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The 15 Best Fat Burning Exercises for Women

Matt Skeffington

Mattโ€™s primary role at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is to make sure that our coaches and clients are consistently improving, all while operatin...

Mattโ€™s primary role at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is to make sure that our coaches and clients are consistently improving, all while operatin...

Nov 16 13 minutes read

Hi ladies! ๐Ÿ˜€

Coach, Delaine here! 

I have created a list of my favorite fat burning exercises that I can't wait to share with you!

I've even included step-by-step instructions on how to complete them.

These are some of the very exercises that have helped transform our biggest Women's Group success stories!

Before we get into it though, it's important to understand that not all fitness exercises are created equal.

Some exercises work on improving your flexibility. 

Some build strength and tone.

Some focus on your legs, your core, or your arms.

Some are great for burning fat and some are a combination of all the above.

Today, I'm covering those exercises that are best for burning fat.

These are not movements like bicep curls or tricep kick-backs that focus only on one body part.

Those movements are good for building that body part's strength, but don't do a whole lot for burning calories or fat.

My fat-loss movements are also not exercises like endless cardio on a treadmill or stair stepper (talk about boring!).

The exercises below are exercises that are first of all fun! 

They burn the most fast because they involve your entire body and allow you to use weights, move at higher intensities, get your heart-rate up, build strength, and burn a ton of calories.

They are the most efficient fat-burning movements so you can maximize both your time and your results.

What I love most about these exercises is that they are joint-friendly/low impact and GREAT for all levels! 

Let's get into it!

1| Sled Push

The sled push is a crowd favorite among our Women's Group members!

It builds tremendous amounts of lower-body strength and really gets your heart-rate up, making this my #1 exercise for fat-loss!

You're going to feel those legs working big time!

Key points: 

  • Keep arms straight and a straight line from head to back foot

  • Keep body leaning at 45 degree angle 

  • March forward one step at a time keeping head and upper body still

  • Start with 3-5 reps of 15-25yd march with :30-1:00 rest between reps

New to the sled march? Start with 45-90lbs of weight on the sled.

2| Kettlebell Head-Cutters

The head-cutter is certainly one our favorite total-body cardio and strength exercises. 

It taxes your shoulders, legs, and abs, while burning some serious calories and getting your heart-rate sky high.

You will LOVE these!

Key points:

  • Start feet shoulder width apart with kettlebell (KB) between feet

  • Keeping chest tall, push hips back into deadlift position

  • Drive through heels to lift KB

  • As the KB comes up, pop it up and catch it at chest level

  • Drop into squat by sitting back and pushing knees out

  • As you come out of squat, press KB overheard 

  • Exhale as you press KB

  • Start with 10 reps followed by 1:00 of rest for 5-8 rounds

New to the KB head-cutter? Start with an 6-8kg (12-16lb) kettlebell.

3| Med Ball Slams

One of our favorite forms of cardio is medicine ball work.

Med Balls work well with all of our members, especially members who come to us with some kind of joint pain. We like these especially with our members with lower-body and/or low-back issues. 

Get some aggression out and get ready to sweat!

Make sure to use the big, soft med balls shown in the image above. The hard rubber med balls bounce back high and quickly and can be dangerous.

Key points:

  • Get as tall as possible and reach ball high overhead without leaning back

  • Slam ball right in front of feet 

  • Finish slam in low squat position

  • Exhale as you slam

  • Catch and repeat as fast as possible

  • Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 6-10 rounds.

New to the med ball slam? Start with a 4-8lb med ball.

4| Versaclimber

Probably our most unique pieces of equipment is our Versaclimber. Our members LOVE them. 

They are a fantastic cardio exercise that really taxes your legs. 

Our favorite part of the climber is its adjustable resistance. Crank it up to work on strength and endurance or lighten the load and sprint. 

Key points:

  • Keep posture tall throughout 

  • Alternate driving feet down to get the machine moving

  • Use mainly your legs throughout, arms just come along for the ride

  • Keep motion short and sharp

  • Focus on breathing throughout

  • Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 6-10 rounds

5| Curved Treadmill Walk/Run/Sprints

One the best equipment investments we have made has been our curved, self-propelled treadmills. 

They actually do not have a motor, therefore, similar to running on the road, you have to be the one to move the belt. 

The difference between our treadmills and traditional treadmill running or outdoor running is the curve feature in the front of the treadmill where your foot strikes. This actually dampens the impact forces, making these much more joint friendly for our members with bad feet, ankles and knees. 

We have even had people run on our treadmills who have not run in years because of pain. 

The low impact allows our members to do one of the world's greatest cardio exercises -- sprints. 

Key points:

  • Stay tall throughout

  • Try to stay to front of treadmill

  • Keep hands on railings if needed

  • Focus on getting knees up 

  • Start with :15 sprint, jog, or fast paced walk followed by :45 walk for 6-10 rounds.

New to the curved treadmill? Start with a power-walk and keep your hands on the sides of the treadmill.

6| Skierg

One of our member's favorite newer toys at Dynamic are the Skiergs.

These are a fantastic low-impact exercise that work your abs, lats, legs and triceps, while getting your heart-rate way up!

Key points:

  • Start tall with hands overhead

  • Initiate movement by simultaneously pulling handles back and down and sitting into squat

  • Keep abs tight throughout

  • Finish low with handles behind your hips

  • Exhale as you pull down

  • Start with 5-10 sets of :20 of work followed by :40 of rest

7| Battling Ropes

Battling ropes might be our member's favorite cardio exercise. They are especially great for anyone with lower-body or back pain as all of the work is done through the arms, shoulders and core. Not only are they tough but they are a LOT of fun! 

