Fat-Burning Workouts You Need to Give a Try

When working towards fat loss, it’s all about combining a perfect mix of cardio and weight training.

With this combination you’re more likely to build a stronger, calorie-burning physique and fire up your metabolism for maximum daily calorie burn. But you have to work at it – and consistency is key.

While there’s never a perfect time of year to cut some of that body fat off, you can be sure you’re keeping on top of your belly-blitzing game all year round with these simple fat-burning workouts.

Fat-Burning Workouts and Exercises 

  1. The Box Squat Jump

For a high-impact, plyometric movement the box squat jump is up there with the best. With this movement you’ll work your glutes, quads, core, hamstrings, calves and arms to propel yourself up onto the box.

How to: Stand in front of the box with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your hips into a quarter squat keeping your back flat. Swing your arms forward and use the momentum to jump up onto the box landing with both feet. Bend both legs to cushion your landing and stand up before stepping back down.

For top results:Aim for 10 reps in three sets, with a 20 second break between each set.

  1. Mountain Climbers

A great addition to any HIIT workout, mountain climbers are a full-body exercise designed to specifically target your core.

How to: Think of this movement as a moving plank. Drop onto a mat into a push-up position, supporting your body weight on your hands and toes and keeping your body straight. Lift your right foot off the floor and drive it in towards your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement with your other leg, alternating with each one throughout.

For top results: Aim to repeat the movement for 30 seconds, doing as many reps as you can. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for five minutes.

  1. Kettlebell Swings

The kettlebell swing works some big muscle groups – the back, glutes, hamstrings and arms are all engaged with this explosive movement.

Kettlebell exercises have been proven for their cardiovascular benefits1 as well as their ability to improve muscular strength and power2.

How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend at your hips and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Holding it at arm’s length and keeping your back flat, hinge at your hips and swing the kettlebell backwards through your legs. When the kettlebell reaches shoulder height, keep your knees straight and contract your glutes.

The key thing about this move is nailing the hip hinge – not squatting.

For top results: Aim for five reps in three sets, with a 20 second break between each set.

  1. Burpees

Burpees are generally the most dreaded workout when it comes to fat-burning. They’re a tough move but are seriously effective for fat-burning and tightening your core, legs and upper body at the same time.

In one study, burpees elicited a cardiovascular response while simultaneously incorporating upper and lower body strength training without any other equipment required3.

How to: Squat and place your hands on the ground. Kick both legs out into a plank position and then return to the squat position. Jump up as high as you can and raise your hands.

For top results: Aim for three reps in five sets, with a 20 second break between each set.

  1. Medicine Ball Slams

Medicine balls are one of the most useful pieces of equipment in the gym. Stressed? Angry? Bored? Hurl a medicine ball into the ground and all will be relieved.

How to: Using your entire body for the move, hold the ball high above your head with feet shoulder-width apart. Slam the ball into the floor as hard as you can, catching it as it bounces back. Keep the tempo high and slam it as hard as you can.

For top results: Aim for 10 reps in five sets, with a 20 second break between each set.

  1. Goblet squat

A compound movement like the squat is known to burn more calories than an isolated movement4 because it exercises multiple muscle groups. The goblet squat is a whole-body workout which tones your quads, glutes, calves and core, all while working your arms and grip. It has been shown that extremely low squats can engage your glutes up to 25 per cent more than squats at a higher depth5.

If you’re after a strength exercise which increases your heart rate, energy and oxygen consumption so your body burns maximum calories, the goblet squat is the one for you.

Another study also demonstrated that 24 weeks of resistance training, including squat and deadlift exercises, increased bone mineral density in young healthy men6 – so if you’re concerned about your bone health, squats may be the answer.

How to: You can complete a goblet squat with a dumbbell or kettlebell. If squatting with a dumbbell, make sure you hold it vertically. With a kettlebell, hold the sides of its handle and bend your elbows so the weight is right in the centre of your chest.

Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders, press your hips back and bend the knees to carry out the squat. Make sure your elbows are positioned on the inside of either knee when at the lowest point of the squat and keep your feet flat on the floor. Go as low as you can and push back up using your heels.

For top results: Aim for 10 reps in three sets, with a 30 second break between each set.

  1. The Walking Lunge

The lunge is a hugely beneficial exercise for flexibility and improving overall posture, as well as strengthening the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.

They are physically demanding so require a lot of energy – this means you’re firing up your metabolism and burning more calories when performing them. The walking lunge takes this to the next level, not only improving your leg strength but core strength too. With the walking lunge, you reap the benefits of the normal lunge, but also challenge your core.

How to: Stand with your feet hip distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Take a controlled step forward with your right foot lowering your body toward the floor, making sure your knees are bent at 90 degrees angles and your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Push your right heel into the floor, bringing your left leg forward and step into a lunge on this side to complete the rep.

For top results: Aim for three sets of 20 reps, with a 30 second break between each set.

  1. The jumping jack

Jump back in time and try this cardio hit to elevate the heart rate and activate the muscles in your arms and legs. The jumping jack is a total body move which falls under the category of calisthenics – a form of bodyweight training that builds body strength and flexibility and boosts overall fitness7.

Like any calisthenic exercise, the jumping jack works several major muscle groups at the same time, enhancing muscular endurance and power. A study identified that a 155-pound person could burn 167 calories through a 30-minute session of moderately-intensity calisthenics such as the jumping jack.8

How to: Stand with your feet together and legs straight. Place your arms by your side and jump up, spreading your feet hip-width apart and bringing your arms up above your head. Bring your legs back together and return to the standing position. Repeat the motion.

