The ultimate fat burning exercises

At any time of year gyms are awash with people yearning to shed pounds, lose tummies and tone bums. The New Year, however, with the festive weight gain still fresh on the hips and resolutions still resolute, people want to know the best ways to burn fat. While our personal trainer has stressed that getting your nutrition right is essential in any fat-burning crusade, there are some exercises that are better at fat burning than others. We have the ten best here, but our trainer says a proper workout should include a combination of multiple exercises back to back with a short rest inbetween. Every muscle in your body should be exercised - not just your wibbly backside.


A great all-round exercise, but particularly good for the thighs, buttocks and hips. This can be done with a weight held straight out in front - as shown - or with a barbell held on the shoulders, behind the head. Start with legs legs apart and slowly descend while keeping your back straight. You should go down far enough so that your knees are level with your hips or lower.

Related: 10 exercises you can do at your desk


Good for your lower back, but perhaps more importantly, good for your booty. It is beautifully simple and requires just a barbell. Keep your arms and back straight and bend your knees to pick up the weight. Lock your legs out and then lower. Keep the repetitions smooth and and slow, not jerky.

Related: Train your entire body with 1 weight

Barbell lunges

Lunges, but not as you know them. Start with a barbell resting on your shoulders and with your feet just slightly apart. Then take a big step forward with your right leg and bend it until your left knee almost touches the floor. Then push yourself back into your starting position with your right leg and repeat with the other leg. These are great for your legs and core.

Related: Weights vs. cardio: Your guide to the perfect body

Chin ups

Simplicity itself, and great for your chest, arms and shoulders. Try them over-hand for a shoulder-focussed exercise or under-hand for the chest. Make sure you do these slow and steady - both up and down - in order to maximise the work out.

Related: Gym-free exercises you can do at home

Press ups

The original and still one of the best workouts. You don't need any equipment at all and can throw in a one-armed one or a hand clap between them if you're feeling cocky. The closer together you have your hands the more your triceps will be worked and the further apart they are the more your chest will work.

Related: Best exercises to increase muscle definition

Bench press

Best performed on a workout bench with a barbell rest and predominantly for working the chest and arms. Unless you're pushing it really hard you will be able to do this on your own as opposed to getting somebody to 'spot' you. Just lay on your back and, keeping your arms at right angles to your body, raise the barbell until your arms lock out. Then gradually lower and repeat.

Related: The most common muscles you're neglecting

Barbell bent over row

A little more complicated, this one helps your back, but also your arms. Stand with your knees slightly bent and bend forward with your back straight. Pick up the barbell and raise it to waist height, moving only your arms in a rowing motion.

Related: 20 Ways to improve your life

Hanging leg raise

This one will help burn those festive tummy rolls. Hang from your chin-up bar, or any handy beam, and draw your knees up to your chest, keeping your ankles together. Don't be tempted to swing - that's cheating and it won't work anyway - so do it slowly both up and down.

Related: The 3-minute per week exercise regime that works

Ab crunches

Another ab-blaster, this puts you on the floor on your back while you repeatedly raise and lower your shoulders from the floor. You can slide your feet underneath a bed or anything heavy enough to stop them lifting up. They're better for your back than full sit ups and focus the work done.

Related: 8 Great exercises for fat loss

Double arm kettlebell swing

Traditionally used with a gym-style kettlebell, you can replace this with anything heavy you can get a good grip on. Start with your kettlebell (or whatever) between your legs with your knees bent. Then swing the kettle up with both arms, keeping your arms straight, to just above head height. Return the kettle to the original position in a controlled swing and keep the swinging going for whatever number of repetitions you decide. This exercise is great for your lower body and core.

Related: 20 best body weight exercises

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.