The following exercises to promote fat loss are all important movements, but nutrition is absolutely the primary key here. If you can combine an effective exercise routine with an intelligent nutrition plan then you will be primed for success!
Click here to learn more about prepping your meal to help with fat loss.
Regardless of your goals, effective training starts with picking the right exercises. The best exercises for fat loss are the best exercises for almost any goal. The big, hard compound movements will help improve your overall strength, tendons, muscles, joints, bones and even your immune system. Add these into your training.
Virtually everyone trying to lose body fat should use hypertrophy training to gain some muscle. Even a few extra pounds of lean muscle means a lot more calories burned each day. The following are all excellent exercises to promote fat loss that anyone can do.
Deadstop Squat – Exercises to Promote Fat Loss
Dead stop exercises will help you break through plateaus, get stronger and are a great challenge to test how strong you really are.
The Box Squat is the easiest way to use the dead-stop method with this movement. Use a wider than normal stance, open your knees and squat down until your butt grazes the top of the box. Hold there for a one-count, making sure to stay engaged; then drive up off the box. Use a knee-high box so that your pelvis is tilted forward and your back is arched. A box that’s too low will put your body in an undesirable bottom position, which could lead to injury.
The bottoms-up Squat—also known as an Anderson squat—starts from a dead stop position at the bottom, usually with the bar on pins. This simple tweak makes every additional pound you add feel way heavier than the scale says. This squatting variation is a highly effective means at increasing starting strength, rate of force development, and overall performance.
Named after Paul Anderson, an American weightlifter, powerlifter, and strongman. Paul was a World Champion, Olympic Champion, two times U.S. National Champion, set 18 American Records, and 8 World Records, and is one of the pioneers in today’s strength sports. Paul’s top lifts (official and unofficial) are listed below, many of which were achieved through a homemade training regimen, one that often included lifting 55-gallon cement-filled drums, iron wheels, and more.
- 199.5kg (440lb) clean & jerk (official)
- 420kg (930lb) back squat (official)
- 285kg (628lb) bench press (unofficial)
Deadlift – Exercises to Promote Fat Loss
Legs are not only made up of quads but the entire posterior chain – especially the hamstrings. And without doubt, there is no better exercise than the good old Deadlift to improve and strengthen your entire body and promote fat loss.
- Walk to the bar. Stand with your mid-foot under the bar. Don’t touch it with your shins yet.
- Grab the bar. Narrow, about shoulder-width apart. Arms vertical from the front-view, hanging just outside your legs.
- Bend your knees. Keep going until your shins touch the bar. Don’t move the bar. Keep it over your mid-foot.
- Lift your chest. Straighten your back. Don’t move the bar. Don’t drop your hips. Don’t squeeze your shoulders-blades. Pull.
- Take a big breath, hold it and stand up. Keep the bar against your legs. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top.\
Front Squat – Exercises to Promote Fat Loss
The Front Squat has always been a staple exercise in Olympic weightlifting programs, as it serves as the base for the catch position in the clean. But since people tend to lift more weight with Back Squats and may find keeping the rack position of the bar difficult, front squats are often neglected.
When done correctly, Front Squats will:
- Increase the depth of the movement
- Improve core strength
- Activate glutes
- Improve related exercises such as Thrusters or Squat Cleans
- Build Strength
Front Squat Rack Position
The rack position is the source of much pain and frustration for many athletes. The inability to get into a good rack position affects your ability to effectively press, push-press, or jerk a barbell overhead. You’ll also be far less effective in your front squats and, of course, your cleans. This is usually caused by some tight muscles throughout your upper body such as the latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid, and triceps.
Front Squats are generally deeper than Back Squats. When a barbell is loaded onto the front of the body, the pelvis tilts backwards somewhat, which makes the hamstrings less taut. This gives them the freedom to allow a greater range of motion (ROM) at the bottom of the lift. This pelvic tilt also allows the lower abs to contribute to the lift more, and takes the hip flexors away from “blocking” the movement.
- Stance width when front squatting is relatively narrow and as such, you won’t need a ton of toe flare here, just to have enough toe flare to ensure that the foot, knees and hips are in a straight line when set-up.
- Moreover, make sure that your centre of gravity is where you want it as well. Weightlifting may be the only sport on the face of the planet where being on your midfoot and/or heels is preferred and beneficial.
- Make sure that your weight is directly over your midfoot, if not shifted back towards the heels slightly.
Clean – Exercises to Promote Fat Loss
The Clean is a lift that requires power, posture, skill and strength.
1. Get the best rack position you can
A strong rack position improves your chances of standing up out of a heavy clean. It is common for beginners to struggle with the position as people often have incredibly tight lats and triceps. Rolling the lats, triceps and wrists and stretching them during your warm-up will help get those elbows higher and the bar comfortably resting on the shoulders whilst gripping the bar.
Stretching out using the bar is also a fantastic way to improve it, place the barbell into the back squat position, and use the weight of the bar to rotate one elbow up at a time whilst keeping the hands on the bar and the body straight.
Tip: If you have to sacrifice gripping the bar in the rack position to have your elbows up, sacrifice the grip and open your hands.
2. Good Posture Equals a Better Clean
Having a tight mid-back from all those hours racked up at the desk can be a complete hindrance on a strong clean. Catching a clean with a rounded mid-back will force the elbows down and cause you to grind up the squat which can zap the energy from you and put unnecessary pressure onto the wrists – which is a one-way ticket to injury. Kelly Starrett shows us the way to work on that area:
In addition, overhead squats are a great way to improve your mobility, if you can do a clean-grip overhead squat without the bar falling forward and you can front squat more than your best clean without your back rounding, consider your posture fit for purpose!
- excellent-deadlift-workouts: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
- Kari Pearce and Annie Thorisdottir: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.