What is an abdominal crunch twist and does it reduce belly fat?

Out of all the fitness goals many people want to achieve, getting a prominent six-pack is probably number one on the list. And it is completely understandable and not entirely surprising because let’s be real, toned and well-defined abs have been the gold standard of health and fitness since time immemorial.

But while it is not necessarily a bad thing to aim for rock-solid and sculpted abs, only aiming for it will never be enough. Without any action on your part, you might as well say goodbye to your six-pack dreams. However, if you truly want it bad enough but you don’t know where to start yet, you may want to begin with an abdominal crunch twist.

What is an abdominal crunch twist and how do you do it?

The abdominal crunch twist is an exercise that works the abdominal area but primarily focuses on the internal and external obliques, and to a lesser degree, the upper abs and lower back. While this exercise is not exactly going to get you a six-pack, it is a good way to start strengthening your core so it will be easier for you to do more advanced abs exercises moving forward.

All you really need to perform this is an exercise mat, your bodyweight, and the willingness to get started with your fitness journey. To begin, read on and follow these steps:

  1. Sit on the mat and lean backward so that your lower back supports you during the exercise while you hold yourself up by contracting your abdominal muscles.
  2. Keep your feet in contact with the mat, with your heels planted on the ground and your toes slightly lifted.
  3. Hold your arms out in front of you, with your elbows bent and one of your arms on top of the other.
  4. Tense your obliques and start twisting your torso to one side. Use your steady shoulders to bring your arms to the side during the twist instead of simply moving your arms sideways.
  5. Pause in that position or at the center for a second before twisting to the other side. Make sure that you keep a straight back and steady shoulders as you do the twisting motion. Avoid slouching and bringing your shoulders forward because that is improper form that will put unnecessary pressure on your spine.
  6. Once you have twisted on both sides, you are done with one repetition. Start with at least 3 sets of 10 repetitions each and increase the number of sets and reps as you go along. 

Does the abdominal crunch twist reduce belly fat?

Now, you start feeling the burn in your abdominal area and you might be thinking to yourself, am I finally burning my annoying belly fat? Hmm, not quite. You see, the abdominal crunch twist—or any abs exercise—does not, in any way, reduce belly fat.

In this modern day and age of information being easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, and anytime, many people still believe that doing workouts specifically targeting the abs will reduce belly fat despite many reliable sources online saying that such information is false. So, no matter how many outrageous reps of crunches or sit-ups you do, it is not going to give you the results you want.

Yes, an abdominal crunch twist and other abs exercises are going to develop your abs and strengthen your core, but if you are going to rely on them for a six-pack, forget it. No matter how strong and developed your abdominal muscles are, that six-pack is not going to show if your belly fat remains.

Contrary to popular belief, spot reduction—the assumption that you can lose fat in a certain area by doing exercises specifically targeting said area—is not effective for the abs or any other body part.

The only thing you will achieve by exercising a specific muscle is increased strength and endurance of that muscle, which is not entirely a bad thing but is also not exactly what you are after, or at least not your priority goal.

So, what now–how do you really remove belly fat?

Exercising your abs as often as possible will never be enough to get rid of that squishy mess in your abdominal area, so if you really want to successfully reduce it, start doing these things together with your preferred abs exercise for optimal results.  

Calm down with the crunches (and other abs exercises)

Stop thinking that the quantity of your reps will do anything to your belly fat; instead, use the time and energy to do high intensity cardio exercises that will help you lose overallfat throughout the entire body and not just in your abdominal area.

Incorporate weights in your routine

Doing resistance training exercises, such as lifting weights, target large and multiple muscle groups which help build muscle, prevent muscle loss, and boost fat loss. Oh, and not to mention, this burns the most calories as well.

Eat (and drink) right

This is the most important thing to remember if you really want that belly fat to go away. You know what they say: abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Sure, going extreme on your abs exercises will certainly give you hardened abdominal muscles. But your abs will never see the light of day if they remain hidden under a layer of belly fat, which will keep growing if you don’t stop eating junk.

But not only should you be conscious of what goes into your plate, you should also be mindful of what you put in your glass. So save the alcohol for special occasions and just stick to water as much as possible. You can never go wrong with water, right?

Keep carbs in your diet

Contrary to popular belief, you need to include carbohydrates in your diet because they provide you the energy to perform any workout routine. Many people have this misconception that carbohydrates make you fat, but the problem only comes when you eat carbs more than what you are supposed to. You see, any excess carbs will be stored as fat. But you don’t need to be afraid of this because you can control your daily carbohydrate intake instead of completely taking them out of your diet.

Maintain the calories

Most weight loss programs will tell you that caloric deficit is the absolute way to lose fat, but while that may be true, you still need to keep a healthy amount of calories in your diet if you want your six-pack to show. If your body has a calorie count that is too low, your metabolism will slow down and you will retain more fat. Moreover, not eating enough calories will also cause you to burn muscle for energy instead of fat.

Let the fats stay

Nope, not the belly fat but the healthy fats you need in your diet. It is easy for people to think that fats in general make you, well, fat. After all, that is what you are trying to get rid of in the first place, right? But to get rid of the belly fat, you need fats—like nuts, seeds, fish, vegetable oils—because if you do not consume enough of it, your body will keep all of the fat it already has and not burn any more off.

Belly fat myths you need to stop believing in

Aside from spot reduction in your abdominal area, what are other belly fat myths do people still believe in?

Quantity over quality

Your core muscles are just like any other muscle in the body; still the best and only way to maximize the gains is to do the reps properly, not endlessly. The reason many people still feel the need to do so many reps is because most of the time, they are not engaging the necessary muscles hard enough due to improper form. If you get to 50 or more crunches before feeling the burn, you are probably doing it wrong.

Flat stomach for everyone

There are too many factors that play a role in losing belly fat: age, genetics, gender, hormones, lifestyle, eating habits, sleeping habits—some are things we can control, some are just the way they are. Nevertheless, what your body—and consequently your belly—will look like hugely depends on these factors.

You will never be able to choose where you lose fat, and most of the time, it is just not physiologically possible for many of us to achieve a flat stomach. So if you are still not getting the results you want despite religiously working out and sticking to a healthy diet, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there is more to exercising than just a six-pack and a flat stomach.

Expensive special equipment for abs

While those models endorsing special equipment for abs training are truly and undeniably fit, you need to keep in mind that they most likely already look that way without having to ever use the equipment they are endorsing. The only reason they are chosen to endorse those products is to trick you into thinking that your abs will look exactly like theirs if you buy the equipment they are “using.”

You never need to spend hundreds of bucks to get toned abs and flat stomach—the best things that will always work and guarantee results are still discipline, commitment, and motivation.