Workout of the Day:
Kipping Pull-Up Clinic – 20-30 minutes of instruction with the objective of getting our newer athletes their first pull-up
and then,
Three rounds for time of:
400 Meter Run
21 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
12 Pull-Ups

KeillBelle is a kipping pull-up machine!
KellBelle is a kipping pull-up machine!

The Spot Reduction Myth
Written by Calvin Sun

I was recently asked by a new client if I could recommend any good ab exercises to help flatten her stomach. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding of human physiology perpetuated by late-night exercise equipment infomercials.

Exercising a muscle or a group of muscles more, for example the abdominal wall, does nothing to help reduce the amount of fat that just happens to be stored around it. Performing hundreds of sit-ups will do nothing to make your stomach any flatter. The truth is that you cannot spot reduce body fat, unless of course you pay a surgeon to perform some rather invasive procedures.

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years to disprove this myth. One study postulated that elite tennis players should have significantly less fat in their dominant arm versus their non-dominant arm. Researchers found that the dominant arm of the tennis players had significantly more girth due to exercise-induced hypertrophy yet the amount of subcutaneous fat on both arms was identical. Another study utilized a “27-day intense sit-up training program.” Researchers measured fat cell diameter at the abdominal, subscapular, and gluteal region. They found that there was no difference in the rate of change amongst the three sites, indicating there was a lack of specific adaptation to the abdominal region.

This is not to say exercises that work the “core” are useless. Core work should be done with the focus on increasing midline stabilization, not obtaining a 6-pack. If fat loss is your goal, focus on your nutrition instead of new sit-up variations. Try cutting out refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, cereal, rice, grains, and sugar in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables. For further reading, pick-up a copy of “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” by Dr. Loren Cordain or “Mastering the Zone” by Dr. Barry Sears.
Physiology of sport and exercise. Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill, W. Larry Kenney. 2007.

  • richard

    why do I get the strange feeling that “Fran” will make a special appearance this week?

  • CJ Martin

    Richard, why worry about Fran when you have to conquer Helen first?

  • richard


  • POS


  • Mark Riebel

    Big ups to Tiffany this morning for getting her first legit pull-up, and also to Sean for his 2:24 time drop to PR at 7:53. Well done 6AM!

  • What would you say is the best core workout then? Prior to CrossFit I would have guessed something like planks or crunches but now I’m guessing a better answer would be something like an overhead squat…

  • Cynthia

    Big happy fun with Sage in the Oly lifting class this morning! Who woulda thought that Tabata OHS holds would make me giddy. (maybe it was lack of oxygen…)

    But most fun was watching 6 a.m. do Helen! You guys looked awesome!

  • Wink

    Sean, nice work crushing it this am.

    Some great coaching on the ball toss too 😉

  • Josh E.

    Great job POS and Sean for getting sub 8 on Helen. I hope to be in the same club after today.

  • biscuit

    I would also recommend reducing
    stress and getting more sleep to reduce that innertube of “baby” fat.

  • SD_Mikey

    Great post Calvin!

    My favorite response to clients is that “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”.

  • Sean

    thanks…have to say I was quite surprised by the time. I didn’t ever think I’d ever break 9 minutes. Just shows the great coaching and programming.

  • Mark Riebel

    Ben, you can’t really quantify something as the ‘best’ core exercise. How would you really measure it, and would that criteria really make it the best? Semantics aside, just hit it from all aspects as we do in the gym, and if you feel like it’s lacking there’s some easy tests and remedies we can give you.

    And Wink, as previously discussed, it was clearly a problem with the pupil, not the flawless coaching. 🙂

  • JustinN.

    Awesome work everyone. Day 2 for the Newport Crossfit Crew. We had black flag conditions on base today, so no running until after sundown. Instead, our crew did Tabata Squats then 7 rounds of 7 goblet squats and 14, 20″ box jumps. Total sweat fest. Josh E. and Brent, post your Helen scores so I can try to catch you guys later this week-


  • M


    Just go sub-7…

  • POS


    A Girl Named Helen
    M Says Just Go Sub Seven
    Thats all you must do

  • M

    Very nice (and complex) Haiku!

    Here’s one Wink sent me:

    Haikus are easy
    And they don’t need to make sense

  • POS

    This is my How to Haiku:

    The First Line has Five
    The second Line has Seven
    The Third line has Five

  • Wink

    I like Refrigerator 😉

  • POS

    I just stopped laughing from Refrigerator! There isn’t a haiku that can hold a candle to that one wink. Game over. You are the man.

  • Brent

    Justin my best time is 7:46, but that was at the team so the run might have a tiny bit short. I hope to beat that next time. Maybe when i don’t have to work 13hrs or 18 like tomorrow..lame

  • Josh E.

    My relationship with Helen
    Its one of love hate
    I tried for sub 7
    But managed just under eight

    7:49 – 10 second PR. Thanks for something to shoot for POS and Sean. Good luck Justin. Shoot for sub 7.

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