These bodyweight exercises will torch your fat.
Have you found yourself feeling lost over the constant debate of what exercises are best for burning fat? You’re not alone. Working out regularly with little to no results is not only frustrating, it’s also time-consuming.
The good news is, burning fat doesn’t have to take hours on the treadmill. Instead, aim for exercises that burn the most calories in a minimum amount of time. Here’s a round-up of our favorite fat-burning exercises that will get you the results you want.
The best workouts for fat loss consist of moves that engage multiple muscle groups at once. Burpees are the ultimate full-body exercise. There’s a reason why athletes, CrossFitters and elite military regimes implement burpees in their workouts. This complex movement tests your strength and cardio capacity. See for yourself! Add this fat-burning exercise to your workout and reap the benefits of this calorie crusher.
Note: Burpees consist of multiple movements (hip-hinge, plank, push-up, squat and jump) and can take some time to master properly. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle with certain parts of the movement.
Problems with push-ups? Omit them. Can’t jump? Delete jumping. Trouble with leg thrusts? Walk one leg up at a time. For every exercise, there’s a modification. Just do the best you can! That’s when you start to see results.
How to Perform Burpees
Start in a standing position. Keeping your chest up, quickly drop into a squat and place both hands on the ground. As you touch the ground, your hands should be shoulder-width apart and slightly in front of your knees.
Pop your feet back into a push-up position and either drop your chest to the floor (full burpee) or omit the full push-up (half burpee, as shown).
Bring your chest off the floor (full burpee) or from the push-up position with locked elbows (half burpee, as shown), thrust your feet forward. Then, jump as high as you can. Land with soft feet and immediately lower down into another squat to repeat. Keep repeating until time or reps are completed.
#2 Mountain Climbers
Climbing a mountain would most likely be a daunting task for most, but what if you could do it from the floor? You can! Mountain climbers hit your entire body while keeping your heart rate in the fat-burning zone, making them one of the most effective bodyweight exercises around.
How to Perform Mountain Climbers
Get into a plank position, making sure to distribute your weight evenly between your hands and your toes.
Your hands should be directly under your shoulders, back flat, abs engaged and head in alignment.
Pull your right knee into your chest as far as you can. Then, switch legs—pulling the left knee into your chest and bringing the right leg out.
Keep your hips down and run your knees in and out as fast as you can. Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change until time or reps are completed.
#3 High Knees
High knees are a cardio-intensive exercise performed at a rapid pace. They engage your core, strengthen all the muscles in your legs, get your heart rate pumping and improve your speed and coordination. This easy-to-perform exercise can be done at home without any fancy equipment.
How to Perform High Knees
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift up your left knee to your chest.
Switch legs to lift your right knee to your chest. Arms move in opposition of leg movement (e.g., when you drive your left knee up, your right arm should swing forward). Continue the movement, alternating legs and moving at a sprinting pace until time or reps are completed.
#4 Speed Skaters
Speed skaters are a great way to add a fun cardio activity to your workout routine. Our bodies are mainly used to moving in the frontal plane (towards the front). Adding a lateral dimension to your training will work your body in a new and unique way while targeting under-used muscles in your lower body.
How to Perform Speed Skaters
Start in a slight squat, both feet together.
Transfer your weight to your right leg. Then, push off your right leg, jumping as far as you can laterally to the left. Land softly on your left leg and bring your right leg behind it into a curtsy lunge.
Tap the right toe to the ground and immediately jump to the right to repeat on the opposite side. Stay low and keep your legs bent at all times. Repeat until time or reps are completed.
#5 Drop Squats
Have you mastered the air squat? Great! It’s time to add a little more intensity to your workout. Drop squats target your glutes and quadriceps. Because they’re explosive, you’ll burn more calories and target your fat stores.
How to Perform Drop Squats
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned out.
Jump your feet out as you lower into a squat. As you squat, keep your chest up, push your booty back and don’t let your knees come in front of your toes.
