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best fat burning exercises

17 Best Fat Burning Exercises

If you’re on a fitness journey and looking for the best fat burning exercises, we are here to help. In this article you'll find 17 of the best exercises to raise your heartbeat and shed some fat. 

We know it can get monotonous doing the same routine every day, but our list of exercises will allow you to change up your routine and stay motivated. There are a plethora of combinations that you can make with these exercises - so you can count on a new and exciting routine daily.

Before we get started, if you’re a fitness fanatic wanting to get started in the industry, why not look into our level 3 diploma in personal training here. Or, you can always sift through all of the fitness courses that we provide here in our course prospectus

Don't forget, if you're interested in getting fit you can download your free 16-week hypertrophy plan for beginners below!

#1 Bosu Ball Mountain Climbers

If you’re looking for the best exercises for burning belly fat, you’ve found your match! We are kicking off this list with an exercise that is perfect for the gym. This exercise is a slower variation of what you may also know as mountain climbers, and it's perfect for a HIIT circuit or a workout finisher. What's more, all you need is a Bosu ball and you're good to go!

Set Up 

Set up this exercise with your Bosu ball on a flat surface, dome side down and grasp the handles on either side.

Starting Position 

  • Start with your hands grasping the handles of the ball.
  • Your body should be in a plank style position with a straight back and strong core.

Execution

  • From the starting position, simply drive your right knee into your chest slowly, keeping the tension in the core.
  • Return the leg back straight.
  • Drive your left knee into your chest and again return the leg back straight.
  • Repeat this process for the recommended duration.

Muscles Worked: Abdominals and obliques.

Duration: 30 seconds.

Common Mistakes

  • Dropping the knees: When you begin to fatigue and the core becomes exhausted, you may feel like you want to drop your knees. Once you start to feel this, take a break and restore - don’t let your technique suffer the consequences of your exhaustion.

Diet is a key part of weight loss and burning fat, but don’t be afraid of eating fats all together, they’re actually a necessity. To learn more, head over to our article on healthy high fat foods here. 

#2 Bosu Ball Burpee

If you want the perfect balance of resistance training and HIIT training, this Bosu ball burpee is among the best fat burning exercises to do at the gym. 

Set Up 

To set this exercise up, you will need to grab a Bosu ball and find yourself a good amount of space. Before you begin, you may want to warm up with a few regular burpees to get a feel for the movement itself.

Starting Position 

  • Hold the Bosu ball by the handles and lift it above your head.
  • The dome should be up in the air and your feet should be placed shoulder width apart.

Execution

  • From the starting position, squat down and then jump into the plank position.
  • This position should see you with the Bosu ball dome side down, holding the handles and your legs out straight on your toes.
  • From this position, jump your legs in towards your chest, still on your toes.
  • Then use the Bosu ball to push up back into the starting position.
  • Repeat.

Muscles Worked: Pectorals, deltoids, abdominals, quadriceps, triceps, glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves.

Duration: 30 seconds. 

If you want to get more confident with a Bosu ball read our article on the best Bosu ball exercises here.

#3 Sit Ups

Sit ups are among the most popular belly fat burning exercises, plus they are easy to perform in the comfort of your own home. They also increase strength as well burn fat!

Starting Position: 

  • Start this exercise by grabbing yourself a mat for comfort. 
  • Your back is going to be on the floor so ensure you have a mat for safety purposes, particularly if you have a hard wood floor.
  • Then, lie flat on your back.

Execution:

  • From the starting position, bend the knees so the feet are flat on the floor.
  • Raise your arms so that they are vertically up in the air.
  • Using your core, crunch up so your upper body is off of the ground.
  • With control, lower your body down into the starting position.

Sets & Reps: 12 reps and 3 sets.

Muscles targeted: Abdominals, hip flexors, deltoids and triceps.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Holding the back of the neck: It is a common habit that people grab the back of their neck when they do a sit up. This picks up the slack from any fatigue that you may feel in your core and stops your abdominal muscles from doing the work. 

