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Best Exercises to Lose Weight: Check Out Our Top 10!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & 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. But… when you get some free time you need the best exercises to lose weight that don't have you spending hours in the gym.

Luckily you have come to the right place. The trainers, physicians, and nutritionists at the Fit Mother Project have helped thousands of men and women transform their bodies and get in the best shape of their lives.

Using science-backed research, we have developed some of the best workouts and fitness plans to help you lose weight and look great.

As a mom with numerous responsibilities, you need something straightforward and to the point. Here we have laid out the 10 best exercises to lose weight and get in the best shape of your life.

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

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How Weight Loss Can Improve Your Health

You don’t have to have extreme weight loss to see health benefits. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, even a modest weight loss goal of 5-10% of your body weight can have serious health benefits.

This includes improved blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. This will help decrease your risk of developing chronic diseases (1).

Other health benefits include alleviating the pressure on your joints which can lower your chance of developing osteoarthritis later in life (2).

Plus, weight-bearing weight loss exercises will also decrease your risk of osteoporosis as you age (3)!

Maximize Weight Loss with Full Body Exercises

You probably don’t have unlimited time on your hands to spend in the gym, so you need exercises that give you the best results in a limited time.

Full-body exercises are one of the top ways to help you lose weight. Strength training has been shown to conserve lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass in females (4).

Plus, increased lean body mass burns more calories at rest than fat mass (5).

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

The Ultimate Guide to the 10 Best Exercises To Lose Weight

 

1) Burpees:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Burpees:

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

 

2) Kettlebell Swings:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Kettlebell Swings:

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

 

3) Mountain Climbers:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Mountain Climbers:

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

 

4) Battle Rope Waves:

Benefits:

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

How To Do Battle Rope Waves:

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

5) Renegade Rows:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Renegade Rows:

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

 

6) Squats (Barbell or Dumbbell):

Benefits:

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! (6). This makes it one of the best exercises to lose weight.

How To Do Squats:

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

 

7) Walking Dumbbell Lunges:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Walking Dumbbell Lunges:

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

 

8) Dumbbell Box Step-Ups:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Dumbbell Box Step-Ups:

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

 

9) Tuck Jumps:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Tuck Jumps:

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

10) Wall Balls:

Benefits:

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.

How To Do Wall Balls:

  1. Start by holding a medicine ball in front of you.
  2. It should be a weight that you will be able to throw over your head about 8-10 feet.
  3. 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.
  4. Catch the ball on the way back down, and quickly repeat the motion.
  5. Aim for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Get Started Today with The Best Exercises For Weight Loss

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 above for each of your strength sessions.

If you don’t feel like piecing together your own workout, or want something more structured, there are some great options at the Fit Mother Project website.

Along with numerous great fitness articles, there is also our free Jumpstart program. This free fitness video puts together some great weight loss exercises into a set workout.

Even if you are new to working out, or just getting back into fitness after some time off, there is no time to start like today.

These top weight loss exercises will have you well on your way to a healthier, fitter lifestyle.

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & 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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References:

1. National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, & Kidney Diseases (US). (1998). Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: the evidence report (No. 98). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

2. Messier, S. P., Resnik, A. E., Beavers, D. P., Mihalko, S. L., Miller, G. D., Nicklas, B. J., … & Guermazi, A. (2018). Intentional Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: Is More Better?. Arthritis care & research, 70(11), 1569-1575.

3. Shanb, A. A., & Youssef, E. F. (2014). The impact of adding weight-bearing exercise versus nonweight bearing programs to the medical treatment of elderly patients with osteoporosis. Journal of family & community medicine, 21(3), 176–181. doi:10.4103/2230-8229.142972

4. Lehri, A., & Mokha, R. (2006). Effectiveness of aerobic and strength training in causing weight loss and favourable body composition in females. Journal of Exercise Science and Physiotherapy, 2, 96. Zurlo, F., Larson, K., Bogardus, C., & Ravussin, E. (1990). Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure. The Journal of clinical investigation, 86(5), 1423-1427.

5. Reis, V. M., Garrido, N. D., Vianna, J., Sousa, A. C., Alves, J. V., & Marques, M. C. (2017). Energy cost of isolated resistance exercises across low- to high-intensities. PloS one, 12(7), e0181311. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181311

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