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Can squats help with FUPA?

What is FUPA?

FUPA stands for “fat upper pubic area.” It refers to excess fat that accumulates around the pubic area, creating a bulge of skin over the pubic bone. This fat pad is located right above the genitals. FUPA is sometimes also called a “pannus.”

FUPA can occur in people of all sizes and weights, but is more common with significant weight gain. Factors like genetics, age, hormones, and pregnancy can also contribute to FUPA formation.

Causes of FUPA

Some of the main causes of FUPA include:

  • Overall weight gain – Excess abdominal and pubic fat from being overweight/obese
  • Loss of skin elasticity – From aging or pregnancy, causing skin to sag
  • Genetics – Some people are predisposed to carry more fat in the pubic region
  • Hormones – Estrogen dominance can encourage fat storage in the lower abdomen/pubic area

FUPA is not necessarily caused by lack of exercise. Even very fit people can have a FUPA if they are genetically predisposed to carry fat in that area or have loose skin after pregnancy. However, being overweight tends to exacerbate the problem.

Health impacts of FUPA

While mostly an aesthetic concern, a significant FUPA can potentially cause some health and functional issues including:

  • Skin irritation, infections, rashes due to moisture and friction
  • Difficulty exercising due to the fat pad getting in the way
  • Discomfort and pain from the weight of excess tissue
  • Bladder pressure and potential urinary incontinence from abdominal fat
  • Poor body image and self-esteem

For these reasons, many people seek solutions to reduce the appearance of their FUPA.

Can Squats Help Reduce FUPA?

Squats are a popular exercise known to tone and strengthen the glutes, thighs, and core. But can they specifically target a FUPA? Here is an overview of how squats may or may not help:

How squats work the core and lower body

Squats are a compound exercise that works multiple large muscle groups at once. Properly done squats engage the muscles of the legs, glutes, abdominals and lower back.

When you squat with proper form, you:

  • Activate the glutes and hamstrings to extend your hips and straighten back up
  • Engage the quadriceps and adductors to bend the knees and hips into the squat position
  • Recruit the core muscles (rectus abdominis, obliques, erector spinae) to stabilize the spine throughout the movement

This combination of heavy muscle activation helps tone the lower body and improves core stabilization. It also requires a high level of energy expenditure, which can help burn overall body fat with regular squats.

Spot reduction not possible

While squats engage the core muscles located under the FUPA area, simply doing squats will not directly reduce fat in that specific part of the abdomen.

This is because “spot reduction” of fat through targeted exercise is a myth. Fat cells cannot be exercised or “toned” away from a certain body region. Overall body fat percentage must be reduced through a calorie deficit to see fat loss results.

Squats burn calories and build muscle

What squats can do is help create a calorie deficit to lose body fat overall, including from the pubic area. They are an excellent calorie-burning exercise, especially when performed at high volume, frequency and intensity.

Squats are also one of the most effective exercises for building muscle in the lower body and core. Having more lean muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories around the clock.

So while squats alone won’t specifically target FUPA fat, they absolutely can help reduce overall body fat percentage, which will slim fat from all over your body, FUPA included.

Other Exercises to Reduce FUPA

While spot reduction isn’t possible, some exercises may help tone and functionally strengthen the core muscles under the FUPA area. This can improve posture and create a firmer-looking midsection.


Plank variations like forearm planks, side planks, and planks with leg lifts target the transverse abdominis under the FUPA region. They help build core stability and strength without straining the spine.

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts strengthen the lower abdominals and improve control over the pelvic floor muscles. This can give more tone and lift to the pubic area.

Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts target the upper glutes and can also activate the lower abdominal muscles. This combo helps stabilize the pelvis and tone the area right below the FUPA.


While basic crunches work the upper abs, doing them on an incline can activate the lower abdominal muscles as well. Focus on keeping the core braced to get a contraction under the FUPA.

Leg Raises

Lying leg raises, hanging leg lifts, and other leg raise variations tone the hip flexors and lower abdominals. Make sure to keep the core engaged throughout the movement.

A combination of these targeted exercises plus squats and cardio can help train the muscles under the FUPA area and reduce overall body fat.

Additional Strategies to Reduce FUPA

Aside from physical exercise, other strategies that can help reduce FUPA include:

Weight Loss

Losing excess body fat through diet and exercise is the number one strategy to slim a FUPA. Aim for gradual fat loss through a moderate calorie deficit. Crash dieting won’t give long-lasting results. Losing just 10% of your body weight can make a noticeable difference in FUPA size.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is linked to increased abdominal fat storage. Quitting can help facilitate fat loss and improve skin elasticity for tighter results.

Balanced Hormones

For women, strategies like reducing stress levels, balancing blood sugar, and optimizing estrogen levels can help favorably shift fat storage away from the pubic region. A FUPA that developed post-pregnancy may diminish over time as hormones rebalance.

Skin Care

Taking care of the skin with exfoliation, hydrating creams, and avoidance of harsh products can improve skin texture and help tighten the area over time. Laser skin treatments can also reduce loose skin and tighten the FUPA zone.

Plastic Surgery

In severe cases where diet and exercise alone don’t suffice, procedures like liposuction, tummy tucks, and pubic lifts can be performed to directly excise excess fat and skin from the pubic region.


While spot fat loss from squats is not possible, this functional exercise can absolutely help reduce overall body fat and tone the muscles under the FUPA region. When combined with other core-targeting moves, HIIT cardio, a healthy diet, and lifestyle strategies, squats can complement an effective FUPA reduction regimen.

Consistency is key when trying to lose fat from any problem area. Be patient and keep your expectations realistic. Over time, you should begin to see results from your squat workouts and fat loss efforts. While losing FUPA fat can be frustrating, it is possible with diligence and commitment to your fitness routine and goals.

The Takeaway

  • FUPA stands for “fat upper pubic area” and refers to a bulge of fat above the pubic bone.
  • It is caused by overall weight gain, pregnancy, aging, genetics, and hormones.
  • Squats cannot spot reduce fat from the FUPA zone.
  • But squats do burn calories, build muscle, and engage core muscles under the FUPA area.
  • When combined with planks, hip thrusts, leg raises, weight loss, and other strategies, squats can indirectly reduce the appearance of a FUPA bulge.
  • Patience and consistency with diet and exercise are key to seeing results.
Exercise Muscles Worked FUPA Benefits
Squats Glutes, quads, hamstrings, core Burn calories, increase lean muscle mass, engage lower abdominals
Planks Transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis Tone muscles directly under FUPA zone
Pelvic Tilts Lower abdominals, pelvic floor Strengthen and lift pubic area
Hip Thrusts Glutes, lower abdominals Target upper glutes and stabilize pelvis
Crunches Rectus abdominis Work lower abs with incline crunches
Leg Raises Lower abdominals, hip flexors Tone muscles below FUPA

Want to learn more? Check out our complete guides to losing FUPA fat and getting stronger with squats.