6 Exercises That Burn Calories in Overdrive

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6 Exercises That Burn Calories in Overdrive

If your health, fitness, or body composition goals involve fat-burning or losing weight, after working on your nutrition, you’re going to want to focus on fitness routines tailored to those goals. In most cases this means regular workouts that involve exercises that burn calories and build muscle. Most people immediately associate cardio with calorie-burning, and they’re not wrong, exactly—in the moment, cardio can burn more calories than strength training. But the truth is that strength training also plays a critical role in calorie-burning, because the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn while at rest.

The most efficient way to work out to lose weight or burn fat is to do high-intensity workouts with exercises that work lots of muscles at once—think compound exercises that work your whole body from head to toe and get your heart-rate up at the same time. There’s a lot more to this—you might be interested in our story What Burns More Calories: Cardio or Weight Training? for more details on this topic. Here’s also some more information about the best workouts for weight loss. And you might also find this story about how the afterburn effect works relevant to your interests.

But back to those high-intensity compound exercises that burn calories and work your whole body. For a lot of people, burpees and burpee-variations hit the sweet spot here: It’s a bodyweight exercise that works your muscles and also counts as cardio. But most people have a bit of a love-hate relationship with burpees (less “love you” and more “damn you” most days). Understandably.

So for those of you whose feelings lean toward hatred, we spoke to Todd Durkin, C.S.C.S., author of The IMPACT! Body Plan, to ask him for a few of his favorite burpee alternatives. Unlike the classic bodyweight powerhouse, these moves require some equipment—dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX bands—all of which your gym probably keeps around. They’re individual moves (not an entire workout), so incorporate them into your routine whenever. Sure, they might not be the exact same as everyone’s favorite staple, but they torch a hell of a lot of calories, too. And remember: If your goal is to maximize your calorie-burn, focus on intensity, intervals, and minimizing rest between exercises (with the obvious caveat that you should consult a doctor before taking on new training regimens, and also make sure you’re using proper form to avoid hurting yourself.) Got all that? Good, let’s get started.

1. DUMBBELL SQUAT, CURL, PRESS

Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side. Standing with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees as low as you can without letting the dumbbells touch the floor. Return to the starting position. Curl the dumbbells to your shoulders, then press the weights overhead. Lower to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

2. KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUATS WITH “HEARTBEAT” AND PRESS

Grab a kettlebell holding it close to your chest with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat and hold the position at the bottom. Extend the kettlebell as far ahead as possible and then bring it back to your chest (the “heartbeat”). Push through your heels and stand back into the starting position. Extend the kettlebell overhead with both hands until your arms are straight. Return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

3. DEATH CRAWLS

Assume a pushup position with your hands holding onto the dumbbells, keeping your body straight. Perform two pushups and then return to the starting position. Do a single-arm dumbbell row on one side and then the other. “Walk” each dumbbell forward as far as possible—will probably be about 5 to 20 inches—moving your entire body forward. That’s 1 rep. Do 2 sets of 8 reps.

4. TRX ATOMIC PUSHUP

Put your feet in the TRX cradles (the band, not the hand grip) so they’re suspended off the ground. Get into the pushup position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight, lower until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Push back up to the starting position. Pull your knees and feet toward your chest as far as possible, then return to the starting position. Do 2 sets 10 reps.

5. DUMBBELL WALKING LUNGES AND PUNCHES

Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them just below your chin with your palms facing in. As you step forward with your left leg, punch your right hand straight ahead, your right palm facing the ground. Return to starting position. Repeat on the other leg using opposite arm. That’s one rep. Do 3 sets of 16 reps.

6. KETTLEBELL SWINGS AND PUSHUPS

Hold a kettlebell with both hands and stand straight. Extend your arms down so the kettlebell hangs below your pelvis. Using the muscles of your glutes and legs only, swing the kettlebell through your legs approximately up to chest level. Do not round your back or bend your knees too deep. This is a continuous pendulum-type movement using the momentum from your swing. Do 15 reps. After, immediately drop to the ground and perform 15 pushups. Take 1 minute off between sets. Do 3 sets of 15 kettlebell swings and 15 pushups (so 30 per set).

