Losing weight is hard.
Whether you’re battling obesity or looking to drop a few pounds, exercise is one of the best ways (after dieting!) to lose weight and keep it off.
Some effects of weight loss are an increase in your quality of life, more confidence, better coordination, and possibly a smaller waist circumference.
Engaging in physical activity will boost the number of calories your body burns.
This will create the calorie deficit you vitally need for fat loss.
But remember, exercise is so much more than burning a lot of calories.
Yes, it helps prevent obesity and burns away belly fat but it also improves your mood and speeds up your metabolism.
Many myths are floating around about the best exercises to lose those unwanted pounds.
Some say cardio is king, like the treadmill or Stairmaster.
Others say strength training will help you shed your body fat even faster.
So which is it?
Trick question! You need both for the best weight loss results.
Moderate pace aerobic exercise burns the biggest number of calories immediately.
However, high-intensity weight training and resistance exercises elevate your metabolic rate which continues even after you’re done working out.
For the greatest weight loss to happen, you need to burn calories, increase your metabolism and focus on your diet/calorie intake.
You can even take it further by completing a physical performance test to test your physical function and establish a baseline.
For older adults, know that there is an age-related decline and weight gain that may result in knee pain, physical frailty, slow metabolism, or a decline in specific physical functions.
Consult a physician before starting a new type of exercise to avoid a risk of injury.
Let’s focus on the 14 best calorie burn full-body workout exercises to lose weight and to get in shape.
14 Best Exercises for Weight loss
This list ranks the top 14 trainer-backed weight loss exercises by calories torched.
Note, the burned calories listed are approximate. Numbers may vary by age, weight, resistance, and intensity.
1. Jumping Rope
The burn: 667–990 calories/hour (jumping at 120 skips per minute)
Channel your inner school kid because jumping rope is the most effective cardiovascular exercise for your entire body!
The act not only burns calories but it improves your coordination, heart health and strengthens your bone density.
Plus, it’s a deceptively simple act with so many fun variations!
Stand in front of your rope holding an end in each hand.
With your arms down by your side, initiate the movement by rotating through your forearms and wrists.
This will bring the rope around you, over your head, and when it reaches the ground in front of you, jump.
There are many ways to amp up the calories burned. First, you can use a weighted rope.
The heavier the rope, the more effort it will take to swing it around.
You can also try different skips!
For example, jumping on one leg, crossing your arms in front of you, or even swinging the rope around you backward.
Feeling up for a super challenge? Try swinging the rope around twice for one jump. Whew!
Work your way up to longer intervals or add it to a HIIT workout.
The burn: 639–946 calories/hour
Channel your inner olympian because coming in at number 2 is sprinting.
Not only does this exercise burn a ton of calories, but it also increases your stamina and boosts your metabolism.
Sprinting is so much more than running fast for short periods of time.
You need to focus on the proper form, mechanics, and rhythm.
For your posture, your head, neck, and shoulders are all stacked over your hips.
Have a slight forward lean.
Try marching in place to lock down the form.
Your arms will move front to back, not side to side. Keeps your hips neutral and each step should land directly under your center of mass. (1)
For sprint interval training, sprint for 30 seconds, walk for 60. Repeat for your desired length of the workout.
The burn: 582–864 calories/hour
Number 3 on this list is one of my all-time favorite stress relievers, kickboxing!
But not only for the conditioning required. This exercise will get your heart pumping!
There are 2 types of kickboxing, contact and noncontact. Contact sounds exactly like what it is, sparring with a partner.
Noncontact utilizes weight bags and hand pads instead of another person.
While kickboxing may be tough on your body, specifically your lower body, it’s important to consult a doctor before starting any new physical activity.
The burn: 568–841 calories/hour
If you’re looking for something a little easier on your joints, try spinning!
This low-impact exercise is great for improving not only your core strength but your overall strength. All the while increasing your heart rate to burn extra calories.
This exercise is great for your lower body! It requires you to tap into your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors.
You also need those abs for stability on the stationary bike, especially if you’re going to ride in any position other than seated.
Not only is this work out great for your body, but it’s good for your mind too.
You focus entirely on the exercise and the next move so it reduces stress and gives you time to turn off your brain and just ride.
With the increased popularity of at-home workouts, you have an array of options for at-home streaming.
The burn: 566–839 calories/hour (10-minute mile pace)
Lace-up your favorite sneakers, running is number 5 on this list.
Similar to sprinting, running is the extended, more deliberate version of the exercise.
The benefits are also similar. Running reduces your risk of heart disease, strengthens your joints and bones, and helps you sleep better.
Mentally, it boosts your confidence, stimulates your memory, and can even lead to a longer life. (2)
To start running, begin at a moderate pace with walking or jogging intervals.
Work your way up to longer and longer runs.
You’ll be running a 5K in no time!
6. Kettlebell Circuits
The burn: 554–822 calories/hour
You’re probably already familiar with a kettlebell but what exactly is a circuit?