Whilst this is an easy habit to slip into, it essentially diminishes the benefits of the exercise, so if you find yourself doing this it's better to rest and then continue once you feel refueled. 

#4 Weighted Russian Twist

This is one of the best fat burning exercises for at home, or in the gym! Though our handy how-to video shows us using a weight plate, you can use just about any weight you own for this exercise and you can even just simply do the action with body weight.

Likewise, if you find it too hard with a weight just simplify the movement by clasping your hands together instead of holding a weight. 

Starting Position

  • This exercise requires good balance and your back and legs need to be off of the ground so grab a mat. 
  • Sit up with your legs out in front of you and place your weight beside you - if you are using one.

Execution

  • Begin with the form described above in the starting position, then, raise your legs so they are bent at a 90 degree angle. You can cross your feet over one another if you find this stabilises you more.
  • Pick up your weight, or clasp your hands together if you are not using one and find your balance by using your core.
  • Then, twist from side to side, you should feel the core doing the work.

Duration: 30 seconds.

Muscles targeted: Abdominals, obliques, serratus anterior. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Using a heavy weight: Fast fat burning exercises for the stomach like russian twists should be performed with care. Though this exercise can be intensified with a heavier weight or made easier without a weight - going too heavy could risk a strain and induce an over twisting motion which you should avoid.

If you’re building your home gym, get only the best medicine ball for this exercise by choosing from our list of the best medicine balls to buy for a full body workout here.

#5 Spider Crawl

This is one of the more demanding fat burning exercises that you can do at home, in the gym or even outside - pretty much anywhere with enough space and a surface that you can put your hands down on. This is great for those who don’t have weights to hand and are looking for bodyweight burners!

Starting Position: 

  • Start on the ground on all fours to begin this exercise and ensure that you can have your bare hands on the ground. 
  • If you are doing this exercise outside, make sure there is nothing sharp on the ground or stones in your path.

Execution

  • From the starting position, you should simultaneously step the left knee to the left elbow.
  • Then, perform the same movement on the opposite side.
  • You should then have found the correct rhythm to crawl forward.
  • Keep this movement up for the recommended duration. 

Duration: 20 - 30 seconds.

Muscles targeted: Biceps, triceps, pectorals, deltoids, abdominals, obliques, forearms, serratus anterior. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Going too fast: Though it may not look this way, this is one of the fat burning exercises that works many muscles and requires a lot of energy. So, in order to work all of these muscles and in turn, burn the most fat, you should keep it slow and steady. Not only does this benefit you more in terms of fat loss, but it also reduces the risk of injury.

#6 Waiters Carry

This is one of the best fat burning exercises that mimics an everyday movement. If you’ve ever worked in hospitality, you might be familiar with it! This will require a weight of some sort and though we have used a weight plate in the video above, if you are working out at home you can swap this for pretty much anything else.

Starting Position: 

  • Start this exercise by finding some space.
  • Grab a weight that you can comfortably lift up above your head.

Execution:

  • Lift the weight above your head with one arm.
  • Your arm should be straight in the air.
  • Walk forward until you reach the end of your space and turn around.
  • Walk for the recommended amount of time.

Duration: 30 seconds. 

Muscles targeted: Abdominals, obliques, deltoids, trapezius and rhomboids.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Lifting too heavy: Lifting too heavy can be dangerous for your wrists, and since this exercise requires you to hold a weight above your head, it also poses risk to your upper body. There's also the risk of dropping the weight on your head! The best way to minimise such risks is by ensuring that you are only using a weight that you feel comfortable holding raised in the air. 

#7 Plank with Twist

This is among the best fat burning exercises to do at home, especially if you’re looking for a move to include as part of a HIIT circuit!

Starting Position: 

  • Begin by grabbing a mat and getting into the plank position. 
  • Your arms should be extended with your palms flat on the floor. Your legs should be out straight with a straight back, using the core for stability.