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  • Kimberley Bell

    Yeah, definitely sounds like something for the professionals

  • Dave Gee

    What a load of tosh.

    Yes, muscle does burn more calories than fat, but the figures are far from staggering. Using very approximate figures:
    Say you lost 45lb of fat (not that hard comparatively). You’d be burning 90 calories less or so.
    Now say you put on 15lb of muscle with no extra fat (actually a lot of work/dedication). You’d be burning 90 calories or so more a day.
    So a significant amount extra muscle gets you one Digestive biscuit a day.

    Then there’s the claims that “but they torch a hell of a lot of calories”. Citations please, to allay the calls of ‘BS’?

    I worked out the calorie burn for my normal heavy weights routine I used to do some time ago.
    About 50 calories.

    I’m surprised you didn’t do the ‘EPOC’ (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) thing too, that’s normally wheeled out here and has generally been shown to be not overly significant.

    • Zoe

      Hi Dave, can you please tell me where you got the numbers for your statement that gaining 15lb of muscle would only burn an extra 90 calories a day I am very interested in these statistics. Thank you

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    • Etone

      The muscle will also burn more at rest.

  • Gino

    “Why don’t we see articles designed for older people. I’ve been an
    athlete all my life but at 70 and retired weight just poured on. Back to
    gym and bike 50 miles per week with low calorie diet but finding it
    harder than ever to take off the weight. Back problem restricts the
    scope of my workouts. None of what I see is focused at the fit 70 year
    old with their accompanying restrictions. There’s more of us than even
    so don’t bury us just yet.”

    • Yuki Yuuki

      Planks….. there ya go Planks just do planks

    • Bill

      I’m with you Gino….same history and current problems. I walk, do gardening etc. but i’ve lost a lot of flexibility and can’t bend like I used to… also lost a lot of strength and with shoulder surgery a couple years ago haven’t regained it… having trouble holding my weight even at 25lbs above my ideal, just can’t lose it.

    • Rita Poitras

      My husband and I are on a program: Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson’s Habits of Health. It is a lifestyle change and so amazing. You become healthy and possibly shed some medication and you will work with a Health Coach. We are loosing the unwanted pounds and learn how to eat healthy to keep them off. Please let me know if you would like to look into it and I can refer you to someone who can answer all your questions. By the way, I am 69 and my husband is 70. This program is affordable.

    • Shirley

      Check any gyms in your area like Anytime Fitness or 24 hr fitness. They may have strength training for seniors. My health insurance pays for my membership and the classes are free. If you really focus and stay with it you will feel like a new man.

    • Falicia Smith

      Hi I would say for you to incorporate this drink into your daily workout and give it a few weeks you will start to see a difference. I’ve been using it a little over 6 months now and I’ve literally lost 75+ pounds. I’m telling everyone about it because it works.

      2 tbs Bragg Apple cider vinegar
      1 bottle motts apple juice (pour out 1/3 cup)
      2 slices of lemon
      Drink this daily and you will see results.

      • Suzana Bravo

        any particular time of the day?

        • Falicia Smith

          I drink it in the mornings but you can drink it up to 3 times daily so the time dont really matter.

      • G. U. R. U.

        Apple cider vinegar is a fast way tot lose weight. Anything quick IS NOT good for you! When you’re older and your insiders start to deteriorate just remember it was the ACV!!

        • Falicia Smith

          I only drink it once a day and so far my doctor has said it is actually helping with my health…my blood pressure is stable and I stay energized…but I will note your concerns and keep that in mind if I start deteriorating…lol…stay blessed

          • G. U. R. U.

            Same story I’ve heard a million times. It’s also working on your vital organs. What you don’t know is that one day you won’t be so lucky. I’m telling you what I know. I’d stop while I was ahead. Any doctor in their right would mind would never advocate anything that would give you optimal health. After they don’t make money of healthy people. Think

          • Nicole Crowell- Meyers

            AVC is wonderful for your health. It’s no way close to quick weight loss. You have to incorporate healthy eating and some form of exercise for weightloss and there is NO QUICK FIX for that. AVC has huge health benefits. I’ve seen people sugar levels lowered ,high blood pressures numbers lowered, along with other health issues stabilized.

