6. Bench press from The Best Strength Moves for Losing Fat

The Best Strength Moves for Losing Fat


15 Best Strength Moves for Losing Fat


The only healthy way to lose fat is to burn more calories than you consume. Eating better is crucial but building muscles can help a lot by speeding up your metabolism.

Performing resistance training during periods of negative energy balance can mitigate the loss of fat-free mass, according to the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

A pound of muscle will burn 50 more calories in a day when you’re resting.

The typical goal is gaining 1-2 pounds of muscle a month. Depending on your physical health and fitness level, you can build four pounds or more of muscle in 30 days.  

1. Squats to press


Squats, and all of its variations, are a great exercise for the whole body as they create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building, improving muscle mass. This is a good exercise if you want to burn fat, Williams says. The most obvious benefit is building your leg muscles – quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. The squats also activate you glutes and back muscles. Remember to upgrade them as soon as they start to feel comfortable. Do jump squats, goblet squats, pistol squats or plie squats.

2. Roman deadlift (RDL)


The RDL is another very effective exercise, Williams says. It’s intense and really works out your hamstrings. If you’re a runner, it’ll be easier for you to move your legs. Many coaches like RDL because it’s like the one exercise/full-body workout. It trains every major muscle group – legs, glutes, the entire back, core, and arms. Do it properly: Hold a bar or dumbbells at hip level; lower the bar as you move your butt back, keeping your back straight at all times; return to the original position pushing your hips forward to stand up.

3. Planks


Planks, when done correctly, need just a little of your time and are very efficient. It’s one of the best core exercises ever, Williams adds. Challenge yourself and do a circuit of different types of planks to see even faster results. You can do sets of standard planks, side planks or side plank crunches, reverse planks, straight-arm planks, planks with lifting your leg up, one-legged planks, and twisting knee planks. Your core will be burning after a single set.

4. Crossover lunges


The lunge is imperative to preserving squat strength. “I definitely have my clients do lunges,” Williams says. But what matters more is the volume. Two sets of 15 reps is not enough, he adds. You have to do at least 3 sets of 12 reps and add weight to make it a more challenging full body workout. You should be getting pretty tired by the third set, Williams says. If not, add more weight. Crossover lunges work the hamstrings and glutes extra hard because you are trying to stay balanced.

5. Bent over row


This is a total body exercise, Williams says, that works out multiple muscle groups at the same time. “And this is how the body was designed to move,” he adds. It is especially good for good posture. Include barbell complexes in your routine and you’ll see the fat starting to go away. “A loaded barbell is the ideal apparatus to hit heavy weights, build muscle and fire up your metabolism to burn off fat,” according to Bodyuilding.com.

6. Bench press


Bench presses and bent over rows go hand in hand. “If you’re doing those with high volume – 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps – you’ll get good [muscle] definition pretty fast,” Williams says. Lie on the flat bench, the eyes should be under the bar; lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder-blades; feet should remain on the floor at all times; grab the bar and hold it in the base of your palm; take a deep breath and unrack; elbows should be locked, lower the bar to mid-chest; keep the forearms vertical; press.

7. Cable rotations


Exercising with cables and bands is one of the most inexpensive ways to build muscle, which is very important for your metabolism. A resistance band, a.k.a. a tube, helps reduce the risk of injury and increases strength while also improving your range of motion. Doing resistance exercises with cables, as opposed to machines, is better because you get to control the movement, making the workout more functional, according to Williams.

8. One-leg deadlift


The deadlift is great, Nicholas Odorisio, voted Best Personal Trainer in Philadelphia in 2012 and founder of Nick’s Gym says, because it’s a functional movement. You can always progress it by adding weight. This glute-building exercise is another one you can do while entertaining yourself with Netflix. Make the single-leg deadlift a little more intense by grabbing a pair of light dumbbells. Stand on one foot and lift the other behind you until it’s parallel to the ground. Hold that positions for 10 seconds and push back. Bonus: Your hamstrings get a great workout too.

9. Leg press


“If you’re just starting out, machines can be a good workout as long as you keep the same volume,” Williams says. The leg press machine helps with the proper leg and back positioning (posture) as you work on your quads. It puts more pressure on the quadriceps than a regular squat because you’re pushing against a platform while your legs are in the air.

10. Leg extensions


This is another machine-based exercise that beginners can try, Williams says, to work on their quads. No other muscles are really activated. The exercise is very simple and almost impossible to do in a wrong way. Just make sure your knees are at the right height, or they may hurt later. The leg-extension exercise helps with better and more powerful kicking moves.

11. Hanging knee raises


This is another good strength exercise for losing fat because it involves a lot of muscles, Williams says. “It’s a very complex and functional movement.” You’re pulling your legs against gravity while hanging from parallel bars. It’s an advanced core exercise. Beginners can use the hanging abs machine which is harder than crunches and safer for your back when done properly. Don’t swing back and forth. Stabilize your spine as you pull your knees towards the chest. Press your back against the pad and use your abs to raise your legs and knees.

12. Push-up holds


This one is pretty straight forward but essential. If you’re looking to improve your upper body strength, or in some of these cases, the strength in your entire body, than a push-up is a great choice. Keep your body straight at all times. Try a holding position for a change. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width. Hold for a few seconds, then press half-way up and hold for a few more. If you can go low so your chest touches the ground, do it and hold again. Go back to the half-way point again and then to original position. This is one set. Try doing 5.

13. Wall sits


This is a perfect static exercise to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. As always, sit against the wall for as long as you can. Do several sets of 30 seconds or a minute. This is a timed static exercise because the muscles are contracting without movement. It’s a good addition to your leg training because you strengthen two major muscle groups in the thigh – quadriceps and hamstrings.

14. Mountain climber


This exercise only looks easy but you’ll barely be catching your breath after 40 seconds. Make it a little more complicated and do the cross-body climber where you lift one leg up and draw the knee to the opposite elbow.

15. Donkey kicks


The name comes from the position of the exercise – you start on your legs and arms (4 legged-animal) and kick one leg back at a time. The American Council on Exercise named it one of the best butt exercises in 2006 after conducting a study. The magic of the donkey kicks lies in the fact that they don’t require any equipment, are technically easy, and you can do them while watching TV or even reading a book. Before you know it, you’ll be fitter, faster and more agile.