I know what you’re thinking: you need to do hours of cardio to burn fat. But newsflash: weight lifting can burn as much fat is not more fat as cardio. Your metabolism will stay raised for hours after your workout, and you may even burn more belly fat with weight lifting. (1)
But what are the best exercises to really burn fat?
(Related: The 8 Golden Post-Workout Rules)
These dumbbell exercises are the perfect workout for a day when you only have limited equipment. If you’re out traveling or don’t feel like fighting the crowds at the gym, try out this simple, but killer dumbbell workout.
Complete 3-4 sets of each exercise in this workout, resting for 60-90 seconds between each set.
This exercise may seem basic, but when performed with a heavy weight, it will really get your heart rate up. Not to mention, this exercise is perfect for working on abdominal and back strength for those with a weak core.
Hold a single dumbbell by the end in both hands. Open your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and rotate your knees and toes slightly out to the side. Lower into a deep squat, sitting your hips back and keeping your weight in your heels. Press through the heels and engage your glutes and hamstrings to press up to standing. Complete 15-20 repetitions.
Rear Lunge with Overhead Press
This lunge variation will work the legs as well as the shoulders, and any time you raise the arms overhead your heart has to work harder to pump blood to them, making your heart rate climb.
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, holding dumbbells up by your shoulders with palms facing in. Step your RIGHT foot back into a lunge position, but keep the weight in the front foot. Press through the LEFT heel, to stand back up and drive the RIGHT knee forward to balance on one leg. As you stand, press the weights overhead. Lower the weights down as you step the RIGHT foot back into another lunge. Complete 15 repetitions on the RIGHT leg, then switch sides.
Renegade Row with Rotation
This exercise will strengthen your core and sculpt your arms and back muscles as it burns fat. Start in a plank position holding the dumbbells with your palms facing in. Your feet can be slightly wider in this plank to help you maintain stability. Without letting your hips move too much, row your RIGHT arm up leading with the elbow and pulling the weight up towards your shoulder. Keeping the weight in your LEFT arm, extend the RIGHT arm all the way up to the ceiling, so that your arms are in a T position. Lower back down by bending the elbow, bring the weight back to the shoulder and lower the weight to the floor, into your plank. Repeat on the other side rowing the LEFT arm up. Complete 8-12 repetitions on each arm.
Push-Up with Tricep Kickback
I’ve already talked about my love of push-ups, and this exercise may take the cake. It combines a traditional tricep push-up with the popular exercise, tricep kickbacks, for a full body, fat-burning move.
Start in a plank position once again, holding the weights with palms facing in. This time, from your plank position, lower into a narrow push-up, and press back up. Hold in your plank position and stay steady. Row your RIGHT arm up (as if performing a renegade row), then extend the weight straight back, so that the arm is about parallel to the floor. Bend at the elbow back into your row position and lower the weight back down. Repeat once again using the LEFT arm. Complete 8-12 repetitions on each arm.
Turkish Get Up
This is the ultimate fat-burning exercise. It may seem like a simple movement, but it will torch some serious calories when done correctly.
- Step 1: Start on your back, LEFT arm extended out to the side and holding the weight in the RIGHT hand directly over your shoulder. The RIGHT knee should be bent with the foot flat on the ground, LEFT leg extended on the ground.
- Step 2: Using your LEFT arm for support, push yourself into a seated position, RIGHT arm still straight up, LEFT hand flat on the ground.
- Step 3: Lift your butt off the ground, supporting yourself on your LEFT hand and RIGHT foot. The majority of your weight should be off your LEFT leg. Again, adjust your right arm so that it is always staying directly over your shoulder throughout the whole exercise.
- Step 4: Bend your LEFT leg, bringing it back under your hips, knee on the ground.
- Step 5: Push off the LEFT leg and hand to bring yourself into a kneeling position.
- Step 6: Stand up, bringing your LEFT foot in line with your RIGHT foot, standing tall with your RIGHT arm fully extended holding the kettlebell.
- Step 7: Reverse the movement back into the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
So next time you try to get out of a workout because of traveling or crowded gyms, think again. You can get a fast and effective fat-burning workout in with these targeted exercises.