      • EchoDeltaEcho

        After you drink this, do you rinse your mouth with water to prevent the erosion of enamel from your teeth?

        • Falicia Smith

          Yes I do…and I rinse with mouthwash…lol

      • donna

        how much of this do you drink at one time?

        • Falicia Smith

          I drink a 8 ounce bottle once a day (6 ounces apple juice, 2 tbs ACV, 2 fresh lemon chunks.

    • G. U. R. U.

      Look in the right place and you will the correct articles. GOOGLE is full of those type of articles. Stop complaining and take action.

    • Lynn M. Rye

      Got to agree with you here! Just because we are over 65 does not mean we are off the radar. Talk to us! I am 68 and try to keep myself moving. I had two knee replacements two years ago so I am doing water aerobics and strength training in a community gym to stay flexible, but the dialogue for older people are scarce. I had to stay off my feet for three months recently because of foot problems and put on some weight…now I can’t make it budge, but I can’t find anything that talks about solutions for someone in my age range. I am back to watching my carbs, strength training three times a week and water aerobics three to four times a week without success. Walking is out, bad foot issues.
      Gino is right, don’t bury us yet, there are a lot of us in good shape, start

  • Elaine

    I can’t do any of these exercises at my age and with my joint issues. Could you please post some for those of us who are 60+ with joint issues? Squats or getting down in the floor is simply out of the question for us. Jack Lalane has some wonderful toning exercises that you can do from a chair. I’ll just stick with those until you can come up with something more age appropriate.

    • Yuki Yuuki

      Stick with Jack…..

  • Chris Amos

    Hey, how about showing middle aged overweight, out of shape people modelling these exercises? I am so sick of seeing young super-fit types showing exercise routines that many people can’t do until they are in better shape/thinner. What a waste of time articles like this are for many of us.

    • Jason S (Brooklyn)

      Thank you! The only one worse is Men’s Health which features videos on Facebook of an absolutely shredded guy demonstrating exercises (shirtless, of course!) when 99% of us could never even dream of achieving a physique like that. Especially those of us on the wrong side of 40.

      • Lawrence Ballack

        If it is in your mind that you will never achieve a fit body, then why waste time and energy exercising? Just eat pizza and watch TV.

        • linnilu

          There is a difference between feeling one will never achieve a fit body and just sitting back and eating pizza. I am a 67 year old woman in good health but with bad knees. There are certain things I can do and certain things I cannot. Forget any kind of squats, lunges or anything kneeling. I enjoy walking but South Dakota in the winter isn’t very conducive to it. Small house, no room for a treadmill. Don’t be so convinced that everyone who doesn’t want to do or can’t do some of these exercises are just slobs who want to eat pizza all day, sitting on the couch watching tv.

          • Tesa

            Amen sister!!!!

          • Jane Bautch

            Thank you!!

        • Jason S (Brooklyn)

          There’s a difference between getting fit and being blessed with genetics to obtain the type of physique that the Men’s Health guy has, or the fit body that the girl has in this blog.

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        • Logan Parks

          I for one agree with you Lawrence Ballsack

    • Rana Burt

      I was one of those middle age, overweight people, and I got in classes with trainers who are lean and strong, and within 6 months I became lean and strong. #diet+exercise=success

      • jaimo

        Yea, yea, big deal. Chris is correct in that a lot of us middle aged overweight out of shape people can’t do some of these exercises at first, so they don’t actually help us, they’re all designed to show off skinny people.

      • linnilu

        That’s nice, I am very happy for you. I am a little past middle age (67), good health, but for bad knees, live in a very small town with no gym and no personal trainers, and some people do not have the money for either. I do like to walk but that doesn’t accomplish everything. Some of us would just like a few exercises we can do.

