Everyone wants that one secret exercise that can burn the most fat off their body in the least amount of time.
Since there are so many different opinions about what is the best exercise to lose weight, we decided it would be a good idea to consult our experts to hear their thoughts.
We didn’t come up with one consensus, but did find some great exercises that will definitely help to get you leaner and stronger, even if there is no single best exercise to lose weight.
Best Exercise to Lose Weight #1 | DB Clean & Press
This is a really tough question because a combination of exercises would be ideal and nutrition is by far the most important part of the weight loss equation. If I had to imagine the best exercise to lose fat, it would (1) create an intense muscle burn and stimulation in most of your muscles (2) increase your heart rate and your body temperature and (3) burn calories after the workout, creating an afterburn effect.
Generally speaking, I believe the best exercises to lose weight are high intensity leg exercises, because your legs comprise the largest volume of muscle in your body and can create powerful hormonal changes. They also satisfy all the points I just listed.
I’m biting my lip as I write this because there are so many exercises with pros/cons to each, but I would say the Dumbbell Clean & Press. The wrinkle I would add is to do a squat in between the clean and the press, as if you are jumping the weight up. This is an exercise that requires some technical skill and also pretty good hip/calf mobility, so be careful (See: How To Increase Squat Depth).
The DB Clean & Press works just about every muscle in the body. Because it’s a power exercise that requires both upper and lower body strength and power, you can burn a ton of calories while helping retain your muscle mass as you lose only fat.
The downside is the DB Clean & Press only combines two movement patterns (squat and vertical press), but no single exercise can incorporate all movement patterns. Honorable mentions include The Prowler, Airdyne, Walking Lunges, Kettlebell Swings, Sprinting (and uphill sprinting especially).
– Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT
Best Exercise to Lose Weight #2 | Sleep
Sleep – This is my honest answer because if I don’t get enough sleep, it is that much harder to stick to my diet. If I get enough sleep, I can stick to my diet without an issue. It’s definitely my “favorite” exercise.
If that’s not what you were looking for, then I would say a Step up with Shoulder Press into a Reverse Lunge. Do these correctly and they’re brutal on both the leg muscles and your lungs. Just be sure to not have eaten anything heavy before doing them.
If someone can’t do those, then simple high step-ups with a good amount of weight (think bench height with 50’s in each hand).
– John Levya, CSCS, CPT
Best Exercise to Lose Weight #3 | Total Body Circuit Training
I think this is very individual. People can lose weight doing any exercise. The most important thing is finding activities you enjoy and that you know you can stick to. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, chances are you won’t continue. Consistent daily effort is the most important thing to losing weight.
However, if you insist on one exercise that will push you in the right direction, total body strength circuits give you an all-in-one workout. They challenge all your muscle groups, keep your heart rate up, and help build/maintain muscle while decreasing body fat. Definitely the most time-efficient and effective workout to change your body!
Best Exercise to Lose Weight #4 | Table Push-Aways
I actually get asked this question quite a bit as a personal trainer and my response is always the same, “table push-aways.” I’m serious. You can have the world’s greatest fat-loss exercise program ever written and not lose a pound. On the contrary, if you are eating at the right calorie level for your needs any exercise you do will help you lose weight: even bicep curls.
That said, I have found the most efficient exercise to aid in fat loss to be those that recruit the most amount of muscle. Full body, multi-joint exercises have been found to raise testosterone levels and help to build or maintain muscle mass while on a caloric-deficit diet which is absolutely essential for any fat-loss program.
I recommend starting your workout with exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench press, pullups, or any variation when you are fresh and able to move more weight. Getting stronger will also aid in the battle as you will be able to lift heavier weights, which will yield more energy expenditure. Double win!
– Stephen Bergeron, CSCS, CPT
Best Exercise to Lose Weight #5 | Burpees
My answer is burpees! Full body exercises that require the use of large muscles groups such as your quads and chest tend to burn the most calories. Anytime you use major muscle groups to complete an exercise your smaller/stabilizer muscles are automatically activated creating an efficient and complete full body exercise.
Once a military specific exercise, burpees have become a widespread staple throughout the fitness community due to the fat burning potential while maintaining lean muscle mass. Full body exercises such as burpees can increase your lean body mass which can help to boost your metabolism which will create a greater post workout calorie burn also known as the “afterburn” affect. Personally, I think a burpee is a great exercise because it can help activate your fast twitch muscle fibers. The explosive squat involved with the exercise will help recruit those fast-twitch muscle fibers and force them to grow. Burpees can also increase muscle endurance if performed for an adequate duration such as one minute intervals. Personally, I was first exposed to burpees when I trained with a good friend who was attending West Point. I still believe that performing burpees until exhaustion is one of the hardest exercises in the fitness world. Burpees are also extremely versatile and can be performed in a small area with no need for exercise equipment or weights.
What your best exercise to lose weight? Do you have a favorite on this list?