Be gone, fat! The "extra love" adhering to your waistline, thighs, butt and arms can go right into the fire. You already know cardio can burn fat, but what about strength training? You bet! When you contract muscles under added resistance, it takes a lot of energy to control the movement. With each contraction, you're doing "damage" to the muscle fibers — in other words, you're making a mess and your body uses even more energy after your workout to clean it up. The surrounding fat cells are used as resources for this tidying up; therefore, you burn fat! Check out these moves below and add them to your next workout.
1. Hamstring Curl with Stability Ball:
(Photo: POPSUGAR.com / Megan Wolfe Photography)
You'll feel this exercise through your entire posterior chain from the hamstrings through the glutes and into the upper back. Lock the core down to help you stabilize!
- Step 1: Lie on your back with your heels planted on top of a stability ball. Raise your hips up and form a flat bridge. Your shoulder blades should be anchored into the ground, with your arms on the floor for support.
- Step 2: Squeeze your booty and roll the ball in, thrusting your hips up into the air as far as possible. Pause at the top and lower back down to the floor. That is one rep.
2. Ball Slams:
Nothing beats a bad day like throwing a heavy object to the ground as hard as you can over and over again. Take out your frustrations with a few sets of ball slams!
- Step 1: Start with feet hip width distance apart, toes slightly turned out, a slam ball at your feet.
- Step 2: Squat down and and grab the ball while keeping your chest lifted.
- Step 3: Push out of the squat while lifting the ball overhead and dropping it behind your head like a triceps extension.
- Step 4: Slam the ball into the ground while simultaneously dropping into your squat; catch the ball as it bounces up and repeat.
3. Battle Rope Waves with Squat:
If you can get your hands on a battle rope, don't let go. This piece of equipment is pure insanity for both strength and cardio. Wrap it around an anchor point and grab both ends with either hand. Lower into a squat and keep your chest lifted, elbows into your sides and slap the rope to make small waves. You'll transform your arms, shoulders, back and legs in one full swoop. Get more ideas for a rope burn here!
4. Curtsy Lunge with Glider:
This will target that pesky outer-butt area while warming up the thighs. Stay lifted through the torso and take this one nice and slow for a deeper burn.
- Step 1: Stand with your feet under your hips with one foot in the center of the glider. The heel can be behind it since it will lift off of the floor at the full extension of the movement. Stand tall with the abs braced.
- Step 2: Inhale and slide the leg behind you at a diagonal so it not only goes backward, but to the other side. Your legs create a crossed formation, bending in both knees. The front knee must stay behind the toes of the front front. Try to get the back knee as close to the floor as possible. Exhale and push through the front leg to return to the starting position.
5. V Sit Incline Press:
Not going to lie, this move is tough!
- Step 1: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders, as shown. Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle, then lift your lower legs until they're parallel to the floor, keeping your knees bent.
- Step 2: Engage your core and press the dumbbells up and away from your body until your arms are straight. Return to start. That's one rep.
- Modification (Beginner): Keep feet planted on the floor.
6. Side Step with Resistance Band:
This super simple move burns so good! It will knock the fat cells off your legs in no time!
- Step 1: Loop a resistance band around your ankles. Lower into a squat.
- Step 2: Start stepping to the side, staying low in your squat. Move one leg at a time. Don’t let the moving leg drag on the ground. Pick it up and actively resist the tension of the band. Complete all reps on this side, then repeat on the opposite side.
- Modification (Advanced): Use a stronger band or move your hands down on the band to remove more slack and increase tension.
7. Single Leg Glute Bridge with Squishy Ball:
Take your booty gains to another level. This is a tough one! Keep the hips square to the floor and find your balance.
- Step 1: Start by sitting down and placing the ball underneath one foot. Lie back with your hands at your sides, then pull the belly button into the spine. Lift the opposite leg straight up over the hip. Once you're braced, squeeze the glutes and lift into your bridge.
- Step 2: Remain in your bridge as your lower the leg. Keep the leg straight and long. You'll want to drop your hips, so squeeze your lats, core and glutes to keep the hips lifted. Imagine the hip of your moving leg as a pivot point or hinge. Everything else remains stable. Complete all reps on this side, then repeat on the opposite side.
8. Pelvic Push with Resistance Band:
For women everywhere, this move is your new best friend. You might not recognize your butt after a few solid sets!
- Step 1: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Hold the resistance band in either hand and drape it across your pelvis. There should be little to no slack in the band.