Execution

  • From the starting position, twist the hips and drive one knee towards the opposing arm.
  • Bring your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side and keep repeating for the recommended duration.

Duration: 30 seconds. 

Muscles targeted: Rectus abdominis, obliques.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Twisting the hips too far: Twisting your hips too far during this exercise could induce injury and make it difficult for you to actually feel the benefits of the movement. Also, with this exercise requiring a level of balance, overtwisting the hips too much could affect your stabilising leg. 

Get your diet on track with our help, head over to our article on the best foods that help burn fat or speed up our metabolism here. 

#8 Barbell Ab Roll Out

If you are somebody who loves to work out with weights, this ab circuit finisher could be a great exercise to add into your routine. This is one of the most effective fat burning exercises for men and women, and is best performed in a gym environment as it requires equipment.

For this exercise, you will need a barbell and a mat for your knees. It is a good idea to try this exercise with an ab roller first to get used to the movement, but if you don’t have one to hand, this barbell variation is just as good.

Starting Position: 

  • Begin this exercise by kneeling onto the mat and placing your barbell in front of you. 
  • Ensure you have plenty of room and your toes are on the ground before grasping the bar with a wide overhand grip.

Execution:

  • From the starting position, engage the core and slowly roll forward until your chest is close to the floor.
  • Then, using your core to drive the movement, exhale and roll backwards to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the recommended reps and sets.

Sets & Reps: 8 reps, 3 sets.

Muscles targeted: Hips, deltoids, triceps, latissimus dorsi and the abdominals.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Shooting hips forward: Due to this being one of the best belly fat burning exercises, you want to ensure that you power the move from your abs rather than allowing your back to take the slack. So, perform this exercise in a slow and controlled manner as if you shoot forward too quickly, it is easy to arch your back which will increase your risk of injury.

If you’re looking for an ab roller for your home workouts or to take to the gym with you, pick from our extensive list of the best ab rollers to strengthen your core here.

#9 Butt Ups

Looking for the best fat burning exercises to do at home? This is a great option for just that, all you will need is a mat and some space. This is a super easy move to squeeze into a circuit as it's a bodyweight exercise that requires no equipment.

Starting Position

  • Begin by grabbing a mat and lying flat on the floor. 
  • Your back should be touching the floor, if you need a little help with this, simply tilt your hips until your back is flat on the mat.

Execution: 

  • Roll backwards so your lower back comes off of the ground and your legs reach up vertically.
  • Keep your arms by your side using your fingertips as a stabiliser.
  • Then, without letting your coccyx touch the mat, repeat the action in small bouts.

Duration: 30 seconds. 

Muscles targeted: Rectus abdominis, obliques and the hip flexors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Pushing off the fingertips: This exercise requires the work to come from the abs, so you should use your core strength to your advantage and push up only using the hands for stability and comfort. Avoid using your fingertips to push yourself up as this will only take away from the effectiveness of the exercise. 

For some useful exercise guides to get you moving with confidence, visit our articles below:

#10 Biceps Plank

This is a great option for those looking for fat burning exercises that can also assist in building strength. Though demanding, you can be sure that this exercise will ramp up the intensity of your exercise routine!

Starting Position

This is one of the best fat burning exercises to try at home or in the gym as it requires minimal equipment, you just need to grab an exercise mat. 

  • To get into the starting position, simply kneel onto the mat.

Execution

  • Begin by getting onto your hands and knees, this will make the process of getting into position easier.
  • One by one, turn your hands so your fingertips are facing your knees and your wrists are facing outwards.
  • Following this, straighten your legs out so your toes are to the floor.
  • At this stage, you should be positioned with your back straight, legs straight, and your fingers facing your toes.
  • Next, slowly lower your chest to the ground until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle.
  • This takes perseverance and physical strength so hold for the recommended time but if you need to reduce this, do so.