For top results: Aim to repeat the movement for 30 seconds, doing as many reps as you can. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for five minutes.

  1. Push ups

Although most people assume a push up is for exercising the arms only, it’s an entirely different story.

Push ups also fall under the category of calisthenics and are a total body exercise that can be made more challenging, even for an experienced exerciser. They can be carried out in a variety of forms so whether you’re a beginner or professional, there’s a push up variation for you.

How to: Get on the ground on all fours, positioning your hands a little wider than your shoulders. Make sure your toes are grounded into the floor to steady your lower half. Tighten your core, engage the glutes and hamstrings and keep your back entirely flat. Inhale and lower your body until your elbows are positioned at a 90-degree angle. Exhale and keep the core engaged as you push back up to the starting position.

Want to really stretch yourself? Try this same movement and:

  • Place your hands much wider than shoulder-width apart which will place increased emphasis on the chest and triceps.
  • Lift one leg off the ground to really work your glutes, core and hamstrings.
  • Push yourself up explosively after each rep to clap your hands which will add emphasis to your chest, shoulders and triceps.
  • Use just one arm – this move will really test your upper-body strength as well as your core.

For top results: Aim for three sets of 10 reps, with a 30 second break between each set. If you’re a beginner, try three sets of five reps or perform the movement on your hands and knees instead.

Fat-burning workouts - push ups

  1. The squat jump

Like a squat – only you’re in mid-air for a moment. The squat jump is a unique take on the normal glute-boosting, core-working squat. Not only are you working your legs, glutes and core muscles, but you’re increasing your cardiovascular efforts, sending your heart rate rocketing and boosting your metabolism.

How to: Stand shoulder-width apart and point your toes slightly outward. Bend into a regular squat and inhale. Engage your core, exhale and jump up explosively with as much power as you can. Keep your body as straight as possible while in the air. As soon as you land, carefully lower yourself back into the squat position and complete the rep. Land in a controlled position as quietly as possible.

For top results: Aim for three sets of 10 reps, with a 20 second break between each set.

  1. High knees

High knees don’t look like much, but this move is a serious calorie burner which may add shape to your legs and strengthen your midsection. High knees work a number of leg muscles including quads, calves and hamstrings, all while strengthening your abdominal muscles.

How to: Stand straight with your hands at waist level and feet hip-width apart. With your palms facing down towards the ground, drive your right knee up towards your right hand and drop it down to the ground while immediately bringing the left knee to meet your left hand. Engage the core as each knee drives up to the hands.

For top results: Aim to repeat the movement for 30 seconds, doing as many reps as you can. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for five minutes.

  1. The kettlebell deadlift

The deadlift is the quintessential movement for a total body workout. It involves many of the large muscle groups in the body and has historically been used to strengthen the hip, thigh and back muscles9. If you’re looking for a good alternative to the squat, you’ve found it with the deadlift.

How to: First, choose a kettlebell. Anything between 8kg – 20kg will work, depending on your ability. Place it between your legs and stand with your feet flat and shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up and lower back flat, hinge at the hips and bend the knees to pick up the kettlebell. Tighten your glutes and core and raise to a standing position. Make sure your arms are extended throughout the motion. Bend your knees as you lower the kettlebell back to your ground, keeping your back flat and arms straight.

Want to really push yourself? Try it with one leg. The single-leg deadlift is a unique take on the conventional deadlift, exercising the arms, glutes, hamstrings and even your core. The good thing about this exercise is you can use a dumbbell, barbell or just your own bodyweight. Stand with both feet together, right under your hips. Shift your weight into your right leg while keeping it straight with a slight bend in the knee. Holding the soft bend in your knee, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s practically parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat, arms straight and at shoulder height at all times. Hold the movement for a second to work your balance and return to the standing position by pushing into the ground and extending the hips. Switch legs and repeat.

For top results: Aim for three sets of 10 reps with a 30 second break between each set.

  1. Battle rope

Looking to boost your cardio and power up your strength training? Battle ropes offer a dynamic way to tone your arms, legs and core all while sending that heart rate soaring.

A study found that swinging heavy ropes for 10 minutes results in high heart rates and energy expenditure and burns up to 112 calories10. Slam them to the ground or wave them up and down – the battle rope possibilities are endless. Check out these two battle rope exercises below to start with:

How to:

Power slam

Keeping feet flat on the floor, grab the ropes with a closed grip and palms facing inward. Bring the ropes up over your head, lower down into a quarter squat position and slam them down into the ground with a powerful motion. Return to standing and repeat.


With hands shoulder-width apart, grab the ropes at arm’s length in front of you and align them with your hips. Engage your core and start alternately raising and lowering each arm with a powerful action.

For top results: Aim to repeat the motion for 20 seconds, doing as many reps as you can. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 5 minutes or more.

  1. The jump rope

Jump rope workouts are simple yet so effective for calorie burning. Better yet, you can do them practically anywhere, so if you’re always on the go, this is the exercise for you.

How to: Rest your shoulder blades and keep your chest lifted. Use your wrists to turn the rope and jump at a good pace. Don’t jump up too high and maintain a good rhythm. Once you feel confident, you can increase the pace.

For top results: Aim tohop continuously at a good pace for 5 minutes.

The bottom line

With these 14 exercises, you’re guaranteed to fire up your metabolism and create a trimmed physique which burns fat.

As long as you build a routine, add a variety of cardio and weight exercises to your training plan and keep at it, there’s nothing stopping you from turning that body into a fat-burning machine.

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