    • Kelly Carter

      There are two separate issues being raised here: how the exercise models LOOK, and whether the exercises are appropriate for older, out-of-shape people. I think the first issue is more about US, so something within our control (how we respond). The second issue is much more legitimate. How about finding a trainer who can work with you personally to design exercises that DO work for you?

      • Kelly D

        I agree. A personal trainer can create a workout plan that’s designed right for you. There are lots of exercise modifications that can be incorporated to work around physical limitations. At 53 I’m dealing with osteoarthritis in most of my joints. On the issue of “diet” look up articles on “flexible dieting” AKA macronutrient diet. It has saved my life and allowed me to sustain an 80 lb weight loss for over 6 years now. Don’t give up.

        • Jane Bautch

          That takes $$$!
          I have a Planet Fitness membership. When I can get there, there IS a Trainor who will go over a few things with you, but he doesn’t really know me.
          My husband is disabled and I am trying to stay in better shape to help me take care of him. I work full time PLUS and take care of everything at home!
          Sometimes sitting down at the end of the day is all I have energy for!

      • Nancy B

        Yeah, try finding a trainer on a retiree’s budget who actually knows something about exercising with severe spinal stenosis and bone-on-bone knees. Kelly D, 53? Wait until you’re 68! People in their 50’s aren’t the ONLY ones with this issue! I’d love water exercise, but in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA, pools are few and far between. (I’m with you, linnilu!)

    • MilkofthePoppy

      Because some of us want to be inspired. If I see a image of an overweight guy struggling to do crunches I’m going to be thinking “what’s the point”.

    • Richard Schmier

      Could you cry any harder? Stop being a jealous twat.

      Yes, YOU can get fit. If looking at pictures of fit people makes you sad, that is YOUR problem, not theirs. The reason they are fit and you aren’t is not genetics, or even age. It is determination. They worked towards a goal and achieved it. You haven’t.

      And if just seeing a picture of a fit person causes you so much anguish, then you are mentally weak. You should probably go see a therapist to figure out why you allow completely harmless things to hurt you.

      • Jennifer Lee

        Thank you for saying this!!! Wow….I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so many excuses for why someone can’t get in shape and/or lose weight! God helps those who help themselves honey…Lose the excuses and just do whatever you have to do to feel better!

  • weight loss is 90 percent diet and 10 percent exercise. Get out and walk(every day) . Better yet, walk when it is cold outside. Lots of info an how cold adaptation is good for the body and utilizing brown fat(which then uses white fat for fuel). I am a big fan of exercising without equipment. Start slow. Anyone should be able to do at least one pushup(on your knees). Spread them out. For those of you with joint issues doing stuff in the water is great for your joints. Just keep moving. Humans do not do well when not moving. I see it all the time in my clinic.

    • fmrleftchick

      “weight loss is 90 percent diet and 10 percent exercise”

      Yep. Calorie restriction is the only way to lose fat. Figure your TDEE and your macros, figure a reasonable deficit (20%) and you’ll lose. That’s it.

      • Bill

        You lost me at TDEE?

        • Rich

          Total Daily Energy Expediture. Google “find my macros”, enter your info and track your food. Make sure your numbers add up at the end of each day. Do this consistantly and you WILL lose weight.

      • John Calvert

        Studies show that the body quickly adapts to the new level of calories. Calories in vs calories out isn’t a realistic long term solution. It’s what you eat rather than how much. More and more research is showing that NSNG (No Sugar No Grains) is healthier given all the additives in the foods. Try to find food without sugar in it in you pantry. With the exception of some cooking oils etc you would be hard pressed to do so. Your body is designed to turn this glycogen into fat. Starving yourself is not the answer and is just frustrating. NSNG and Ketogenic diets are showing not only weight loss benefits but benefits for level 2 diebetes, people with Alzheimer’s, seizures and more. Definitely do some research online and make your own decision.

