Twisting a Waist for Losing Weight

You can’t twist or shout your way thin. Whittling your waist requires increased cardiovascular activity and a portion-controlled, healthy diet. Twisting your waist to lose weight will leave you frustrated and potentially injured.


Infomercials try to sell you contraptions that twist away your belly. You sit on these machines and rotate side to side while holding handles. Although the models selling these gimmicks are svelte, chances are they didn’t get their results from regular use of the machine. Other twisting exercises promise to strengthen the core -- primarily the obliques surrounding the sides of your trunk. While slow, controlled twists done while standing are valuable for overall core strength, which enhances balance and athletic performance, they will not help you lose weight.

Spot Reducing

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Regardless of how much twisting you do, it is unlikely to cause you to lose the layer of fat lying on top of your abdominal muscles. Chief exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise Cedric X. Bryant points to a study published in the mid-1980s that subjected male subjects to 5,000 situps over 27 days. When fat biopsies were taken from the participants’ abdomens, the changes there were no different than other areas of the body. If you combine twisting with a low-calorie diet and other increased activity, it may appear that you are losing weight from your abdomen, but you are just losing weight all over. Spot strengthening is possible -- spot reducing is not.

Injury Potential

Len Kravitz, Ph.D., of the University of New Mexico not only calls twisting activities ineffective for fat loss -- he goes so far as to say they could be dangerous. Standing twists are often done without weight and quickly, as in kickboxing classes. Over time, this twisting can put stress on the spinal vertebrae, setting you up for strain and pain. If you use a weight machine that facilitates rotation, you can strengthen the obliques and deep transverse abdominus muscles, but not lose weight. Proper form is essential, however, so check with a personal trainer for an evaluation.


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You can’t take a shortcut to weight loss. You must create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn. Making healthier choices at meals, such as choosing lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and reducing portion sizes can help you trim calories. Increasing the amount of calorie-burning exercises you do -- from jogging to cycling to dancing to household chores -- can help you burn more calories so you lose fat all over, including the abdomen. Twisting can only lead to weight loss if it burns significant calories, but most twisting exercises done in a slow, safe manner will not burn enough calories to lead to weight loss.