Every workout is designed for a specific purpose. Some lifts are designed to increase muscle size or strength. Some cardio is designed to burn calories and increase the strength of your heart. Others are designed for endurance.
Every exercise you do is designed to improve something. You just need to determine what your end goal is.
If you’re interested in blasting fat and burning more calories both at the gym and back home, you’ll need to tailor your workout accordingly.
So whether you want to shed those pounds for swimsuit season or you want to focus on toning your body, we’ve got some of the best fat burning exercises for you right here.
The Best Fat Burning Exercises
Sometimes the very best exercises are the oldest ones. Even if you haven’t touched a jump rope since fifth-grade gym class, now is the perfect time to start back up with it.
And best of all, you don’t need a gym membership or to plunk down big cash in order to pick up a jump rope.
There’s also a reason why you see boxers constantly jumping rope. These are individuals who need to make weigh-ins, cut their weight, boost endurance and increase strength, often without increasing their muscle size. If jumping rope is good enough for them, you better believe it’s good enough for anyone else, including your workout routine.
There are a few different ways you can go about doing this.
Boxers will perform a speed-skip, which allows them to get two rotations of the jump rope in with one jump. To do that it’s all about the wrist. You’ll also want to avoid the plastic jump ropes from grade school and stick with the singles, smooth rope (often made of a rubber composite).
Once you have the speed jump down, shoot to speed jump for two minutes at a time, resting for 30 seconds or so in between sets. Repeat this five times so you have a total of 10 minutes jumping rope. Even though you’re only jumping rope for 10 minutes, you’ll be amazed at how much you sweat out. It’s a tough workout and your entire body will burn.
It is also a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) move, which elevates your heart rate, allows it to slow during the rest, and then brings it back up. This increase and decrease in the heart rate allow you to burn more calories as you’re basically constantly shocking the system, preventing your body from becoming accustomed to one, steady movement.
As your body builds up endurance you’ll be able to increase your burn to more two-minute segments. You may also want to change up the kind of jumps you do, including one-legged alternating jumps. It’s always good to switch up your movements in order to keep your workouts interesting (WebMD, 2018).
Here’s another workout option that proves you don’t need to break the bank to get in shape.
We love the medicine ball because it adds a bit of resistant training to your cardio. Not enough to overwhelm your muscles and prevent you from doing solid work lifting, but just enough to take a traditional cardio move and make it more difficult.
There are some fantastic medicine ball cardio workouts available online. Check out YouTube to see what all is available.
Most of these workouts are HIIT workouts that combine everything from jumping jacks and lunges to the classic medicine ball slam.
When looking at all the different medicine ball workouts, this one might be the best (in terms of calorie burning potential). It’ll also leave your shoulders burning.
For this particular move, you’ll stand with your feet slightly further than shoulder width apart. Start by holding the ball with both hands below your waist. Now, jump into the air, pulling the ball back behind your head quickly.
At the apex of your jump, swing the ball back down, as if you’re going to slam the ball into the ground as you land. This works your entire upper body with the ball slam and your lower body with the jump. If you land in a squat position that only adds to the full workout.
Of course, you’re not actually letting go of the ball.
You’re just going through the movements.
You want to maintain the ball between your hands, which brings with it wrist and forearm muscle control (when you do the workout, just don’t do it right in front of the TV, in case you accidentally lose your grip). Shoot for doing this move for 45 seconds before taking a 15-second break.
If you don’t want to watch a YouTube workout video, move on to another move, such as a squat while pressing the ball into the air, jumping jacks where you push the ball up. Lunges with a medicine ball role to each side (that’s great for your abs and obliques).
You’ll find different cardio moves you can use the medicine ball with.
This is one of those workouts you’ll want to do on shoulder/upper body day.
Of course, it works your entire body, which is why it makes it on the list. Any move that forces your entire body to work is a great calorie burner. The farmer’s walk is such that will blast your shoulders, your forearms, legs, and butt.
There’s really nothing not to like about it.
We like to do it on a field, like a football or a soccer field, just so we can measure how far we’re going, but in reality, you can do it just about anywhere.
For a farmer’s walk, you’ll want to pick up dumbbells on each side. Go as heavy as you can lift. This needs to be a challenge. Basically, it’s replicating a farmer carrying bundles of hay as they walk across a field. There’s a reason why old-school farmers (before sitting around in tractors for most of the time) had extremely muscular bodies and powerful shoulders.