Duration: 10-30 seconds.

Muscles targeted: Rectus abdominis, biceps and obliques.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Pushing yourself too hard: This is certainly a demanding exercise, so pushing yourself too hard and diving into this exercise when you are yet to build up the strength to do so could result in injury. 

#11 Hanging Leg Raises

Unless you have an attachment for your door frames, and of course door frames strong enough to hold your bodyweight, this exercise is better performed in a gym. This is one of the best fat burning exercises to do at the gym if you’re looking for a move with multiple benefits. As well aiding fat loss, you can count on this exercise for increased strength and improved ab definition.

This is one of the perfect fat burning exercises for women and for men as most apparatus are adjustable or have steps to help you reach the bar. If the equipment isn’t adjustable, you can always get a hand from a friend.

Starting Position

  • Begin this workout by holding onto a pull up bar or an apparatus that has an attachment for pull ups. 

Execution:

  • Start this exercise by tightening your core to help with stability.
  • Your legs should be hanging down with a slight bend in the knees.
  • Using your core to drive the movement, lift up your legs with your feet next to one another.
  • Lift your legs as far up as you can in one rep.
  • Pause briefly and then lower your legs in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Repeat for the recommended sets and reps.

Sets & Reps: 8-10 reps, 3 sets. 

Muscles targeted: Abdominals, hip flexors, obliques and the forearms.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Exercising when fatigued: This is a great exercise when performed correctly, however whenever the core begins to tire, you may find that your arms are doing the hard work. This is of course not the purpose of this particular movement so it would be a good idea to take a break at this point!  

#12 Sandbag Burpee

Whether you want leg fat burning exercises or belly fat burning exercises, you can count on a burpee to be a reliable staple in your routine. To make this popular movement even more intense, you can add a sandbag into the mix. These are widely available in gyms, however, buying one for home workouts is also a great investment. 

Starting Position: 

  • Begin with your feet shoulder width apart and feet stable on the ground. 
  • You should make sure you have plenty of space around you - this kind of exercise is best performed in the functional area of your gym. 
  • Next, grab a sandbag and place it in front of you. 

Execution:

  • Begin by bending over and grasping the handles of the sandbag.
  • Then, jump to the ground in a burpee movement.
  • While jumping your feet and returning to standing, lift the sandbag up in the air in one swift movement.
  • Following this, jump out into a press up position.
  • Bring your sandbag to the ground and lower your chest to the bag. 
  • In this position, your toes should be on the ground, your legs out straight, back straight and elbows at 90º. 
  • Jump your legs in and press the sandbag above your head to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the recommended sets and reps.

Sets & Reps: 8-10 reps, 3 sets.

Muscles targeted: Pectorals, deltoids, abdominals, quadriceps, triceps, glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves.

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Weight being too heavy: This exercise requires powerful movement, and so, it is important that you judge what weight you can endure prior to getting started. Though you may be used to using a similar weight for other exercises, this is a demanding movement and therefore, we recommend to start small and work your way up.

#13 Kettlebell Farmers Walk

The best fat burning exercises don’t need to be difficult to be effective. This is an easy and accessible exercise that has tons of benefits for a number of muscles. All you need to do is find some space to walk back and forth and grab two weights. 

Starting Position

  • Begin this workout by grabbing a pair of weights - kettlebells work best for this exercise. 
  • Find some space that permits you to walk lengths of around 10 steps.

If you’re looking for fat burning exercises to try at home with no equipment you could use any weights you have to hand, so long as you can grip them well. 

You could even improvise by using bags or large bottles of water!

Execution:

  • Find a space that you can walk up and down in and start at one end of the room.
  • Grip a kettlebell in each hand using an overhand grip, just like you would hold bags of shopping.
  • Walk forward at a steady pace until you reach the end of the area that you are exercising in. 
  • Turn around and walk back, ensuring your core is engaged throughout the duration of the exercise.
  • Try to do the walks in bouts of 30 seconds with around 3 seconds rest inbetween.

