It can be quite difficult to juggle a career, home life, social life and still make it to the gym to get your workout in and stay fit. Majority of the time it is our workout that suffers when our days are busy.
An easy fix is to find the best fat burning bodyweight exercises so you can do a quick effective workout at home and not have to spend the extra time going to the gym. If your main goal is burning as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time then these bodyweight exercises are exactly what you need.
Many people believe you need to lift heavy weights or do hours of cardio to burn the most calories, check out my post on High Intensity Interval Training here to see why that isn’t true.
The best fat burning bodyweight exercises are ones that recruit the most muscles and expel the most energy, this list consists of 8 exercises that do exactly that. Perform each exercise with your maximum amount of effort for 30 seconds, or 1 minute for the more advanced athlete. Keep your rests to a minimum only taking 30 seconds after every two exercises.
For the best results do this circuit 2 or 3 times per session, and 3 times per week.
The infamous burpee! If you have never tried a burpee then you will soon find out why people hate it and love it at the same time. If you perform them with your maximum effort it will be difficult to do them for 30 seconds straight, but it will also burn the maximum amount of calories, hence the love-hate relationship.
To perform a burpee you will start in a standing position and in a consecutive fluid movement perform the following steps,
- when your timer starts you drop your hands to the ground in front of your feet and then jump your feet up and kick them back so you are in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders.
- Then perform a push-up by bending at the elbow to lower your chest to the ground.
- Press back up so your arms are straight and then jump your feet back to the start position.
- Explosively return to a standing position, reaching your arms overhead and jump off the ground.
When you land immediately start the movement again.
You can either do mountain climbers with your elbows on the ground or your hands on the ground, this is a personal preference and performed either way it is still on of the best fat burning bodyweight exercises.
- Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders (or on your elbows)
- When the timer begins, in one explosive movement bring your right knee to your chest and then push your foot back to the plank position.
- Immediately after complete the same movement with your left leg.
Remember to be as explosive as possible for the full 30 seconds, almost as if you are sprinting in a prone position. For added core stabiility training place your hands on a physio ball while doing this exercise.
Skipping is a great fat burning exercise that will build better conditioning without the endless hours on cardio equipment. It can build speed and quickness, improve balance, coordination, timing and rhythm as well as increasing explosiveness and reflexes. All of these reasons are exactly why almost all boxers spend a fair amount of time skipping.
If you don’t have a good jump rope then check out one of the great options from Rogue Fitness, they offer some of the best on the market with many styles for all budgets.
Now you would think this exercise is pretty straight forward, but there are some things you can do to set yourself up for the best possible performance.
- Keep your head and back straight
- Eyes looking straight forward
- Hands parallel to the floor
- Firm but relaxed grip, with thumbs up and wrists make small circles
- Knees slightly bent
- Feet close but not touching
- Weight on the balls of your feet
- Feet jump less than an inch off the ground (when you start to get good at this style you can go to a high knee variation where you alternate bringing your knees-up so your thigh is parallel to the ground)
Split Squat Jumps
Another good fat burning bodyweight exercise is split squat jumps, they incorporate maximum effort from your lower body with a bit of upper body and core engagement.
- Stand in a staggered stance with one foot ahead of your body and the other behind you
- Bend both knees so your rearward knee is almost touching the ground
- In an explosive movement jump up and switch your front leg to the rear and rear leg forward
- When you land immediately drop down so the now rear knee almost touches the ground and repeat for the duration of the timer
The bear crawl is a great fat burning bodyweight exercise because it incorporates your entire body and forces you to move in a fashion your muscles aren’t used to. This one is pretty straight forward
- Drop your hands down to the ground ahead of your feet
- When the timer starts, move across the floor as if you were walking like a bear (growling is optional)
- If your space isn’t very large it may be easier to move forward and backward in the crawling position rather than turning around
Instead of doing boring old jumping jacks with your arms and feet moving in the same plain to the sides of your body you can switch it up and move your arms or legs front to back, or alternate side jumps to front to back jumps. Whatever method you choose just remember to go as hard as you can and try to keep the pace up for the duration of the exercise.
Like the split squat jumps the jump squats is a lower body dominant exercise but in a small way will engage your core and upper body.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips
- Push your hips back and bend at the knees to squat down so your thighs are just below parallel to the floor, at the same time bend your elbows and bring your hands up to the front of your shoulders
- Drive your feet in to the ground as hard as you can as you drive your arms up as if you are trying to touch the ceiling
- Make sure you jump as high as you can, this ensures your are using as much explosive power as you can.
- Land on the balls of your feet and begin the next squat movement
An alternative to reaching with your arms would be to throw your hands down beside your hips as you drive your feet in to the ground to begin the jump.
This one is a little different but it is a great full body fat burning exercise. This will seriously engage every muscle in your body.
- Get in a pushup position with your hands under your shoulders and feet close together
- Bend your elbows to lower your chest to just above the floor
- In one explosive movement press-up so your hands and feet come off the ground
- Land with your hands and feet wider than your starting position and perform another push-up
- On the next explosive push-up land in the original position
An easier alternative is to only move your hands and leave your feet stationary. Just keep the intensity high and try not to take a break until the timer is up.
If you are able to get through this workout 3 times in a week it would only take you a total of 24 minutes, more if you decide to extend each session for the maximum amount of fat burning. Most of us should have the time to do that, especially since you can do it at home, with no weights or big cardio equipment!
If you were looking for the best fat burning bodyweight exercises then you should be set, so stop making excuses and get on the path to a better you!
What is your favourite fat burning training? Let me know in the comments below.