So, you can’t get to the gym for your regular group fitness classes or typical cardio sessions.
Bummer, we know.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a killer fat burning workout right in the comfort of your home (or backyard)!
Better still, is that you can get a great workout without any expensive equipment or classes.
And, we're here to help you figure out how to do that with a few of our favorite at-home exercises to lose weight.
But, before we get to the list, we need to mention one thing when it comes to losing weight -- exercise is only part of the equation.
You must have your diet set up to facilitate weight loss.
Remember, you cannot out-train a crappy diet.
That means no amount of exercise (within reason) is going to undo the damage (fat gain) induced by poor eating habits.
The reason for this is that exercise only burns a fraction of the total number of calories your body expends every day. The main driver of weight loss is a calorie deficit.
Exercise is there to complement your dieting efforts.
What we mean by that is exercise is there to help you burn more calories during the day (allowing you to eat a slightly higher amount of calories while remaining in a calorie deficit), and (more importantly) it helps you retain lean muscle mass.
With that said, let's now get to the best at-home exercises to lose weight!
Fat Burning Exercises While At Home
You know ‘em, you love (hate) ‘em. We’re talking about the “B” word, Burpees.
This total body exercise blasts your upper body, core, legs, and lungs, making it a tour de force in the exercise world that just about everyone dreads.
Yes, burpees are hard, but they can burn a ton of calories.
If the “complete” burpee is too challenging (the kind where you do a push up after kicking your feet back), you can remove it from the exercise and just do a squat thrust. Then stand up, jump, and repeat.
Many of us have abandoned crawling once we achieved the ability to walk on two feet.
But it is one of the most primal skills there are.
Crawling is an excellent exercise that challenges coordination, core strength, balance, and coordination.
And, when performed on your hands and feet (a la bear crawling), it also blasts the shoulders, abs, and quads.
Bear crawls can be performed front-to-back, side-to-side, or “four corners” style where you make a box with your crawling.
Regardless of how you bear crawl, make sure to keep your shoulders and hips square throughout the entire exercise.
Many of us use planks to develop core stability and strength, but after a while, they don't provide much of a challenge.
That's all taken care of with the break-dancer -- a diabolical movement that is essentially a rotating bear plank that has you kicking your feet across your body.
Break-dancers add another layer of complexity, not to mention calorie burning, and will have your legs, lungs, abs, and shoulders burning by the end.
The "full-blown" version of this movement have you kicking your leg across your body and fully extending it. If that sounds a bit too intense, you can regress the movement and simply touch your opposite knee to opposite elbow until you get the hang of the exercise.
Kettlebell swings are a great high-intensity, low-impact exercise for burning calories and building strength.
It helps train the hip hinge pattern (similar to that of a Romanian deadlift), engages the muscles of the posterior chain, and improves coordination, power, and explosiveness.
Make sure to avoid squatting the kettlebell down and picking it up with your arms (i.e., two of the common mistakes of swinging).
Remember, the swing is a powerful, explosive hip hinge. All of the power to raise the kettlebell comes from the violent lower body contractions. Your arms are just there to hold onto the weight.
Swings can be performed with one hand or both, depending on your weight availability and current strength levels.
Dumbbell Skier Swings
For the individuals who don’t have access to kettlebells at home, the dumbbell skier swing is an appealing option that delivers a similar training effect to a kettlebell swing.
Even if you don’t have dumbbells at home, you can perform the exercise holding jugs of water or just using your arms.
Make sure to use a narrower stance than what you would use with a KB swing since the weights are going on the outside of your body instead of between your legs. Adopting this narrower stance will help you from bashing the dumbbell into your thighs.
Most of the exercises we perform have either moving front to back (forward lunges, reverse lunges, etc.) or up and down (squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, etc.). But, we also need to move side to side (laterally).
Despite this, few of us include any exercises that address this important athletic skill.
Speed skaters help break us out of the sagittal plane and move in the frontal plane (side to side).
As a bonus, speed skaters also help develop coordination, agility, and lower body strength and stability, particularly in the muscles of the hip and glutes.
If jumping from side to side is too much, you can take side steps and allow your back foot to touch the floor.
