in the scientists have come to conflicting conclusions. However, the methods of analysis of body composition in the majority of the studies of the last century left much to be desired - to assess changes in the subcutaneous adipose tissue is mainly used calipers.

If you see an offer on any website to burn fat in a particular place - safely close it.

Study #2. Now much more accurate - with the help of MRI

It is because of weak methods for assessing body composition changes, which have been used in most of the studies in previous years, the group American-Irish team decided to conduct an experiment using a more accurate method of body composition analysis - MRI (although the method kaliperometrii is also used). The study was published in 2007, published by the ACSM journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

In the 12-week study, 104 people (45 men and 59 women), 2 times a week to train one non-dominant hand, doing exercises 5 (3 for biceps and triceps 2) for 3 sets each.

It is worth noting - at baseline themselves experts hypothesize that after analysis of changes on MRI are find a significant reduction in the amount of subcutaneous fat in the coached arm compared to netreniruemoy.

resultsWhen scientists evaluated the changes in fat mass on the basis of MRI, it turned out that the amount of subcutaneous adipose tissue on both hands of all participants equally changed.

The conclusion of scientists: The results of this study It confirms the conventional wisdom that weight training does not lead to a local fat burning. Analysis of the data based on the MRI showed that fat loss occurs systemically throughout the body.

Screenshot with a simple answer: NO. Or rather - to control the place where burn significant amounts of fat - it is impossible. You can reduce the amount of fat in the body, but you can not tell it what to burn.

Study #3. Can I, shaking the press, reduce body fat just above the press?

In 2011, a study (Vispute et al.) Was presented in the journal The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, which subjects for 6 weeks consuming the same amount of calories, but they were divided into 2 groups: the first (control) did not I trained at all, and the second - 5 days was training a week, with each workout with 7 exercises on abdominal muscles to 2 approach 10 repetitions.

results: Scientists found no significant differences between the two groups of subjects in indicators such as total body weight, the total percentage body fat, the percentage of fat in the abdomen, waist circumference, skinfold thickness on the abdomen and in the iliac crest (cm. in the photo below).

Fat thickness measurement folds in the iliac crest.

The conclusion of scientists6 weeks of exercises for the abdominal muscles is not enough to reduce the subcutaneous adipose tissue in the abdominal area and improve other indicators of body composition. It was found that during the study participants were training significantly improved the endurance of the abdominal muscles performance, compared with the control group.

Study #4. We train only one leg and see how much fat it loses

In 2013, all in the same The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research Chilean assistants (Ramirez-Campillo et al.) Indicated that in the circles of scholars debate on the topic of local fat burning is still not terminated. They mention several studies, which both confirmed and denied the ability to training locally from fat stores to mobilize adjacent to coached subcutaneous muscle layer fat.

As a result, another experiment was conducted in which to study how strength training one leg appears to change the total body composition and specifically coached area.

For 12 weeks, participants were trained only one - the weaker leg, giving classes 3 days a week. Each training session was performed one approach benching foot with 10-30% of the intensity 1 PM, each session lasted for 80 minutes.

Before beginning the next day after completion of the experiment, using the exact method of dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), experts conducted measurements metrics such as total body and bone mass, bone mineral density, fat and fat-free mass, and the percentage of fat in the body.

results: At the end of the experiment the subjects lost a significant portion of the fat mass in those parts of the body, they are not trained - in the hands (minus 50 g of fat) and the body (minus 520 g of fat). As for the legs, then any coached nor control the legs were no statistically significant changes in terms of fat mass and percentage fat.

What is interesting, the reduction in fat mass in the trunk and arms more significantly different from coached his feet than on the control. Number of fat mass coached leg decreased to an average of only 20 grams, while the control leg "lost" on average 70 grams of fat.

Detailed results of the study are presented in the table below. The most interesting figures enclosed in an oval.

