7 Best Exercises For Weight Loss

Most people who join a gym, have a common and shared goal – weight loss. We all have our “why” and individual reasons for staying physically fit and active, but time and time again, it’s about being comfortable in your skin, feeling confident when you talk to the co-worker you’ve been dying to meet, or eating a piece of cake at your friend’s birthday party without being overwhelmed with guilt. We’re going to talk about the best exercises for weight loss and why you should consider these specific exercises in your training program, to trim down, get lean, and feel great in your body.

How To Lose Weight 

Now, before we get into the best exercises for weight loss, it’s important to recognize that we are all at different stages in our fitness. Simply just getting from work to the gym and being active for an hour, is a great accomplishment, regardless of the exercises you perform. However, there are some exercises that will increase your caloric burn more so than others, in the same duration, thus increasing efficiency and your performance outcomes.

In addition to training and exercises, the real key to weight loss is your nutrition. You cannot out train a bad diet. You can spend hours in the gym, day after day, but if your nutrition is not on point and consistent, your body will never change. Incorporating the right foods into your diet, is important for overall weight loss and achieving your goals. If you’re not sure exactly where to start, feel like you’re spinning your wheels, or just can’t seem to optimize your body composition how you want, consider hiring a certified nutrition coach to help you create a personalized nutrition plan.

We recommend working with a coach from The Swole Kitchen. They’ll incorporate the foods you love, teach you about nutrition, and give you the guidance you need to achieve your goals.

Now, let’s get to the best exercises for weight loss. Most articles, will tell you that cycling, running, and sprinting are the best exercises, however, we’re not going to talk about training protocols, but actual exercises you can do in the gym, that will burn more calories. 

Compound movements are resistance training exercises that use your entire body. They incorporate multiple muscle groups, are multi-jointed movements, and recruit secondary and tertiary muscles to complete one reputation in its entirety. These types of exercises will help you lose weight more so, than isolated movements, or movements, that specifically isolate one muscle group at a time. Compound movements incorporate free weights, such as dumbbells, kettlebells, and or a barbell with plates.

7 Best Exercises For Weight Loss

1. Squat

Squats like the deadlift are a lower body compound strength training movement. Traditionally performed with a barbell, placed behind your neck, the squat has several alternatives and variations that can be used in place of the barbell back squat to stimulate and contract the muscles in the posterior chain, such as quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. You can use kettlebells, dumbbells, you can goblet squat, landmine squat, front squats , and even pistol squat if you don’t want to use the barbell. Whatever variation you use, squats are extremely effective for weight loss, and building strength.

How To Squat

  • Maintain a slightly wider stance than shoulder width, place your feet directly under the squat rack, and barbell, and place it in the small of your neck resting on your traps.
  • Lift the bar from the rack, using your legs, with your hands wrapped, plams facing forward, evenly on the bar.
  • With your feet slightly pointed outward, brace your core, and maintain your weight in your heels.
  • Slowly bend your knees, and push back your hips, while you squat down, as if you are trying to sit in a chair.
  • Once your body, hips, and legs are parallel to the floor, push your weight through your heels, exhale, stand back up.

2. Deadlift

Deadlifts have many known full body benefits and are extremely crucial in the development of total-body strength, proper hip function, core strength, and spine stabilization (which can reduce the risk of lower back injuries). Since deadlifts recruit multiple muscle groups, joints, and stabilizing muscles, they also burn more calories and more body fat as compared to other exercise movements. With the proper form, the deadlift can add a ton of performance and health benefits, to your training program, not to mention help with weight loss.

