A new study examined the effects of abdominal exercises on belly fat, with results that may shock you. Contrary to popular belief, there was found to be no significant effect of abdominal exercises on body weight, body fat percentage, abdominal circumference, and suprailiac skinfold measurements. What this means is that proper nutrition and cardiovascular activity is necessary to reduce body fat, not excessive amounts of sit-ups and crunches.
The researchers took 24 healthy individuals who were randomly assigned to either to an abdominal exercise group or a control group. The abdominal exercise group performed 7 abdominal exercises, for 2 sets of 10 repetitions, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Despite the extreme amounts of direct abdominal stimulation, no body fat was found to be lost as a result. This does not mean you should stop working your abs, however. Muscular endurance and development does indeed improve in response to abdominal exercise. The problem is that in order to clearly see the abdominal muscles, you need to have a low body fat percentage.
Some excellent forms of fat-reducing exercise include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which can be performed in as little as 15 minutes with a fat-burning effect that lasts for up to 30+ hours after its completion.