If you’re looking to decrease your body fat levels this summer, you’ve come to the right place! Alongside a well-balanced and nutritious diet, there are a number of simple bodyweight exercises that you can do to help assist your body’s ability to burn fat.
The great news is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to do these exercises. They can be done at home, in a park or anywhere that you can find a small area of space! As well the exercises in this post you might want to read about fartlek training for fat burning.
All forms of exercise can help you to decrease your body fat levels. We’ve just put together a few of our favourites – and we’ll also explain why they can be so effective.
Squats and lunges
These are both wonderful exercises for the lower body and are both great options for fat burning exercises. Both exercises will work your quads, hamstrings, buttocks, and calf muscles to some extent.
To perform a squat, take a comfortable stance with the feet just wider than hip distance. Sit back as if you’re sitting into a chair. Keep your abdominals strong and your chest lifted. Then push back up through the hips to the start position.
For a lunge, take a split stance with the feet about hip distance apart, to help with balance. Keep the body upright and let your front knee bend and back knee lower until it’s just off the ground. Then push back to the top.
Variations beyond a basic squat include squat holds (hold at the bottom of the movement to increase the intensity), a squat followed by a knee lift, or a jump squat for a high intensity option. Lunge variations include walking lunges, dynamic (“power”) lunges and jumping lunges.
Why squats and lunges are great for burning body fat
Both of these exercises work large portions of muscle mass. They’re known as “compound exercises” which means they work more than one main muscle group at a time. Essentially they provide “more bang for your buck”. This is a result of the nervous system response, and the extra heart rate elevation as compared to isolated exercises. They’ll build lean muscle which helps you to burn more calories, even at rest.
Mountain climbers and burpees
Both of these exercises can be used to increase the intensity of a workout. They can be very challenging for the body because they require the use of so many muscles at once and they quickly increase your heart rate.
How to do them
To do mountain climbers, place both hands on the ground, shoulder distance apart. Place the feet on the ground, in a split stance, with the heels up. Lightly jump the feet up to switch the leg position, and continue repeating for a set period of time. A low impact version can be performed by starting in a full plank position and tapping one foot up towards the hand on the same side of the body, then tapping it back. Alternate each side.
To do a burpee, bend your legs and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet out to a plank position, jump them back in and then stand up again. You can also add a jump on the end of the movement, before going into the next repetition. To do a low impact version, step one foot out, then the other, then step back in one at a time, rather than jump.
Why mountain climbers and burpees are great for burning fat
You’ve probably heard the term “HIIT” (high intensity interval training) before. Basically this requires doing short bursts of high intensity exercise interspersed with rest periods. Mountain climbers and burpees are both high intensity in nature so they’re difficult to sustain for long periods of time. Therefore they’re prime candidates for this type of training.
They can be added into workouts with periods of rest or “active recovery” in between. This creates a HIIT style training session which has often been shown to be superior to steady state exercise when it comes to fat burning.
Push ups and chin ups
Finally, we’re including two great upper body exercises on our fat burning list. Push ups and chin ups are great fat burners for similar reasons to squats and lunges. Again, they’re both compound exercises that use large portions of muscle to optimize fat burning.
By including both of these exercises in your workout plan (even if they’re done on different days), you’re helping to keep your body balanced since chin ups are a “pull” exercise and push ups are a “push” exercise.
How to do push ups and chin ups
Push ups primarily work the chest, front of shoulders and the triceps. To do a push up, start in either a full or half plank position. Keep your abdominal muscles strong and let your arms bend to lower yourself down towards the ground. Push back up to the start position whilst maintaining a strong core.
Chin ups primarily work the back, rear shoulders, and the biceps. Hang from a bar with your feet off the ground. You can use either an overhand or underhand grip (you might find an underhand grip a little easier). Use your strength to pull your bodyweight up until your chin is just over the bar. Use a spotter if you need to! Lower back down with control.
Are you including these bodyweight fat burner exercises in your exercise plan? Do you have another favourite fat burning exercise? Leave a comment below!