- Step 2: Exhale and squeeze the glutes to lift your hips off the floor. The trick here is to also engage your lats to keep the resistance band tight and hands on the mat. For more muscle engagement, you can flex the feet and dig the heels into the floor. Make sure you're using your glutes and not your lower back to lift and lower yourself.
9. Pistol Squat:
This move is not only tough, but it tests your balance as well. Even a couple inches will do the trick!
- Step 1: Stand straight up with your arms extended in front of you, palms down.
- Step 2: Lift your right leg and try to keep it as straight and tight as possible throughout the exercise.
- Step 3: Bend your left leg and lower down into a squat as far as you can, keeping the weight in your heel and your back straight. Pause for a few seconds at the bottom of your move, then press through your heel to return to standing.
- Modification (Beginner): Hold on to a chair, until you are able to balance in this position.
10. Split Lunge with Bicep Curl:
When you're crunched for time and trying to tone up, incorporate compound exercises like this one. By elevating the back leg, you're putting more weight into the front leg, which is your focus. Your arms and legs will be burning so much you won't even realize your abs are firing, too!
- Step 1: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. Stand about 3 feet in front of bench, back facing the bench.
- Step 3: Push yourself up, keeping the weight in your right heel while returning the dumbbells to your sides.
11. Front Lunge Pass Under with Weighted Ball:
One way to ensure you're getting low enough in your lunges is to include a pass-through. This low lunge with added weight will give you a little cardio workout, too!
- Step 1: Hold the ball at your chest and stand with your feet together.
- Step 2: Take a wide step forward with your left foot and lower into a lunge. As you lower, pass the ball from your right hand to your left under your left thigh. Press through your left heel to quickly return to standing, grabbing onto the ball with both hands. Repeat on the other side. That's one rep.
12. Squat to Press: For a serious strength-training move, pick up a heavy barbell or free weights and get to work. Put this move into overdrive for a big-time fat burner!
- Step 1: Begin by standing tall with the dumbbells hanging at arms length next to hips. Your feet are shoulder-width apart, prepared for a squat.
- Step 2: Bend your knees, squatting down low, as if you were sitting in a chair, keeping weight on your heels and your dumbbells between your thighs. The knees stay behind the toes.
- Step 3: Keep your weight in your heels and press the dumbbells overhead as you straighten your knees to return to standing. That is one rep.
13. Spiderwoman Pushups:
Really, any kind of pushup is a great choice for strength training and fat burning. This one really works the core and pushes the upper body with all the muscle fibers crunching at the same time.
- Step 1: Begin in plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your body in one straight line.
- Step 2: As you bend your elbows out to the side and lower into your pushup, bend your left knee and touch it to your left elbow.
- Step 3: Straighten your arms, come back to plank position with your left foot next to your right. Repeat on opposite side. That is one rep.
14. Plié Squat with Alternating Heel Raise:
Take a page out of a barre workout with a plié hold and calf raise. By staying low in a constant contraction, your inner thighs won't know what hit 'em!
- Step 1: Stand with your feet about three to four feet apart, toes turned out. Bring your hands together in front of your chest, and squat down so your thighs are parallel with the floor, knees over the ankles.
- Step 2: Raise your left heel off the floor, pause then lift right heel off the floor and pause.
- Step 3: Lower both heels to the floor and press up through your heels to standing. That is one rep.
15. Reverse Fly:
On a bench, stability ball, sitting or standing, you can work the chest, arms and upper back with a couple free weights. Stay with a lighter weight on this one, and instead up your reps.
- Step 1: Placing your body balanced on the stability ball at your core with legs straight and toes on the floor. Let your dumbbells hang in front of the stability ball (palms facing each other).
- Step 2: Raise your arms out to your sides, bringing the dumbbells to shoulder level height. Keep your arms as straight as possible but do not lock your elbows.
- Step 3: Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. That is one rep.
16. Bent Over Row:
Stick with a heavy set of dumbbells to get the arms and back in fierce shape! This means going 8 to 25 pounds in each hand. Oh yeah!
- Step 1: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hinge the hips so the upper body leans forward. Keep your back flat, and extend the dumbbells straight down from shoulders.
- Step 2: Without rocking, row the weights back toward the body until they reach your sides. Elbows will point directly behind you. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and open the chest.
- Step 3: With control, release the row to the starting position. You want to keep the dumbbells as close to the thighs as possible instead of holding them away from your body.
17. Sled Push:
Take over the sled at your gym by dropping low behind it and using your legs to power your speed. Push high and low to burn up the legs and throw a little cardio into the mix. Your butt, thighs and back will thank you.