Sets & Reps: 30 seconds, 3 seconds.

Muscles targeted: Traps, rectus abdominis, obliques, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, forearms, calves and adductors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Having your weights too heavy: One tip to remember with this exercise is that the more weight you have to carry, the greater grip strength you will need. Though, when carrying the weights with this kind of grip, you may find you can typically lift more than when you are pressing above your head. So, test your limits and work your way up slowly.

A good way to burn some fat is a kettlebell circuit. With our help, you can do just that, so find the best kettlebell ab exercises here to add into your routine. 

#14 Wind Sprints

If you’re looking for the best exercises for burning belly fat, cardio work is always going to be a great choice. This exercise is simple and effective, allowing you to improve your cardiovascular fitness and working over 6 muscles in the process. Be sure to find a space in your local park or even in your garden if space permits!

Starting Position: 

  • Begin by finding some space and a flat surface that you can safely sprint on without tripping. 

We recommend running on dry grass, as any slips or trips would be cushioned by the grass and you’re less likely to find things to fall over!

Execution:

  • Get into position by bending the knees and placing one foot in front of the other. 
  • Have your elbows bent at a 90º angle and your hands out straight.
  • Sprint forward as fast as possible in bouts.

Duration: 8-10 second bouts.

Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus, abdominal muscles.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Running in the rain: Due to the intensity of this workout, it's probably a good idea to only do this outdoors on dry days. This is because surfaces such as grass can become very slippy and unsafe for such intense kinds of exercise.

#15 Wall Squat

This next exercise is a pretty popular one, usually used by personal trainers as part of a demanding workout or a circuit class finisher. If you are looking for fat burning exercises to try at home with no equipment, this is a great exercise that you can do pretty much anywhere. 

Starting Position: 

  • Stand in front of a wall so that your back is facing it.
  • You should be around 2 feet in front of the wall, or just enough so when you sit, your back is flat on the wall.

Execution:

  • Lower down into a seated position, your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Ensure your knees are bent at a 90º angle and your back flat on the wall.
  • Raise your arms horizontally out in front of you for balance assistance. 
  • Hold for the recommended time frame.

Duration: 30 seconds. 

Muscles targeted: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Arching the back: This is one of the most effective inner thigh fat burning exercises when performed correctly, so to get the most out of this work out, follow the steps precisely. When you begin to fatigue you might find yourself arching your back, but this will put pressure on your shoulders and could cause an injury. If you feel the need to do this, take a break and come back to this exercise later.

#16  V-Sit with Dumbbell

Belly fat burning exercises and belly toning exercises go hand in hand with this exercise. The V-Sit is certainly demanding, yet incredibly effective, so it's worth feeling the burn for the reward!

Starting Position

Whether you’re looking for fat burning exercises for men or women, the V-Sit is a great choice! You need minimal equipment for this strenuous exercise.

  • Grab a mat and a single dumbbell.
  • Sit up right on the mat, holding the dumbbell by your side ready to start the  exercise.

Execution

  • From the starting position, raise your legs off of the floor so you’re balancing on your glutes.
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees.
  • Once you have found your stability, grip the dumbbell with both hands with your palms facing inwards. 
  • Raise it up and situate it just behind your head.
  • In this position, you should be holding the dumbbell by the weighted side so it is vertical behind your head.
  • You should then lower the dumbbell behind your head, feeling the tension in the triceps.
  • Bring the dumbbell back up to starting position and pause for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat the movement all while staying in the V-Sit.

Sets & Reps: 8-10 reps, 3 sets.

Muscles targeted: Triceps, obliques, abdominals, erector spinae and hip flexors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Not engaging the core: This is not only a tricep movement, but it is also an effective ab exercise. Engaging your core muscles will provide the most stability for this movement, allowing you to lift the dumbbell effectively. 

