Do Stomach Isometric Exercises Burn Calories?

Isometric exercises burn some calories, but not enough for significant weight loss.
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While you shouldn't count on isometric stomach exercises alone to help you lose weight, the activity can help you burn a few extra calories. For significant calorie burning, however, you need to perform cardiovascular exercise as well. If you're trying to slim down, don't forget about diet -- even with exercise, you're more likely to burn body fat when you reduce serving sizes and choose lean, natural foods over greasy burgers and potato chips.

About Isometric Exercises

Every time you contract muscles without bending any joints, you're performing isometric exercise. This includes the simple act of drawing your abdominal muscles inward, which you may perform seated at your desk or while waiting in line at the store. Isometrics are not effective for building muscle tissue; that requires isotonic resistance exercises such as weightlifting, situps and squats, which involve joint movement. However, isometric moves can help prevent atrophy that occurs with inactivity, according to Because isometric exercises cause a spike in blood pressure, they may not be safe if you have any cardiovascular conditions.

Isometric Exercise and Calories

The exact number of calories burned during isometric stomach exercises varies according to your intensity and duration. However, during the average body-weight training session, a comparable activity, a 155-pound person burns about 165 calories in 30 minutes. If you performed repetitions of stomach contractions for three minutes -- which requires a relatively high fitness level -- you'd likely burn about 16.5 calories at that weight.

Calories for Weight Loss

To put isometric exercise in perspective, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume to lose 1 pound of body fat. All other things equal, it could take months or longer to achieve this by just performing stomach contractions. For the most effective calorie burning, engage in cardio exercise such as jogging, which burns 300 calories in 30 minutes for a 155-pound person going 5 mph, and high-impact step aerobics, which burns 370 calories in 30 minutes at that weight.

Isometric Exercise Recommendations

They may have limited benefits, but isometric exercises can be helpful for people who are injured, disabled or otherwise unable to perform exercises for one or more muscle groups. In addition, the American Council on Exercise recommends performing small activities like isometrics often to increase calorie burning throughout the day, especially if you're sedentary most of the time. Other options include standing rather than sitting and shifting positions often at your desk.

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