Do Pull-Ups Reduce Belly Fat?

Include pullups in your workout program to reduce belly fat.
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Pullups may not be the first exercise that comes to mind when considering a workout program to reduce belly fat. Pullups on their own may not have a significant impact on your belly fat. But as part of a workout program, pullups can help you get rid of that unsightly bulge by increasing your metabolism and your ability to burn fat.

Muscles Used

Pullups work the range of muscles that make up your upper back such as the latissimus dorsi, or lats, rhomboids, teres major, and the mid and lower trapezius. Other muscles pullups engage include the rear deltoids, biceps, the outer portion of the chest and the triceps. The core muscles of your abs and obliques help stabilize your body as you perform pullups.

Calories Burned

Exercises such as pullups that work your major muscle groups or simultaneously engage a variety of muscles expend more energy and calories. Burning calories helps you lose belly fat. But pullups are difficult to do, and your strength would give out before you could do enough pullups to burn sufficient calories. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn for any given exercise. Paradoxically, the heavier you are, the harder it is to move your body weight through space performing pullups.


Pullups may help you reduce belly fat in the long term by improving your body's capacity to burn fat at rest. Pullups in conjunction with other body-weight or strength-training exercises help you gain lean muscle tissue. Lean muscle tissue helps elevate your resting metabolic rate, which, in turn, helps your body burn fat more efficiently.

Exercise Afterburn

Include pullups in an intense circuit of body-weight exercises to increase lean muscle tissue, burn calories and increase exercise afterburn. Do as many pullups as you can in 30 seconds, as many body-weight squats as you can in one minute, as many pushups as you can in one minute, and as many lunges as you can in one minute. Repeat the circuit at least three times with 60 seconds rest between circuits. Exercise afterburn, known as post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC, occurs as your body's oxygen uptake increases for up to 48 hours after exercise. Your body needs oxygen to metabolize fat for energy as it replenishes nutrients and expels waste products to return to its pre-exercise state.

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