Will Sit-ups Burn Off Your Belly Fat? 

The short answer from a medical weight management expert
woman performing sit ups

Q: Will sit ups reduce your abdominal fat?

A: No. Sit ups are great for tightening your core. They strengthen and tone your rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and oblique abdominal muscles as well as your neck muscles. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions three times per week.

Advertising Policy

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

To burn belly fat, you need 45 to 60 minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular activity (running, playing soccer or basketball, jumping rope, power-walking, etc.) on most days of the week. You also need to reduce your intake of processed foods, fast foods and alcohol.

But just because sit ups won’t get rid of your belly fat doesn’t mean you should skip them! Sit ups are essential for strengthening your core — something that’s obvious. But your core is responsible for so much more than those classic “six pack” abs many strive for. A strong core can reduce back pain, improve balance and increase your flexibility. Core muscles also support your hips and pelvis. Finally, a strong core will help you build good posture.

— Medical weight management expert Karen Cooper, DO

Advertising Policy