We’re all familiar with traditional jumping jacks. They’ve been a staple of fitness for decades, and many of us have been performing them since childhood.
Jumping jacks are a great bodyweight exercise that’s relatively low impact and provides a great cardiovascular training effect.
But, many individuals with a history of cranky shoulders find discomfort performing the move.
The seal jack is a riff on the standard jumping jack that is not only more shoulder-friendly than standard jumping jacks, but it also helps activate and engage the muscles of the upper back as well as help open up the chest.
As you’re aware, many of us spend our days hunched over -- watching tv, working on a laptop, staring at a smartphone, etc.
The seal jack helps counteract this chronic “pulled forward” posture by opening things up and forcing you to engage the upper back while stretching the pecs.
To perform seal jacks, stand tall with your chest up, core braced, and arms extending in front of your body palms touching each other.
Jump your feet out to the sides (as you would in a traditional jumping jack) and bring your arms out to the sides of your body. As you do this, imagine trying to crack a nut between your shoulder blades. This helps activate and strengthen the upper back muscles, something often neglected with conventional bodyweight cardio exercises.
Once your feet touch the ground, reverse the movement and jump back into the starting position with your legs together and arms/hands in front of your body.
Push-Up Toe Touch
The push-up is a staple upper body exercise, one that has helped millions build upper body strength.
Unfortunately, many people abandon the push-up, thinking that it can't challenge them or serve much muscle-building benefit. These are also the same people that are likely half-repping their way or using momentum to bounce up and down throughout the exercise.
Know full well that the push up can humble even the strongest of lifters. Using things like tempo manipulation, deficits, and advanced push-up progressions can help you continue to build muscle and strength without ever needing to pick up a barbell.
Beyond its strength-building capacity, the humble push-up can also be turned into a full-body metabolic storm with the addition of a simple tweak.
The push-up toe touch starts simple enough -- assume a high plank position and perform a standard push up.
After pressing back up to the top, hinge backward as if you were performing a downward-facing dog pose in yoga.
Next, take your right hand and touch your left toe.
Then, move back into the plank position, placing your right hand back down on the ground.
Perform another push-up, moving your body toward the ground, pausing for a second at the bottom, and then pressing back up.
Again, pike your hips to assume the downward dog pose and this time reach the other hand (left hand) back toward the right ankle.
Repeat this process until the timer goes off, you've completed all reps, or your lungs, chest, and arms can't take anymore!
Training Tools for Exercising at Home
Many individuals think that since they don’t have the full stock of bars, benches, machines, and bands that their local gym does that they can’t get in an effective workout.
But, the truth is that you can get phenomenal results (be it fat loss, muscle gain, or body recomp) using nothing but your bodyweight. You just have to be willing to break from traditional set and rep schemes or training methodologies.
And, for every piece of equipment that you can add to your home gym, you increase the variety and challenge you can impose on your mind and muscles.
Some of our favorite training tools for home exercise equipment (that don’t completely break the bank) are:
- Doorway Pull-Up Bar
- Adjustable Dumbbells
- Adjustable Bench
- Resistance Bands (including mini loop bands and hip circles)
- Dip Bars
- Suspension Trainer
But, remember these are "nice to have," they're not requirements to train effectively or lose weight at home.
Workout Supplements to Take At Home
To lose weight, diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management are responsible for the vast majority of your results.
Supplements are there to complement and enhance your nutrition and training programs, helping you be more energized, train harder, and recover faster.
For those of you specifically focused on losing weight over the next few weeks, we recommend the following supplement stack:
Steel Sweat® is a delicious-tasting thermogenic fat burning powder formulated to boost exercise performance, increase thermogenesis, boost metabolism, and make you sweat.*
Steel Burn™ is a stimulant-free supplement for healthy weight management that can be added to your pre-workout serving of Steel Sweat®. It can also be taken first thing in the morning, or any other time of day to support the body's natural fat burning mechanisms. Steel Burn™ delivers 3 grams of Carnipure® L-Carnitine, a nutrient that serves an essential role in helping convert fatty acids into usable fuel.*