How To Deadlift

  • Stand with feet hip- to shoulder-width apart. Rest your shins against the bar.
  • Hinge at the hips and sink back into your glutes while keeping your spine extended and chest lifted toward the ceiling.
  • Grip the bar with one hand facing palm-up and the other hand facing palm-down. This over-under grip is for safety and can keep the bar from rolling out of your hands.
  • Squeeze the bar with your hands as you sink back into your hips. As you sink into your hips, think about pulling your back and down to engage the lats. This will help keep your low-back stable. 
  • For the pull:
  • Push your feet into the floor to straighten your legs and lift your chest as you lift the weight off the floor. As you stand up, think about pulling back on your knees and pushing your hips forward.
  • Finally, for the lockout:
  • At the top of the movement, hold your shoulders back as you keep your spine straight and tall. Pause for a moment before descending into the lowering phase.
  • Slowly push your hips back while keeping your spine long and chest lifted into the air.
  • Use your thigh muscles to resist the downward pull of gravity as the weight lowers back to the floor.
  • At the bottom, pause, reset your hips and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Push your feet into the floor to straighten your legs and lift your chest as you lift the weight off the floor. As you stand up, think about pulling back on your knees and pushing your hips forward.
  • At the top of the movement, hold your shoulders back as you keep your spine straight and tall. Pause for a moment before descending into the lowering phase.
  • Slowly push your hips back while keeping your spine long and chest lifted into the air.
  • Use your thigh muscles to resist the downward pull of gravity as the weight lowers back to the floor.
  • At the bottom, pause, reset your hips and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

3. Burpees 

Burpees are a full body, aerobic body weight movement. Burpees are a hybrid plymetric exercise, that essentially combines a push up with a jump. Simply jump back into push up position, kiss the ground, with your chest down to the floor, snapping your feet back underneath you and jumping up. It’s that simple, a hybrid and full body push up/jumping jack all in one, which by the way, is amazing for weight loss, as it utilizes all the muscles in your body.

How To Burpee

  • Squat & place your hands on the ground.
  • Jump back with your legs soo you are in the top of the push-up position.
  • Push up and lower yourself all the way down to the ground
  • Press yourself back up to the top of the push-up position.
  • Jump your feet back in underneath you, and stand straight up
  • Last, jump and clap your hands above you

4. Med Ball Slams

Med ball slams, or medicine ball slams, are an extremely effective exercise for weight loss. Med ball slams are a full body functional and plyometric movement, that stimulates multiple muscle groups, and emphasizes your glutes, hamstrings, core, shoulders, and traps. Adding in the med ball slam between workouts, will also be extremely effective at keeping your heart rate elevated and burning body fat.

How To Med Ball Slam

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
  • Holding a medicine ball, engage your core, bracing your midline
  • Squat down and in one powerful motion, inhale and rise to the balls of your feet, stretching your body out, with the ball raising over your head with your arms extended.
  • Use your core and arms to slam the ball down with as much driving force as possible
  • Squat down to pick up the ball and start again, engaging your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads, as you continue for more reps.

5. Dumbbell Snatch 

The dumbbell snatch is a slightly more complex resistance training exercise. It requires finesse, strength, and balance. Like the traditional barbell snatch, the dumbbell snatch recruits your lower body and upper body muscles, requires hip and wrist mobility, and actively recruits your core.

Dumbbell snatch is a compound movement, meaning it works multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously. From the bottom of the lift, almost starting in a deadlift position, a single dumbbell, is pushed from the ground, along the body, exploding with power, while the dumbbell ends up overhead, while you are in the squat position. Sounds complicated, that’s because it is. While all this movement is happening, you are recruiting and simulating multiple muscle groups, including, the entire posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and erectors), shoulders, upper back, traps, and lats from the pulling motion to landing it overhead and stabilizing the weight.

The posterior chain is responsible for hip extension, which creates the force and power, from lifting the weight off the ground, and using your hip explosion to throw the weight overhead. 

So, where do you start and how do you perform the dumbbell snatch. We’re going to split it into three phases.

How To Dumbbell Snatch

Phase 1: The Lift

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Bend down and grab a single dumbbell with your body directly positioned over it
  • Squat down, push and hinge your hips back, similar to the starting position of a deadlift
  • With your chest, head up and shoulders rolled back, grasp the dumbbell.