        • Yuki Yuuki

          AHHRRGHH!!!! BANG BANG BANG… TOO COMPLICATED!!!!!!. easy simple rule. record what you eat (most people eat more than they think) If you are an average man ..start at 2250 calories. eats a bit less and walks a couple miles a day…… theres my plan……. I have lost 25 pounds (so far) ….. off both my cholesterol AND blood pressure meds. I don’t worry about the macronutrients.. how much fat, sugar etc. just eat in moderation. and all that “stuff” will take care of itself.

          • John Calvert

            Everyone has different circumstances and situations. Some who may not have excercised at all and eat without minding what is in they eat will see results with minimal changes. That hopefully will spur them on to keep learning and possibly exercise will become part of their daily routine. As always start slow and don’t expect miracles overnight. My situation is unique in some respects. Due to a medication that slowed down my metabolism I went from 180 to 210 in 4 months. I always had success with jumping down to 2000 calories eliminating bread and alcohol and continuing my regular excercise program (mountain bike 6-8 hours a week and lift 3 times a week). Nothing. Just kept gaining weight. That’s when I started learning about NoSugarNoGrain. It made sense and relies on higher fat intake, lower carbs and medium protein. I started seeing some results meaning I stopped gaining weight. That’s when I learned about Ketogenic diets which basically switches your body from burning glycogen to Ketones. I figured that I have a lot of fat so to burn that instead would make sense. As I learn more and more about it and studies are showing the benefits I am continuing. I have not ridden my bike for about 5 months due to all trails being closed in The Bay Area and I go to the gym once or maybe twice a week. Today I hit 188 and feel great. It’s taken most of a year to lose that 22lbs. Other side effects is the tiredness that I would feel 2-3 hours after a heavy carb meal due to the insulin drop is gone. I’ve gone from 10+ cups of coffee a day to maybe 2 if I Remember to finish my second. I have always had good bp and other numbers so there was no change there. There is no doubt that there was a brainwashing in the 70’s and 80’s that fat is bad. “Eat more grains and carbs.”More and more the reality is becoming true. I am saddened to watch my kids eating almost all carbs and some protein. Why? Because the sugars and the insulin spike are a drug that feels good. My son is active every day but still is overweight. As is my wife and daughter. I would recommend researching NSNG. Ketogenic is pretty extreme and takes a lot of research. But with NSNG – Eliminating those and eating pure non chemical foods that includes grass fed beef, eggs from chickens that are let roam free and eat a natural diet rather than corn and pork that is fed a vegitarian diet allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to thrive. Chemicals and animals fed soy and corn does not. Notice what happens when you eat corn? It’s there in the toilet bowl the very next day. Couple this with low intensity excercise such as walking and most people are amazed at what they can eat and not count calories, macros etc and how good they feel. That is my experience and I am so happy I found my path. My experience is what I am sharing not telling others this is what you should do. I would also look up benefits of a Ketogenic diet. The results in Alzheimer’s, Ausbergers, seizures, Type 2 diebetes are amazing. As I read more and more I am just amazed at the benefits. I am 52 by the way.

        • fmrleftchick

          You re-adjust your TDEE every 10lbs lost. No one is suggesting starving yourself… not even close.

  • Christine Rue

    I also am over 50 , 56 to be exact & have found after 5 years being menopausal the weight has increased in & around my waist & belly ! I eat fairly healthy about 80% of the time & I still run / walk 2-3 x weekly 3-4 miles & have been doing metabolic compound exercises whole body & HITT with a trainor @ my gym . I can’t seem to lose this fat in & around my belly . I feel I almost have to starve myself & work twice as hard at exercising. I am beyond frustrated & yes some of the exercises you post are difficult for us over 55 !

    • Mary Lichter

      Oh my gosh this is me too! I too can’t get rid of the little roll on my belly. (I’m 58).

    • Gina Dobson

      Christine, you’ve got me worried because I am creeping up on that range myself. I do however make sure to have low calorie, high protein (plant-based) shakes most every day. I’m afraid of the increased risk of diabetes with belly fat. Maybe that would help you as well?

      • Tisa Hester

        Could be due to hormone imbalance – primarily estrogen dominance

  • A poster asked about weight loss when belly fat is stubborn. I wrote the following reply, and when I went to post it, her post had been removed. Here is my reply to her question for those who might be interested.
    ………………………………………….

