Best Exercises To Lose Weight: The Top 10 To Add To Your Routine!

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

best exercises to lose weight

It’s not easy being a busy mom while still trying to maintain your health and fitness. That's why you need the best exercises to lose weight!

First things first — you can't out-exercise a bad diet!

Proper nutrition is vital, but exercise is important, too!

As a busy mom with numerous responsibilities, you probably don’t have unlimited time on your hands to spend in the gym.

You need exercises that give you the best results in a limited time — you need something straightforward and to the point.

That's why we've put together the 10 best exercises to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life.

The step-by-step guides below will help you master these exercises and reach your full fitness potential.

These full-body exercises use compound movements and even incorporate a little bit of cardio. Together, these strength and endurance moves will maximize your weight loss potential.

This video will help you create your own home workout plan for weight loss and toning!

The 10 Best Exercises To Lose Weight

By incorporating some of the best weight loss exercises into your fitness routine, you will be able to shed fat and gain strength in the most effective and efficient way possible.

You can put together your own workout routine by choosing three or four of the exercises below for each of your strength sessions.


Burpees are the ultimate fat-burning exercise.

You are working multiple muscle groups, including your core, shoulders, arms, and legs.

Plus you’ll be working up a sweat and burning some major calories!

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat as you place your hands between your feet.
  • Jump your feet back into the plank position.
  • Then jump your feet back to your hands.
  • Reach your arms overhead and jump up into the air.
  • Land and immediately lower back into a squat for your next rep.
  • Aim for 10-15 reps. Rest for thirty seconds then repeat for three sets.

Kettlebell Swings

This exercise is great for your glutes, hamstrings, upper, mid, and lower back muscles, as well as your core.

Not only will it work these large muscle groups, but it will also get your heart pumping and increase your cardiovascular fitness.

  • Start at a low weight and work your way up to avoid injury.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the kettlebell handle.
  • Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the hips, bringing the kettlebell between your legs.
  • Drive up through your hips bringing the kettlebell parallel to the floor at about chest level.
  • Repeat 10-12 times for a total of three sets.

Mountain Climbers

This is another one of the best exercises to lose weight.

This full-body exercise will target your abs, shoulders, triceps, and lower body.

It will also give you a bit of a cardio workout as well.

  • Start in a plank position while keeping your back flat and core contracted.
  • Pull your right knee into your chest.
  • Then switch your legs, bringing your right leg back and bringing your left knee up to your chest.
  • Run your knees in and out as fast as you can for thirty seconds.
  • Aim for three sets with a 30-second rest between each set.

Battle Rope Waves

Battle rope waves are a killer cardio workout that also targets your shoulders, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core.

  • Stand and hold the ends of the battle ropes in front of you.
  • Contract your core and begin raising and lowering each arm explosively, alternating between the left and right arm.
  • Continue doing this for as long as you can.
  • Aim for 20 seconds at first, and gradually try to increase this time.
  • Complete three sets. Rest 30 seconds between each set.

Renegade Rows

This movement forces you to engage your core and lower body, while also working the muscles in your back and shoulders during the rowing motion.

  • Start in a push-up position while grasping two light dumbbells underneath you.
  • Engage your core and pull up your left arm into a row while balancing on the right arm.
  • Return the left arm back to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite side.
  • Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps on each side.

Squats (Barbell or Dumbbell)

Squats will really target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings and also force you to engage your core during the full range of motion.

Because you are using free weights your smaller stabilizing muscles will be activated to a greater degree than with the machine leg press.

Researchers have even found that squats burn more calories on average as other popular exercises, like biceps curls and lat pulldowns.

In this study, squats were found to burn an average of 35 calories per minute! This makes it one of the best exercises to lose weight.

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Squat until your hamstrings are parallel to the ground with the weights at your side.
  • Straighten your legs and stand up to the starting position.
  • Be sure to maintain proper form throughout the movement.
  • You can start with no weight at first and gradually add weight as you perfect your form and gain strength.

Walking Dumbbell Lunges

Again, working the large leg muscle groups will give you some serious fat-burning bang for your buck.

Plus, stabilizing your body with one leg during the push-off phase of lunges really activates your glutes and hamstrings to a greater degree.

  • You will need a clear pathway for this exercise.
  • Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • You can hold dumbbells down by your sides, or you can just use your body weight to start out.
  • Step forward with your right leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips.
  • Lower down until your left knee behind you nearly touches the ground.
  • Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot.
  • Drive through the heel of your right foot and extend both knees to raise yourself back up.
  • Step forward with your left back foot now, repeating the lunge on the opposite leg.
  • Continue walking forward, alternating lunges for 6 reps on each side, then turn around and return to where you started.
  • If you do not have a large area for walking, you can do these lunges in place by alternating sides.

Dumbbell Box Step-Ups

This is a great lower body exercise to hit your glutes and legs.

Single leg exercises also increase the small stabilizing muscles in the core and the strength of the smaller muscles around the joint, protecting you against injuries.

Plus you’ll be burning calories as you are constantly moving throughout this workout.

  • Start with a box or elevated platform in front of you, about 12-18 inches in height.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Start with a low weight and increase as your fitness progresses.
  • Step up onto the box with your right foot.
  • Push off of your left foot to stand fully on the box.
  • Step back down, starting with your left foot, then bringing your right foot down to follow.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps on the right, then repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 3 sets on each side.

Tuck Jumps

Tuck jumps are a great way to burn calories while working your core and getting a great cardio workout.

Plus you will be building major strength in the lower body.

  • Begin in a standing position with your knees slightly bent.
  • Hold your hands in front of you at chest height with your palms down.
  • Dip down into a quarter squat and immediately jump upward.
  • Drive the knees towards the chest, attempting to touch them to the palms of your hands.
  • Then land by re-extending your legs with knees slightly bent.
  • Repeat as rapidly as possible for thirty seconds.
  • Try to complete three sets after a thirty-second rest between each set.
  • Start with small jumps and gradually increase height as you gain fitness.

Wall Balls

Wall balls are an amazing full-body exercise. The squatting motion will activate your quads, calves, and hamstrings.

The explosive upper body movement will work your arms, shoulders, and chest.

Plus you’ll be getting a great cardio workout as well.

  • Start by holding a medicine ball in front of you.
  • It should be a weight that you will be able to throw over your head about 8-10 feet.
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then explode back up and throw the ball to a spot about 10 feet above your head.
  • Catch the ball on the way back down, and quickly repeat the motion.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Holly Smith, M.D.
B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the best exercises to lose weight.

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