Pick up any issue of a popular health and fitness magazine and I guarantee that you’re going to see an exercise featured that is guaranteed to blast away fat and build muscle. Funny thing is that the following month, they have a new exercise that does exactly the same thing. Understandably, you may be asking yourself:
Wait a minute. What happened to the other exercise?
Is last month’s exercise useless now?
What’s better about this month’s exercise?
If there are multiple exercises that help to burn fat, then why not feature them in one issue?
All good and valid questions. If you’re a long-term subscriber to any in-print or online fitness magazine, you’ll start to see a trend as these incredible fat burning exercises are just recycled year after year with a new cover and fitness model.
Are there fat loss exercises that are considered the best? Yes.
Do you need to wait a year to find out what they all are? No!
Let’s take a look at 4 of the best and most proven weight loss exercises that will never die. I’ll also tell you why you need to start using them… pronto.
Before I jump into the 4 exercises that can help you lose weight, I want to first talk about the category that these exercises fall into. If this isn’t your first rodeo with fitness, it’ll come as no surprise that the best weight loss exercises are compound movements.
There are two primary categories of exercises: compound and isolation. (Yes, we can break it down further but let’s start at the foundation.) As you can guess from the name, isolation exercises focus on one muscle group. For example, when you perform a Dumbbell Biceps Curl, you’re focusing on your bicep muscle only.
In contrast, a compound exercise utilizes several muscle groups at once. A perfect example of this would be the traditional Barbell Back Squat. This exercise hits several muscle group all at the same time including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, glutes, lower back, abdominals, and chest.
So why exactly are compound movements superior to isolation exercises?
Think about it.
If you’re using eight muscle groups at once compared to only one muscle group, which exercise do you think will give you more caloric bang for your buck?
By generating force with a weight-bearing exercise that calls upon several muscle groups to take part in moving the weight, you’re looking at a far greater caloric expenditure. In other words, compound exercises burn more calories than isolation exercises.
What’s more, compound exercises help to strengthen muscle-tension relationships. This will improve the way your upper and lower body works together. The best way I can paint this picture is to have you think back to when you were a kid. When you’re a kid, you feel awkward in your body, like your feet want to do one thing but your upper body wants to do another.
Compound exercises force you to use all of your major muscle groups; many of which have to work together. Within only a month or two, you’ll notice a huge difference with how your body communicates with itself. You may notice your reflexes are better or you simply don’t walk around like your body is shared by two different personalities.
Compound exercises are the best way to trigger a higher rate of calorie burning, which can promote a faster and more effective weight loss. You’ll also have the added benefit of your muscle groups learning to work together more efficiently.
Keep in mind that the following list is by no means an exhaustive list. I wanted to focus on a combination of weight bearing exercises and bodyweight-based movements. I know there are plenty more compound exercises out there. If you have your own preferences for compound movements, list them in the comments below.
And now, let’s jump into the top 4 compound exercises that will help you achieve weight loss success.
Let’s kick off the list with the Kettlebell Swing, Clean and Press.
Kettlebells are a fairly recent hit in the States. Becoming popular with bodybuilders in Russia and Europe, these oddly shaped weights eventually made their way over to the good old U.S. of A. The unique design of the kettlebell allows for an easier grip, promotes wrist stability, and it is perfect for exercises that involve a snappy and quick reflex like the clean and press.
This exercise combines the Kettlebell Swing, which on its own is highly effective and throws in the Clean and Press to activate more muscle groups. You’ll burn more calories and strengthen your shoulders in the process.
Check out this video tutorial on the Kettlebell Swing, Clean and Press.
This is the move that you love to hate during every high intensity workout.
Burpees don’t use any additional weight but they don’t need to as they are difficult enough on their own. This compound movement is explosive and intense. Best of all, it utilizes nearly every muscle you can imagine.
The reason you’ll usually see Burpees at the end of a workout is because they take a lot out of you. Starting a workout with Burpees could impact your performance during other exercises. No need to shoot for glory with your numbers here. Burpees are intense so it’s okay (and very common) to only reach between 5 and 10 repetitions per set.
Check out this video tutorial on Burpees.
It should come as no surprise to see the squat on this list. The squat with or without weight is one of the best exercises that you can perform and they should be included in every leg workout you do.
The sheer variety of squat movements make them applicable to every level of fitness enthusiast, regardless of experience or goals. I’ve listed the barbell-based back and front squats here but you can do any variation to see incredible benefits. Here are some variations of the squat that you should look into if you aren’t able to hold a barbell on your back or front deltoids:
Click here to learn how to do the Barbell Back Squat.
Last but certainly not least is the Deadlift. When it comes to triggering high level fat loss and building serious strength, the Deadlift is the way to go.
Activating several muscle groups from the top to the bottom, the Deadlift is used in a variety of fitness programs regardless if you’re a powerlifter or a weekend warrior. Adding it to your program is a must and just like with the squat, there’s no need to immediately jump into Deadlifting with a barbell.
In fact, if you’ve never performed a Barbell Deadlift, you may want to start with Romanian Deadlifts to begin to master the form while strengthening your hamstrings. Romanian Deadlifts are a lot safer compared to the traditional deadlift and they are a good stepping stone to the real deal.
Click here to see a video on how to do the Traditional Deadlift.
Agree with the exercises on this list?
Have your own tried and true fat burning exercises?
Let us know in the comments below!
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