Research findings: The results of this experiment show that when we train a certain muscle group, changes in fat mass can optionally be in the part of the body which is close to the coached muscle. The findings of our research in accordance with already undertaken experiments do not support the idea of ​​the local impact of resistance training on body fat coached in the area.

Research findings: The results of this experiment show that when we train a certain muscle group, changes in fat mass can optionally be in the part of the body which is close to the coached muscle. The findings of our research in accordance with already undertaken experiments do not support the idea of ​​the local impact of resistance training on body fat coached in the area.

Remove fat with only drums - can only surgically.

Study #5. Review of Lyle McDonald: local fat burning is still there, but it is close to zero

We mentioned earlier that some studies have confirmed the ability of training locally mobilize fat stores from the adjacent coached to muscle fat. Several years ago, a review of one of these studies presented a sports physiologist Lyle McDonald.

In that study (2007), participants performed a leg extension with three different intensity levels: 25%, 55% and 85% of the maximum output power. The goal of researchers was to find out what the effect will be muscle contraction on lipolysis and blood flow to the muscles in the surrounding fat cells. Note fatty acid oxidation was not measured, and this is the very burning fat.

It was found that when the participants were trained on low and medium levels of intensity, compared with netreniruemoy foot, in adipose tissue located atop coached legs, the level of increase lipolysis and increased blood flow were higher. At a load of 85% of the maximum output power differences in these rates was not between feet.

The results showed: in the adipose tissue, which is located on top of the coached muscles, there is a local increase in lipolysis and blood flow. Thus, based on these findings, the researchers pointed out that 30 minutes of exercise for every muscle adjacent to the 100 grams of fat tissue to mobilize additional 0.6-2.1 milligrams of fat.

To explain to the reader how these numbers are minuscule and have no meaning in real life, MacDonald conducts the calculation for a person whose body at a certain area (for example, over the abdomen) accumulated 5 kg fat. Such a person in 30 minutes press workout at best mobilized additional 0.03-0.1 grams of fat from his 5 kg.

To paraphrase an expression Laila, say: if this person will continue to train the muscles of the abdomen, in the hope to "solve" his dice, he will achieve his goal in about 1000 years.

conclusion specialist: Training a muscle may actually affect the metabolism in fat cells, which are located on top of the muscle itself. but in the real world, the amount of additionally mobilized fat has absolutely no effect on the local fat burning.

Shock and Awe: to remove fat from the abdomen is necessary to remove all the fat, then he will go with the belly too.


Although we are able to mobilize through targeted additional training (negligible) amount adjacent to coached fat muscle, it is not sufficient to obtain at least some visible effect, and research data is clearly confirm.

Thus, if we discard all the details of the processes taking place inside our body and get back to real life, you can say with certainty that training a certain part of the body for the purpose of local fat burning - it's a waste time.

👉Podpisyvaytes on Instagram Zozhnika: the best article in a convenient format @zozhnik_ru


  • G. Gwinup et al., Thickness of Subcutaneous Fat and Activity of Underlying Muscles, 1 March 1971, Vol 74, No. 3
  • Vispute S. S., Smith J. D. et al., The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat, J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Sep; 25(9):2559-64,
  • Kostek M. et al, Subcutaneous Fat Alterations Resulting from an Upper-Body Resistance Training Program, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 7 - pp 1177-1185,.
  • R. Ramirez-Campillo et al, Regional Fat Changes Induced by Localized Muscle Endurance Resistance Training, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27 (8):. 2219-2224 · August 2013
  • Are Blood Flow and Lipolysis in Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Influenced by Contractions in Adjacent Muscle in Humans - Research Review, bodyrecomposition.com.

Read also on Zozhnike:

Guide Zozhniku

Natural methods: how to lower cholesterol without medication

Why does the glycemic index of food is not important

The science of vegetarianism: whether to extend the life of the rejection of meat and fish?

Compatibility: Do you need to take vitamins separately?

  • Share:
Instagram story viewer