Key points:

  • Stay in a low, athletic position throughout

  • Using just your arms, make quick and even waves with the ropes

  • Keep the ropes moving together or alternate arms

  • Start with :15 of work :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

8| Burpees

The burpee is one of the most popular fat-burning, cardio drills on the planet and rightfully so -- they are tough and tax the entire body. 

The tough thing about burpees is that they require a great deal of mobility. 

For many, getting down to the floor can be a problem and can cause pain. For our members who do not have the ability to complete the full burpee, we simply shorten the range-of-motion by having them go off a bench rather than all the way to the floor. 

Win, win!

Key points:

  • Start tall with feet under hips

  • Bend from the waist and bring hands to floor

  • Keeping weight in hands, kick feet back to plank position

  • Add push-up if possible

  • Do not let hips sag when kicking legs out

  • Bring feet back in, stand up, jump and reach

  • Start with :15 of work followed by :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

New to the burpee? Start by using an elevated surface like a bench, shown below.

9| Airdyne Sprints

Bike sprints are the ultimate joint-friendly cardio exercise. 

They allow our members with aches and pains to train at a very high intensity, while keeping the stress off their injuries. 

They are great for bad backs, shoulders and knees. 

Sprints are also more fun and burn more calories than traditional low intensity, long duration bike rides. These are tough!

Key points:

  • Set seat height of bike so there is a minimal knee bend when pedal is all the way down

  • Keep bike resistance minimal if on spin bike

  • Start with a 5 minute warm-up at medium intensity

  • Complete 6-10 rounds of :15 sprint followed by :45 rest

10| Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell (KB) swings are a staple for many of our members. 

The dynamic, fast paced motion makes the swing a great exercise for getting your heart-rate up and burning calories. 

The majority of the work comes from your hips, hamstrings and glutes, making the swing a great choice for individuals with bad knees, feet and ankles. 

The hamstrings and glutes are two of the most important stabilizers of the knee, so strengthening these two muscles is a must for improving knee pain. 

Checkout out the video below on avoiding the 3 most common kettlebell swing mistakes:

 

Key points:

  • Before trying the KB swing, be sure to master the Kettlebell Deadlift or RDL first

  • Make sure all the work is done through your hips

  • Keep posture strong and tall throughout 

  • Start by softening your knees and swing the bell behind you while keeping posture proud and shoulders back

  • Keep the back of your wrists as high as possible toward your butt

  • Keeping your arms loose, aggressively stand up, straighten knees, and squeeze your butt

  • This will get the bell moving to about stomach/chest height

  • Exhale and finish tall

  • Start with 8-10 swings followed by :30-:45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

New to the KB Swing? Start with an 8-10kg (16-20lb) kettlebell. 

11| Mountain Climbers

We love mountain climbers for all of our members but they are especially great for members with bad knees and low backs. 

When done correctly, the plank position builds great core strength while the fast paced leg action really gets that heart-rate up!

Key points:

  • If new to the mountain climber, start with hands on bench or table vs. the floor

  • Maintain a stable upper-body plank position throughout

  • Keep hands placed directly under shoulders

  • Quickly bring one knee forward at a time, while keeping the back leg straight

  • Start with :15 of work followed by :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

New to the mountain climber? Start with your hands up on an elevated surface like a bench, shown below and focus on a controlled march your legs.

12| Rower

Looking for a fantastic total-body cardio exercise? Enter the rowing machine. 

These are great for burning fat as they work your entire body from your legs to your shoulders and burn a ton of calories. 

Don't let the seated position fool you.. these will make your leg muscles WORK! 

Key points:

  • Start in seated position with knees bent and arms extended

  • Initiate movement by pushing through your feet and driving your body back

  • Finish movement with legs extended and arm handle pulled into chest

  • Think "legs push, arms pull" and keep it one smooth motion

  • Exhale as you pull

  • Return to starting position by extending arms and bending knees

  • Start with :30 of rowing followed by :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds

13| Squat to Diagonal Plate Press

The squat to diagonal plate press is another fantastic conditioning exercise that incorporates your entire body and adds a rotational component to the movement. 

This is also great for improving core strength without cranking on your neck! 

Start light as theses are tough!

Key points: 

  • Holding a plate, start in low squat position

  • As you stand up rotate hips and back foot and press plate up

  • Finish with arms straight and plate up at 45 degree angle

  • Exhale as you press

  • Quickly return to starting position 

  • Alternate sides

  • Start with 5 to 8 rounds of :20 of work and :40 of rest

New to the squat to diagonal press? Start with a 10lb plate.

14| Med Ball Squat to Chest Pass

Great ready to sweat with this one.

The squat to chest pass is a fast paced movement that really challenges your legs, arms, and heart-rate. 

Make sure to exhale every time you throw!

Key points:

  • Start tall with med ball held at your chest

  • Sit back into 1/2 squat position, with chest tall

  • Quickly push through your feet to stand and throw the ball into the wall in one motion

  • Make sure to extend arms all the way towards the wall 

  • Snap that med ball into the wall

  • Exhale as you throw

  • Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 4-6 rounds

New to the med ball squat to chest pass? Start with a 4 or 8lb med ball.

15| Farmer Carries

The farmer carry is a favorite amongst our members. 

Think of these as weighted and moving planks. Walking with weights is a great way to improve the strength of your grip, shoulders, core and hips. 

Farmer Carries challenge you to control your spine and aid in improving core stability and even improve cardio by elevating your heart-rate. 

We love to do these right after another high-intensity cardio exercise like burpees or bike sprints.

Key points:

  • Start with 2 kettlebells or dumbbells in hands

  • Squeeze weights hard and stay tall

  • Keep shoulders back and abs braced

  • Do not allow weights to move around or swing

  • Start with 3 sets of 40-50 yd walks

New to the farmer carry? Start with 8-10kg kettlebells (16-20lbs) or 15-20lb dumbbells.


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