    For what it is worth, Christine, at 277 lbs and pre-diabetic at age 68, I found out that I was (literally) addicted to glucose — refined sugar and grains (esp wheat). I cut out both, went through a 3-4 day wheat opiate withdrawal — spent two days in bed with fever just like the flu) and lost 25 lbs that first month, mostly from my waist. I lost down to 226 in 25 months, but spent most of 2016 in the 230s and lower 240s.

    I am not losing more weight now, but my health (joint pain, blood sugar readings, gum health) continues to improve.

    Resources that have really helped me are William Davis (Wheat Belly), Jason Fung (Obesity Code), David Perlmutter (Grain Brain), and Jimmy Moore (Keto Clarity). I have just ordered Joseph Mercola’s Fat for Fuel, a guide to ketogenic eating (high fat low carb).

    Davis has a facebook page (OfficialWheatBelly) with lots of pictures and stories — a lot of support for the difficult journey of living in America grain- and sugar-free.

    Full disclosure: I have no formal ties with any of these doctors — just my own personal experience after 40 years of weight loss failure. I have remained under 250 lbs for 27 months now — mostly mid 230s to mid 240s, up and down with (legal) carb excesses — better than any time in the last 30 years. I also am building a defense against cancers (Mercola), heart disease (Davis), kidney disease (Fung), and dementia (Perlmutter), as these diseases have a difficult time overcoming low carb/ high fat diets.

    One more factoid: Incidence of all of these diseases began to grow exponentially in the US after 1978 publication of the FDA Food Pyramid, based on recommendations of the 10-year Senate Select Committee on Nutrition Report (1977), which recommended severe reduction in animal fat (including full fat butter) and 6-11 servings of grains (half whole grains) per day. Recent research has shown these recommendation directly cause inflammation, which is the precursor to all the above diseases.

    For us simple folks, an inexpensive blood glucose stick test shows us *exactly* what causes blood sugar to spike, which in turn causes insulin to spike, which – over time – leads to Type 2 diabetes. I dropped my BG readings from the 160s-170s (pre-diabetic) to the 100s-120s in a month on Wheat Belly (less than 50 grams carbs per day) and Ketogenic (less than 20 grams carbs, moderate protein, high fat) eating.

    Don’t know if this is for you. Some people just cannot give up pasta, bread, sugar, etc, regardless of what they do to our health. But I felt the need to share the success story with you.

    • To all the people tal

    • Barbara Soucy

      Our go to book is “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger. My husband (57 yo) has gone full vegan walks 6 miles each day wrapped into his busy work day. The benefit in just one year?? A1C went from 7.6 down to 5.2. He looks amazing and feels fabulous. Size 40 to a 33. Best of all, his doctor released him from seven meds down to a half dose of only one, and thinks it may only be a short time and he won’t evenb need that. Diet and exercise – who would have thought that to be the miracle of good health?? Right??

  • Bob Fritz

    I’m 72. Try this. It worked for me.

    Power walk (my circuit is 2.8 miles) three times per week with a 5-pound weight in each hand. In cadence with my steps: 700 alternating curls, 300 vertical lifts, 700 more curls, 700 side swings, and some chest flies for whatever is left. I go even in the cold. 4 degrees F was the coldest so far. Of course I started with fewer reps and less weight two years ago.

    Weight training with a trainer once per week.

    Write down everything I eat and keep a calorie budget, and weigh myself every day.

  • clifford frazier

    The simple fact is goal setting. I had prostrate surgery and complications after the surgery. I decided the only way I would get to where I wanted to be was to start setting my own goals. While I haven’t lost all the weight I have wanted to (YET) I have solid workouts, goals to improve those workouts and a positive outlook on my future fitness & conditioning. At our current age (69), “the journey certainly begins with the first step,” and constant goal setting. Simple but effective.

