Can Bench Pressing Help You Lose Stomach Fat?

Bench press heavy weights for best results.
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Bench pressing is probably an exercise you associate purely with building upper-body muscle mass and increasing strength. Surprisingly though, bench presses can also help you lose stomach fat. The idea that you can reduce fat from one specific area by training it is untrue, but by performing the bench press as part of a total-body routine, you can burn calories, get leaner and build a ripped stomach.

Weight-Training Calories

Losing fat comes down to calories in versus calories out. To lose fat you must consume fewer calories than you burn, and training is an effective way to increase your calorie output and create a bigger calorie deficit. Bench pressing and lifting weights in general aren't as calorically demanding as cardio-based activities, but an hour of intense resistance training can still burn between 265 calories for a 160-pound person, and 545 calories for a 240-pound person. This is comparable to low-impact aerobics or baseball, which both burn exactly the same.

Bench Press Advantages

When bench pressing you use your chest, shoulders and triceps to move the bar, but your glutes, hamstrings, upper-back and core also work to keep you stable. Using so many muscles means you burn more calories and get a bigger effect on your metabolism than you would with a single-joint movement like flyes, according to strength coach Mike Robertson. Basing your routine around multi-joint compounds gives your workout a higher metabolic burn, which leads to faster fat loss, according to trainer Chad Waterbury.

Hormonal Response

When lifting weights, your body produces extra hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone, according to Charles Poliquin of the Poliquin Performance Center. These both help your body to burn fat more efficiently. The lactic acid produced when lifting weights close to the point of muscular failure also leads to an increased production of fat-burning hormones, adds Poliquin.

Fat Loss Programming

Just adding a few sets of bench presses here and there won't do much for losing stomach fat, but as part of a balanced routine, the bench press will help you get leaner. Perform bench presses three times per week as part of a total-body workout for three to six sets of five to 10 reps. Lift as heavily as possible while still keeping perfect form and increase the weight or reps or reduce your rest each session. Add other compound movements, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts and rows, to your sessions and combine your training schedule with a restricted calorie diet.

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