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- ACE Fitness: So, You Want to Spot Reduce? Here’s How
- ACE Fitness: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises; Mark Anders; May/June 2001
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Exercise is an important component of a successful fat-loss program because it increases the total number of calories you burn. However, not all exercise types are effective at burning calories. The lying down bicycle crunch exercise is among the best exercises for developing your core strength and muscular tone, but there are more efficient activities for losing body fat.
Lying Down Bicycle Exercise
The lying down bicycle crunch is the most effective exercise for recruiting your rectus abdominis and obliques muscles, according to a 2001 study by the American Council on Exercise. To perform the bicycle crunch, lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent, hands positioned behind your head and elbows flared out. Extend your right leg with your right foot hovering above the floor about six to 12 inches. Exhale, bend your left knee toward your head; and simultaneously lift your head and shoulders off the mat and move your right elbow toward your left knee. Inhale and on your next exhale, extend your left leg and bring your left elbow toward your bent right knee. Continue in this manner until you are fatigued. Work your way up to 15 per side over time.
Bicycle Crunch for Losing Fat
Although the lying down bicycle exercise effectively develops strength and size in your abdominal muscles, it’s not an effective activity for losing body fat. It’s important to distinguish between fat tissue and muscle tissue. These tissues are separate entities and completely independent of each other. According to the American Council on Exercise, it is not possible to utilize abdominal exercises to decrease fat, and it’s not possible to spot reduce or target where you will lose body fat 1.
Effective Fat Loss
To lose body fat, you must increase the number of calories that you burn by participating in consistent physical activity, decrease the number of calories you consume by making healthy eating and drinking decisions or, ideally, performing a combination of both. When you burn more calories than you consume, your body breaks down your stored body fat for fuel. Therefore, the exercise activities that are effective at causing body-fat loss are the ones that burn a significant number of calories. Cardiovascular activities such as running or biking are the best for burning calories.
Although they won’t contribute to fat loss, it is beneficial to perform abdominal strength training exercises, such as the lying down bicycle crunch, alongside your body fat-burning cardiovascular activities. Regularly completing the lying bicycle crunch two or three days per week will develop your abdominal strength and tone. Once you lose excess fat, your developed muscles will become visible.
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