  • Rita Poitras

    My husband and I are on a program: Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson’s Habits of Health. It is a lifestyle change and so amazing. You become healthy and possibly shed some medication and you will work with a Health Coach. We are loosing the unwanted pounds and learn how to eat healthy to keep them off. Please let me know if you would like to look into it and I can refer you to someone who can answer all your questions. By the way, I am 69 and my husband is 70. This program is affordable. Did I mention that my husband and I walk every day 2+ miles.

  • Genevieve Malone

    How about finding us some exercises that people with RA AND fibromyalgia can do to trim down, but won’t put us in a major flare up? I’m a very active 62 with both but seem to be turning into fat.

  • Phillip Hoskins

    Seems to be a lot of squats and the description is awful. Bend your knees? Did you forget the part about push your hips back? As a personal trainer and youth performance coach a lot of these articles are not written very well. As a lot of the comments say they are not beneficial.

  • Talya Solomon

    Wow pretty big on the Kettleballs . Think I’ll give it some thought ! Afraid suspending grippers is too involved for me .

  • Joey Harding

    I am 56 and in great shape – run 5-7 miles 3-4 days at at sub 8:30, lift using compound exercises 3 days a week… but I am always looking for the next great exercise that will made me a little more fit…

    When reading about any workouts, I am always cautious of any exercise that had a movement above my shoulders. I have had shoulder surgery (rotator cuff and arthritis clean up as well as bicep tendon reattachment). Should I follow these exercises (DUMBBELL SQUAT, CURL, PRESS and KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUATS WITH “HEARTBEAT” AND PRESS) but just eliminate the “above the shoulders motion? Or does that pretty much kill the exercise’s effectiveness?

    Also, with the DUMBBELL WALKING LUNGES AND PUNCHES exercises, I also tend to shy away from any exercise where my palm is facing down (to protect my elbow). Can I modify this one in some way to keep from torquing my elbow the wrong direction (using the Supple as a Leopard principles)?

  • John Calvert

    Insofar as excercise getting a simple set of adjustable dumbells can go a long way. My set goes from 5-30 I think. Looking Amazon for $ vs reviews.

    A great way to start for those in colder climates or no gyms is to do light weights with one set of 10-12 reps BUT do them very slowly so one Rep is 10 seconds of and 10 seconds back down. This requires much less weight and is very tiring and does add muscle. More muscle does ask for more calories to burn. I incorporate this every couple of six week cycles.

    Also, doing simple push-ups even on your knees at first plus planks (glutes tight!) is an easy start. When working at home my Apple Watch reminds me to do something active every hour. I usually do a quick set of 20 push ups and some crunches.

    I have very painful knees and one option that works for me is the step back lunge. Since you step back you don’t put the forward force on your knees. As with any excercise keeping your lower abdominals tight is key. E.g if doing crunches concentrate on not letting your lower abdominal pooch (?) up. Once my trainer showed me that I couldn’t even do half the crunches I used to.

    Getting a TRX setup can give you a whole gym. The angle determines the difficulty. Plus it forces you to work your balancing muscles which standard weight machines or singular motion excercise do not.

    I can’t emphasis enough that correct posture at any time is key. You will get hurt unless you strengthen your core.

    Hope that helps someone.

  • fmrleftchick

    20% TDEE deficit made up of 40% lean protein; 30% healthy fats; 30% low glycemic carbs. Re-adjust regularly and good things will happen… fat loss, muscle retention, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, less inflammation, etc.

  • Bonnie Lu

    Middle aged, overweight, out of shape people modeling these exercises ISN’T motivating to anyone!!! Are you serious? I don’t care about the age of the model, but I do care if the pictures are pleasing to the eye, inspirational & make me want to continue to be fit. Overweight, fat is unhealthy & leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, self-image problems & a variety of other health issues. Society can try to normalize overweight all they want it, but I’m not buying into the fallacy! It’s unfortunate that we have so many overweight children, teenagers & adults supposedly “happy” with being who they are. ff this site starts using overweight models, I’ll go elsewhere.