With your heavy dumbbells, start at one side of the field and walk as far as you can. Your forearms will begin to burn before anything else.
However, fight through the pain. While your forearms hurt, you can still walk.
So do so as far as you can until your hands just can’t grasp the weight any longer. Take a short rest here, then pick up the weights and move on. If you’re doing a football or soccer field, try to go down and back. By the time you’re returning you’re entire body will feel spent.
If you’d rather not take a break when your hands give out, consider an alternate one-arm option. This is where you walk with only one arm holding the weight. When this arm gives, you let the other arm hold the weight and continue.
This gives your arms time to recover while you keep moving.
We like to go a set distance and to just go as far as possible and take as many necessary reps as needed.
Some will recommend doing it at timed intervals. We’re not as big on the time intervals as you never really know how far you can go with your set weight and timed intervals may lead you to reduce your weight. If you find timed works best for you check it out though, as this is your workout.
Of course, if you really wanted to take it to the next level you could swap out the walking for lunges, but we’d suggest starting with just a walk.
Box Squat Jump
Now here’s a workout you don’t need any kind of gear for.
Sure, you’ll find perfectly measured box sets at the gym for you to jump on, but there are plenty of other items you can jump on back at the house. If you have a workout bench, the bench is perfect for that.
You can even jump on a steady coffee table (we’d recommend using one the significant other doesn’t mind you jumping onto in the garage).
But really anything that forces you to jump two or more feet off the ground is perfect.
You might even have a concrete overhang around your porch that you can jump on. Sometimes getting the best fat burning workout is finding what works for you.
This exercise is a plyometric exercise. Plyometrics are all about jumping. If you’ve ever done a complete plyometric workout you know just how difficult it is (and how hard it is to make it through the entire workout). We’d recommend checking out different workouts on YouTube if you want further insights into complete workouts. Trust us, these things can be brutal, which is always great for burning more calories.
In terms of this particular move, it’s pretty straightforward.
You’ll want to jump up onto the elevated surface, drop back down and repeat, for as many times as you can fit into 45 seconds. If you’re just starting out you may want to begin at 30 seconds as it will wear you out.
Also, we recommend counting your jumps. Don’t worry about how many you’re able to squeeze in.
However, we find it effective to try and beat the jumps the next time later on (on your next cardio day). So write down how many times you’re able to jump, take 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat. Do this so you have two or three minutes in total jumping. Trust us, by the time you’re at the end of three minutes your legs will be spent. This makes it a great finisher cardio workout to cap off your leg day.
You won’t want to do this before your leg workouts (or the day before your leg workouts) as you won’t have as much energy for when you do work your legs (WebMD, 2018).
Bear and Crab Crawls
If you were in any kind of football growing up there’s a good chance you did bear crawls. Even if you didn’t have football, you probably did a bear crawl growing up. Basically, you’re on your hands and feet and you crawl like a bear.
Bet you never thought you could use this as a fat burning workout now, did you?
Well, head back out to that football or soccer field. Start at one end zone line and bear crawl to the other end zone. It sounds easy until you look up and realize you’ve only gone 30 yards.
If you want to take the challenge up a bit, rotate over and do a crab crawl. This is where you sit in almost a sit up position, place your feet flat on the ground and your palms against the ground, then lift your butt off the ground. You’ll then shuffle sideways (like a crab). It takes longer and is a killer on your forearms. It also is great for your core as well as your lower back, abs and butt squeeze tight during these moves.
Now, if you really want to make this the ultimate challenge and burn more calories, head out to your sporting field of choice with a friend.
Prepare as if you’re going to do a bear crawl, but have your friend pick up your legs. It’ll look like your friend is pushing a wheelbarrow. This places more of your body weight onto the front of your arms and you can only use your arms to move.
Now try to do the entire field once like this. Your upper body will be shot, all while burning a massive amount of calories (Chicago Tribune, 2016).
Fat burning exercises are often slight alterations to current workouts you already do. You may lift just a little bit differently or break up your cardio in a different way.
However, with these slight adjustments, you’ll see a tremendous improvement in your ability to burn calories and shed the fat.
So if you’re ready to take your fat burning workout to the next level, now is the perfect time to add these exercises to your weekly routine!