Jump your feet back in and return to the start position. This counts as one rep. Keep repeating until time or reps are completed.
Tip: To add an extra dimension to this exercise, when you lower into a squat, bring your left hand in front of you, making contact with the ground. Repeat and be sure to alternate the hand that touches the ground.
#6 Plyo Lunges
Plyo lunges work your muscles much like springs—you build elastic energy and release it with explosive power, building strength and burning fat all at once. Adding this effective jump training exercise to your routine will shape your legs and melt away unwanted fat.
How to Perform Plyo Lunges
Begin standing with your feet together. Next, step forward with your right foot. This is the starting position.
Lower your body down until your forward thigh (right thigh) is parallel to the ground and your back knee (left knee) is almost touching the ground. As soon as you reach this point, explode back up as high as you can off the ground while switching legs in the air.
Land softly on your feet with bent knees. Immediately drop back down into a lunge and explode back up. Keep switching the lead foot until time or reps are completed.
#7 Plank Up-Downs
There are many ways to hit your cardio goals that don’t involve running. Plank up-downs is one of them! Strengthen your arms, core and abs all in one go while keeping your heart rate elevated to burn fat.
How to Perform Plank Up-Downs
Begin in a full plank. Lower your right elbow to the mat and then your left, coming into an elbow plank.
Place your right hand on the mat and straighten your right elbow. Do the same on the left to return to a full plank. Alternate arms each time until time or reps are completed.
#8 Plank Jacks
Holding a static plank is great for your core, but adding a jumping jack motion with your feet takes this move to a whole new level. Plank jacks are a great cardio exercise to elevate your heart rate while working your upper and lower body.
How to Perform Plank Jacks
Begin in a plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists, your body in one straight line and your feet together.
Jump your legs wide and then back together. Try to jump as quickly as you can while keeping your pelvis aligned and steady. Repeat the movement until time or reps are completed.
#9 Power Jacks
This jumping jack variation will add a new cardio element to your workout. Adding a squat to your jacks will fire up your glutes and quads. It also burns a crazy amount of calories. Get ready to set your entire lower body on fire.
How to Perform Power Jacks
First, start with your hands by your side and feet together in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
Keeping your torso upright, jump your feet out wide into a sumo squat position while swinging your arms high above your head. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees, ensuring your knees don’t go past your toes. Land lightly on your feet, keeping your weight in your heels and butt back and down.
Still engaging your core, jump your feet back together and bring your arms to your side. That’s one rep. Continue without pausing until time or reps are completed.
#10 Bear Crawls
You learned to crawl before you walked. So, why not revert back to your days as a toddler?
Bear crawls are one of the best workout moves to burn fat! Not only do they improve your rib and pelvic positioning, they also enhance your breathing mechanics, boost your shoulder stability and strengthen your hands, wrists and core. And let’s not forget about your cardio fitness—bear crawls elevate your heart rate to the fat-burning zone to melt away fat and crush calories.
How to Perform Bear Crawls
Start on all fours, like a tabletop, and lift your knees so they’re at a 90-degree angle and hovering about an inch off the floor. Keep your back flat, your legs hip-width apart and your arms shoulder-width apart.
Move one hand and the opposite foot forward an equal distance while staying low to the ground.
Switch sides, moving the opposite hand and foot.
Crawl two times forward and two times back. Repeat the movement while alternating sides until time or reps are completed.
Put it all together.
If you’re a beginner, complete one round of each exercise. Start with 20 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest. Try to build up each time you complete the workout—add more rounds or decrease your rest intervals.
For those of you who work out often, shoot for two rounds of each exercise—30 seconds on, 15 seconds off, followed by a 1-minute pause between rounds.
If you’re advanced, complete up to five total rounds —45-60 seconds of work followed by a 15-20 second break between each exercise and a 30-second to 1-minute pause after each round.
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