When I first started out, I would get asked, “How can I just tone (insert specific area as they grabbed it here)?”
I would hear that phrase and roll my eyes.
My answer would always be…”You can’t spot reduce an area.”
Like DUH! 😛
And you can’t….at least not in the way we like to try to…
BUT…have you noticed in fitness how there is always a BUT?…
Spot reduction DOES actually exist.
Again…just not in the way most of us have tried to do it.
You can’t go do a bazillion crunches or tricep extensions or repetitions on the adductor machine and expect to transform that one targeted area of your body. No amount of sit ups is going to get you a flat stomach if you don’t lose enough total body fat. Just like no amount of walking is going to magically erase fat from a region if you don’t lose enough body fat overall.
HOWEVER, there are ways you can OPTIMIZE your fat loss from specific areas!
AKA you CAN actually spot reduce.
So how can spot reduction work if it isn’t by just doing a bazillion moves targeted at a specific area?
Well see…we aren’t WRONG in wanting to work a specific area. That is just ONE STEP in the process.
The problem is…All too often that is where we stop.
For spot reduction or spot lipolysis to actually work we need to work the muscles near the fat we want to get rid of, BUT then once we’ve warmed up those muscles to mobilize the fatty acids in the surrounding areas, we’ve got to actually put those mobilized fatty acids to work!
If we don’t put them to work, we won’t actually get rid of our fat!
That is why activation exercises can not only help us get the right muscles working, BUT they can also warm up those muscles to release and mobilize the fatty acids in the surrounding tissues so those fatty acids can then be UTILIZED during our HIIT or hybrid strength training moves AFTER.
Step One To Spot Reduction – Warm up the area we want to target. Lipolysis is higher in areas near the contracting muscles.
Step Two To Spot Reduction – Utilize the mobilized fatty acids by doing HIIT, Hybrid, or full body strength training moves!
You need BOTH steps if you want spot reduction to work for you.
So when you’re trainer tells you that you need compound moves and interval training they are trying to get you more bang for your buck because they know those isolation moves alone won’t get you the results you’re looking for!
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because I like efficiency. I like getting the best possible results and using all the tools at my disposal.
No…You can’t out exercise a bad diet. And if you’re short on time, don’t waste time on those isolation moves. Hybrid and compound exercises will work more muscles at once to get you better results in less time.
BUT I think everyone should be doing activation exercises before they workout to get the right muscles working and prevent injury ANYWAY.
So why not even use those activation moves to help us benefit from spot reduction as much as possible!?
WIN WIN – RIGHT!?
Prevent injury and up our fat burning from more specific locations!?