  • Amba

    Actually, as an over weight and out of shape 32 year old I agree that many of these programs are showing exercises that just aren’t practical for someone at the beginning of their fitness regimen. I would like to see more articles that feature people who aren’t in their prime (either physical fitness, weight, age, etc) preforming exercises that are ‘for the rest of us’. I’m not sure that they can find people who ‘fit’ those categories to be featured though. Fat doesn’t sell and America has a messed up view of models/body types.

  • D

    Instead of looking at this article in a negative light, see what you can learn from it. Sure they are showing the most advanced version of the exercise, but each one can be broken down into manageable steps. You don’t have to use weights, start with body weight. Be aware of what you are trying to accomplish with each movement and make sure you are using your muscles, not just going through the motions. They have given us a great workout here. For example the first exercise, Squat, bicep curl, shoulder press…you need a chair for balance or to sit in and cans of vegetables for “weights”…if you are uncomfortable doing a squat, start with sitting in a chair and standing up, don’t rock your upper body, fire through you quads and your glutes keeping your belly tight and back straight to stand up, sit down slowly making your muscles do the work not gravity. If you would like to try squats, have the chair nearby for balance. You have your own range of motion and flexibility, so work within that scope, they will both increase over time. Keep weight toward your heels, chest up, belly tight, spine neutral (no arch, no hump). Sit back like you’re going to sit in a chair, dropping tail bone down and keeping core stable, knees behind toes. To stand up, press through the floor, firing your glutes and quads, squeeze at the top. Be mindful of what your are trying to accomplish. Bicep curl, keep elbows close to your body, be mindful of the muscles you are using, bring your hand toward your shoulder bending at the elbow and then lower your hand to your leg, lower slowly, you work, not gravity. Shoulder press, be careful to protect your back when you lift your arms above your head. Draw your belly button toward your spine, wrap your ribs in and don’t arch your back. Press your hands up above your head and lower them slowly back down until elbows are at 90 degrees and repeat. You can use weights in all of these or not. You can put them all together like in the article or you can do them separately. Each exercise in the article can modified…instead of push ups on the floor do push ups against the wall or railing or chair. Instead of kettle bell swings do standing toe touches or straight leg dead lifts, have a chair or wall next to you for balance. Instead of walking lunges, do an isometric lunge with an arm exercise. Hold a plank instead of walking in one, you can drop to your knees or elbows or both. If planks bother your arms in a bad way, flip over and hold a boat or v sit or hollow hold. I love the articles with crazy hard exercises, they give me a lot of new ideas and they give me a goal to work toward.

  • Sid

    Cindy – so happy to see these comments! I am 50 and struggling to find strength training workouts that don’t kill my knees or back. I’ve used trainers in the past, so far they were expensive and useless – I can’t afford to break-the -bank again like that right now. I’ve got the eating habits changed, and started walking now (Winter in Wisconsin isn’t condusive), need to add a little. I joined a gym, I don’t know what to use there so I don’t hurt myself again.

  • gigi

    I’m almost 40 and overweight. I can’t do pushups unless on my knees. I can’t run a mile. I’m not young and fit. But, I’ll never stop trying. All of you complaining and crying are making excuses. It’s too cold, I can’t afford a trainer, etc. Go on beach body. com and order a DVD. Oh, I guess that’s next that you don’t have a DVD player. They have many programs for many fitness levels. I have been doing body beast which is led by a pro body builder. I can’t lift 50lb weights like guys in the video but I try my best. Two months in pants that were too tight are now comfortable. I’m beginning to see my muscles pop. I’ve tightened up my diet eating mostly protein and veggies. For all the excuses you can find DVDs for any fitness level and you can easily eat right. After work I’d love to grab a pizza, go home, and sit all night watching TV but I pick up the kids, and make the choice to workout with two eight year olds running around. I make the choice to eat chicken and veggies. I make the choice to drink 2-3 liters of water a day when I’d rather have coffee or soda. Maybe one day I’ll look like a fitness model. Maybe I won’t, but I’ll never stop trying.

  • Donna Ross

    I am glad to know that more than me would like to see over weight people doing exercises. It’s always skinny people that they show.