New Study Suggests Spot Reduction May be Possible
Spot reduction is the idea that working a certain body part will burn off the fat in that area. For example, doing crunches helps burn body fat off the stomach. This was thought to be a myth that had long been debunked until a recently published study.
The study took a group of 16 untrained women and split them into two groups. One that trained upper body only and one that only trained lower body. Both completed 30 minutes of low intensity cycling following resistance training.
While the participants both had similar amounts of fat loss, the upper body group lost more fat in the upper body and lower body group lost more body fat in the lower body, as shown in the graph below.
The idea behind why this may work is the increase in blood flow to the fat tissue at the exercised area might increase the mobilization of local fat storage.
Just because fat is mobilized and released to be used as energy does not mean it won't be stored again if it isn't burned off. This is where the low intensity cardio may come into play, burning the released fat after resistance training.
So while it may seem like a good idea to complete low intensity cardio after resistance training for targeted fat loss.
The sample size was small and a few more studies would be needed to really cement this as a good strategy. For now the best way to lose body fat is still a sustained calorie deficit and exercise.