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Are Situps Good for Weight Loss?

By Pam Murphy ; Updated July 18, 2017

Situps strengthen and tone your abs and obliques, but you won't see the results of your hard work unless you burn more calories than you consume. Even though situps alone aren't likely to produce weight loss, muscle-strengthening exercises contribute to reshaping your body and improving your health, which helps you look and feel better when you reach your goal weight. Check with your doctor before starting a weight loss and exercise regimen if you have a history of health problems or specific dietary or orthopedic concerns.

Calorie Considerations

Weight loss occurs when you establish a negative energy balance, so it's important to incorporate exercises into your fitness regimen that burn a moderate to significant number of calories. Physical activities that increase your heart rate and keep it continuously elevated for the duration of your workout make effective choices for weight loss. Compare situps, which burn around 44 calories in 10 minutes of moderate effort, to brisk walking, for example, which burns roughly 77 calories every 10 minutes, based on a body weight of 160 pounds. Calisthenics such as crunches, pushups and pullups define the muscles beneath body fat, but you need to burn the excess fat to see the difference.

Burning Fat

When you burn enough calories for weight loss, you lose excess fat all over your body rather than only in your stomach area, no matter how many situps you do. When you're overweight, excess fat is distributed throughout your body, even though you may have specific spots you consider problem areas. Body shape and the tendency to store more fat in your hips, waist or upper body is genetic. Reaching a healthy weight and developing toned, strong muscles in your stomach leads to lost inches in your waistline, as well as in other areas.

Energy Deficit

To implement a healthy strategy for weight loss, start by estimating how many calories it takes to maintain your current weight. For help, refer to the estimated calorie needs for weight maintenance provided by the American Heart Association on its website. You can lose weight gradually by consuming this number of calories, as long as you increase your caloric expenditure by burning more calories through aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, jogging or bicycling. However, you may want to boost weight loss potential by setting your calorie target at 250 to 500 fewer calories than your weight maintenance target.

Balanced Approach

Situps do help with weight loss, in the sense that they help you build metabolism-boosting muscle, as well as provide a toning workout that will pay off as you lose weight. Continue your ab-work routine, but make it part of a holistic approach to weight loss. The quality and quantity of your diet, as well as getting 30 to 60 minutes or more of aerobic exercise daily, plays a significant role in healthy weight loss. Complement aerobic exercise with two weekly strength-training routines that include situps and you'll see positive results over time.

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