A big belly: Cardio or Strength Training?

A big belly: cardio or strength training?

A recent published study shows that strength training may work better than cardio against those extra pounds. Read this article to learn more.

The research

Researchers from the University of Harvard followed 10,500 healthy Americans for twelve years. In this large group it was investigated whether strength training or cardio (moderate to heavy intensity) works better against extra abdominal fat. During the study, their sports activities, waist circumference and body weight were measured.

The analysis showed that strength training reduced abdominal fat. The strength training men developed extra belly fat over time, but this was clearly less than the group that did cardio or did not exercise at all.


Does it mean that you have to switch directly to strength training to burn your belly fat? No, unfortunately, because this research use self-reported data instead of a complete study with a control group. But there is a relationship between strength training and weight loss.

But cardio burns more calories?

It is true that with a long-term cardio workout you burn more calories than with strength training. The advantage of strength training, however, is that you keep your muscle mass intact or even build up something. Muscle mass is important in daily life, for example, to lift things easier. Another additional benefit is that you burn more calories in rest mode. By combining too much cardio with a diet, it is possible that you lose a part of your muscle mass, so that at rest you burn less energy and ultimately lose less weight.

Conclusion: what is the best method for a slim stomach?

Personally, I advise my clients who want to lose weight to combine cardio and strength training. This means, for example, that you do a round of strength training twice a week where you train all muscle groups. In addition, you try to do cardio at least twice a week because this is good for your cardiovascular system and ensures a better condition. If you want to do it completely well, combine this with a healthier diet.

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