#17 Bosu Ball Ab Roll Back

A bosu ball is a great piece of equipment that you’ll usually find in the studio space of a gym. For this particular exercise, the only equipment required is a medicine ball and a bosu ball. 

Starting Position

  • Start with your bosu ball dome side up and a medicine ball in your hands. 
  • Lower yourself down so your back is on the dome. In this position your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90º angle.
  • Then, hold the medicine ball behind your head. 

Execution

  • Once in the starting position, tightly grip the medicine ball and pull it forward in a chopping motion.
  • The medicine ball should reach between the knees as your head, neck and shoulders lift in a crunching motion.
  • Return back to the starting position and repeat the movement with control.

Sets & Reps: 8-10 reps, 3 sets. 

Muscles targeted: Rectus abdominis and obliques.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Lifting the lower back: Lifting the lower back off of the Bosu ball can change this exercise slightly. This exercise should be performed in a crunching motion rather than a full sit up, so only your shoulders should come off of the Bosu ball. Doing this exercise in this way increases the efficacy for working the core, whilst lifting your lower back takes away from the benefits.

FAQs

Does My Diet Matter If I am Working Out?

Yes! Like the old saying goes, you cannot outrun a bad diet, so no matter how many belly fat burning exercises you do, your diet and your physical exertion work hand in hand. 

Not only that, but you are putting your hard work at risk of being a waste when not following a balanced diet. You should find a happy balance, avoid restricting yourself so much that following the diet is unsustainable, but ensure to make some sacrifices in the name of your goals!

How Often Should I Work Out To Lose Fat?

Trying to figure out how many times a week you should exercise to lose weight is difficult due to the sheer versatility of body weights and shapes. Ultimately, it is subjective to each and every case as it depends on your diet habits, your lifestyle in general and your attitude towards exercise.

A popular opinion on weight loss frequency is to exercise for 30 minutes on most days. A good way to tackle this is to workout on alternate days. Within these days, you should be sure to incorporate 2-3 days that consist of aerobic exercise, not only will this help with fat loss, but it can increase your cardiovascular endurance, too. 

What is The Best Way To Maintain Weight Loss?

Maintaining weight loss can certainly be tackled with the help of our list of the best fat burning exercises at home, or in the gym, but diet also plays a part.

You should ensure you keep your mindset in check and any hiccups along the way, don’t become habitual. Particularly, when coming from a large weight loss, it can be easy to slip into old ways of binge eating or overeating in general. So, you should check in with peers or coaches if you have them to keep you on track and remember the reason why you started.

Taking progress pictures throughout the process is also a great way to look back and realise how far you have come, and why you are a healthier and happier version of yourself.

What Are The Best Fat Burning Exercises For Women?

So you’re questioning ‘what are the best fat burning exercises for men and women?’ Well, though this is a frequently asked question, the exercises listed here are not gender-specific. 

The only thing that does often vary is the target areas of each exercise and the popularity of target areas that are aligned with specific genders. For example, females may often be inclined to search for belly fat loss due to the female body gathering the majority of fat in this region. 

However, men may choose to focus on the upper body such as the chest. This isn’t to say that all genders, no matter what, can't take part in any fat burning exercise, in fact it’s quite the opposite. 

We recommend the listed exercises for anybody and everybody; yet for those who may feel as though there are specific exercises targeted toward their gender, we are here to tell you that you can pick any and they will all be effective!

Before You Go...

Hopefully by now, you have plenty of exercises to make a killer fat burning workout, whether that's situated in the gym or in your living room. Ensure you follow our handy how-to videos in each exercise, this will help you to nail your technique after reading how to execute the exercises!

Just one more thing before you leave us, have you thought about a career in the fitness industry? Because if so, you should head over and check out our level 3 diploma in personal training here. Or, you can always sift through our plethora of fitness courses here in our downloadable prospectus.

Written by Kimberley Mitchell

Editor

Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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