Phase 2: Hip Explosion

  • Push your feet hard into the ground
  • Use your quads, glutes, hips, and posterior chain to pulling the weight from the ground as you push your feet into the floor
  • The weight should feel like you are trying to throw it above you, with power and force
  • Once the weight travels overhead freely flowing upward, drive your elbow back, flip your arm and drop your torso to catch the dumbbell

Phase 3: The Catch

  • Once the dumbbell is overhead, drop down into squat position.
  • This can be a dip and not a full squat, it depends on your training program and protocol
  • Now, stand up tall with weight overhead
  • Congratulations, you just completed one rep of the dumbbell snatch

6. Push Press

The push press uses the your entire body to move weight from the shoulder to overhead movement in a quick, effective motion. The push press uses the legs, core, and upper body which ends up driving the weight into the overhead position. While the push press movement does require the legs to bend, the completion of the movement has straight legs, straight arms, and the weight will be overhead in a full lockout position. 

How To Push Press

  1. Grab an empty barbell and clean it up into a front rack position. Your feet should be under your shoulders or slightly outside of them, bracing your core, and with your elbows up, facing forward
  2. Your hands should be relaxed on the bar allowing for maximal flexion of the wrists and elbows
  3. With your weight in the mid foot (not toes or heels), take a deep breath dip the hips, knee drive out to activate the glutes (not forward) into a quarter squat position and a tall chest (elbows SHOULD NOT come down)
  4. As you reach the bottom of your dip, explode upwards and push your body into the barbell generating force, extending from the bottom up (ankles, knees, hips) straight upward. As the force of your body pushes up against the barbell, extend the arms, moving your head out of the way, so that the barbell can fully ascend
  5. Complete the movement with your full body lockout with the barbell directly overhead and the eyes facing forward. Make sure to have a strong core so that the barbell is not behind, nor in front, of the body
  6. Bringing the barbell down in the same motion pattern, catch the bar in the quarter squat position with your elbows up, face forward, and weight over mid foot.

7. Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebells create full-body tension, which is key to developing a strong core and fundamental to any kettlebell movement. The kettlebell swing is the most basic fundamental kettlebell shoulder workout. Tried and true, it’s a great way to build stronger delts and burn body fat.

How To Kettlebell Swing

  1. Beginning with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing towards 11 and 1 (like on a clock).
  2. Place the kettlebell on the ground in front of your toes. Similar to the deadlift, with your shoulders tucked back and lats pulled down, hinge at the hips pressing the booty to the wall behind you.
  3. Reach out (not reach forward) and grab the kettlebell with two hands on the handle.
  4. From this position, your knees should be directly over your ankles, creating a substantial amount of tension in your quads and hamstrings in order to ‘load’ the muscles before you generate force. 
  5. Take a deep breath in through your nose, brace the core and hike (like a football) the kettlebell back between your legs with your lats until your forearms are touching your inner thighs.
  6. After you reach the full extension, generate force and power THROUGH THE HIPS (not the arms or upper body) by snapping the hips, standing up, and keeping tension throughout the entire body, opening the hips at full extension/top of the swing.
  7. You want to see the kettlebell reach chest/shoulder height before gravity takes it back down.
  8. On the descent, gravity will bring the bell back down and you’ll want to engage your lats to speed it up.

Best Exercises For Weight Loss: Takeaway

Weight loss takes a lot more than just hitting the gym and showing up. Nutrition, supplementation, and consistency is key to hit your goals. If you can optimize your nutrition, and add some of these key weight loss movements, into your training program and keep up the intensity, you'll start shredding body fat. 

Need Help With Optimizing Your Diet And Nutrition Plan To Finally Get The Results You've Been Waiting For?

The Swole Kitchen is an exclusive membership opportunity for those who are looking to pursue a performance-driven lifestyle. By combining wellness consulting, nutritional lifestyle improvement, and 1:1 customized nutrition plans to our members, our programs aim to optimize human potential. In each of our programs, you’ll receive guidance to reclaim your health, fuel your lifestyle, and pursue performance ambitions, all while learning how to make nutritional decisions from a place of self-trust and intuition. All of our coaches are committed to providing the highest level of results-driven wellness to our members.

We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.


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