How 6 Resistance Training Exercises Fight Fatty Liver Disease

6 minute read

Currently, cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are on the rise, commonly as a result of unhealthy dietary and other lifestyle choices. Thankfully, your liver cells have the ability to regenerate under the right circumstances, so you can limit the damage from fatty deposits with the right actions.

Exercise is the best way to reduce body fat. What may be surprising for some is that resistance training in particular helps to reduce liver fat.

Resistance Training for the Health of Your Liver

You likely think of muscle strength when you think of resistance training, and this would be logical. Resistance training is one of the best ways to boost muscle health as well as overall health and fitness levels.

Excessive weight, diabetes, and abdominal obesity all increase your risk for fatty liver disease. This can in turn cause inflammation of the liver and cirrhosis, which can increase your risk for liver failure.

It should also be pointed out that excessive drinking can cause liver disease, but that there are ways of drinking responsibly without much risk of liver issues.

Because of the link between weight and fatty liver disease, exercise has been thought to be an effective means of reducing your risk for the disease. Studies have found that resistance training in particular reduces the amount of fat around the liver. This is in part due to the effect that resistance training has on metabolism.

By elevating how many calories your body burns at rest, your body uses more energy, meaning you feel less general fatigue and that you also burn more fat.

A recent study found that subjects diagnosed with fatty liver disease benefited from resistance training. After being split into different resistance training groups, they found that subjects showed a reduced amount of fat stored around the liver as well as overall weight loss.

There also was a reduction in blood cholesterol levels as a result of the increased physical activity, which helps to promote liver health as well.

The Resistance Moves to Try

Strength or resistance training involves specific exercises that work to increase the number of calories burned as well as build muscle, strengthen bones, and burn fat. The best ones to incorporate into your daily routine to promote liver health are below.


Lie down on your stomach and brace the core muscles. Raise your body up on your toes and elbows and lower your buttocks down until they are level with your shoulders. Squeeze your navel toward your spine and make sure your buttocks are not sticking up. Hold for 30 seconds, and increase the hold to two minutes as you improve.

Leg Adduction

While lying on your side, brace your abdomen. Next, bend your top knee, and place your top foot in front of your bottom knee. Raise your lower leg off the floor being careful not to let your trunk bend backward.

Concentrate on keeping your core engaged, and you will feel this on the inside of your lower leg. Repeat 10 times, and switch to the other leg.

Wall Slides

Stand with your back up against a wall and your legs shoulder-width apart. Place a medicine ball, (or two rolled towels if you do not have one) between your knees. Brace your core, and pull your navel in toward your spine. While keeping your core engaged, slowly slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent to approximately 60 degrees.

Limiting the knee bend will decrease the pressure on your knees and but will still work your core and your quads. Hold this bent position for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. You can increase the number of reps as you get stronger.

Wall Shin Raises

Stand with your back and shoulders against the wall with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and about 1 foot in front of the wall. Raise your toes as high off the ground as you can, placing your weight on your heels. Slowly lower your toes until they are almost on the floor, and then flex them up again. Repeat this 10 times.

Once you are better at this exercise, you can "pulse" quickly to get a different experience and a more challenging workout.

Heel Step Downs

Stand with your feet together, and then take a natural step forward. As your heel strikes the floor in front of you, prevent your foot from flexing down as you transfer your weight forward. Return your foot to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.

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You want to perform 10 of these step downs on each side and once you have mastered this with short strides, you can increase your stride length to make the exercise more difficult and challenging.

Straight Leg Raises

Lying flat on your back, engage your core and then bend one leg up at the knee, while keeping the other leg straight. Still lying flat on your back, tighten the quad muscle of the straight leg, and raise it up off the floor until your thighs are parallel. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then lower your leg until it almost touches the floor, taking care not to let your back sway up off the floor. Repeat 10 this times, doing two sets for each leg.

The Bottom Line

Fatty liver disease is common but can be avoided and even reversed with the right treatment and healthy lifestyle choices. Because these influence your risk of developing the condition, changing to a healthier day-to-day life can lead to better liver health. One way to improve dietary choices may be with a nutritional liver health supplement.

Beyond cutting back on alcohol consumption, a  liver healthy diet combined with regular physical activity including resistance training is the best choice you can make for your liver.

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