A circuit is completing the number of reps of your chosen exercise in your determined order. But without rest in between the exercises.
Naturally, you’ll take 90 seconds of rest in between circuits for 5 rounds.
To amp it up, you can add reps or more weight to each circuit.
Your exercise options for kettlebells are endless! First choose which parts (or all!) of your body you’re looking to target. Then pick your exercises.
Some examples are Romanian deadlifts, double kettlebell press, kettlebell swings, or goblet squats.
The burn: 481–713 calories/hour (150 watts)
Rowing is another machine-driven workout that torches calories!
This exercise works your entire body. In your upper body, your back, pectoral muscles, arms, abs, and obliques all assist in the pulling motion.
Simultaneously, your quads, calves, and glutes are pushing your body back in the seat.
Breathing technique is also imperative to get the most power in your pull.
If you’re looking to purchase a rower for your home gym, there are even foldable options!
8. Loaded Kettlebell Carries
The burn: 476–705 calories/hour
Loaded Kettlebell Carries are a great way to work out and get some fresh air at the same time.
The exercise is also known as the “farmer’s walk”. This is when you hold weight in each hand and walk for a designated distance.
As with any weighted exercise, start with a lower weight, especially if you are a beginner.
For the basic farmer’s walk, you will hold equally weighted kettlebells in each hand.
You can also use dumbbells or a barbell. Deadlift and walk your distance.
A second variation is the suitcase carry.
This is where you hold the weight in only 1 hand. Brace your abs so you’re not leaning to one side. Keep a straight spine.
The last variation we will talk about here is the goblet carry.
This is where you hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of your chest as you walk.
Note that if you rest the bell on your chest, it’s time to rest.
The burn: 452–670 calories/hour (77 steps per minute)
Rocky was onto something when he ran up that flight of stairs in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Walking upstairs is an intense body weight exercise that builds endurance, improves heart health, and increases muscle strength.
Climbing is mainly a lower body exercise that will light your quads, hamstrings, and calves on fire.
Don’t forget about those glutes either. You will feel the burn!
Keep a steady pace as you climb!
10. Strength Training
The Burn: 341 – 504 calories/hour
Strength Training focuses on building the muscle making you stronger and upping your endurance.
Building the muscle mass underneath any layer of fat in your body will burn calories faster and boost your metabolism.
For this type of lower intensity (on your joints) physical activity, you can use free weights or even your own body weight, like planks, pushups, and mountain climbers.
Like many of these previously listed workouts, the benefits are endless.
Strength training can improve your sleep, reduce anxiety, and put you in a better mood.
Progress to heavier weights as you become comfortable with the movements.
11. Metabolic Resistance Training Circuit
The Burn: 340 – 505 calories/hour
Metabolic Resistance Training is very similar to strength training, however, there is an emphasis on the “afterburn”.
This is also known as exercise oxygen consumption which increases your metabolic rate.
Essentially, these are the calories your body continues to burn even after you’ve finished your workout.
The more popular versions of this physical activity are HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and CrossFit.
HIIT workouts alternate recovery periods and strenuous activity.
The moves in your workout are compound movements using multiple muscle groups at a time, like box jumps.
They are quick and intense often with a minimal recovery period.
You will effectively build muscle as your body continues to burn calories with a higher metabolism.
Unsure of which to choose for your exercise routine? Ask a personal trainer!
The Burn: 322 – 478 calories/hour
Next up is the elliptical machine! This type of physical activity will boost your stamina, puts less stress on your joints, and improves your balance.
This machine targets your entire body. For your lower body, you’re working your booty and thighs.
Through your torso, you’re targeting your core. For your upper body, you’re hitting your biceps, chest, and triceps.
The most important thing to remember when using this machine is that resistance and incline are key!
Add more minutes of exercise to your routine with experience.
13. Battle Ropes
The Burn: 285 – 421 calories/hour
Battle ropes are another high-intensity whole body workout that is also a lot of fun!
These ropes are thick and typically anchored around a single point.
Grab the handles in each hand and lower yourself down into a squat.
While building strength, you will set your arms and back on fire with waves, slams, and pulls.
You can also incorporate squats and lunges to target your legs. Feeling extra spicy? Add a burpee or two.
14. Power Yoga
The Burn: 266 – 335 calories/hour
Don’t let the word “yoga” fool you, power yoga is intense!
There are a few popular brands of power yoga.
Some are heated, some hold poses for longer periods of time, and some work quickly through the sequence.
Regardless of which type you choose, you will build heat, lean muscle, and stamina in your body.
This will help you build muscle, improve your sleep and sweat out toxins.
best exercises weight loss
As stated before, the key to weight loss is taking in fewer calories than you burn.
These 14 weight loss exercises burned the most calories compared to others.
These different exercises will also work your entire body, increase your heart rate and boost your metabolism.
Remember, regardless of your years of age, physical status, or even body composition, weight loss takes time.
Be patient, be kind to yourself, set a weekly routine and choose a form of exercise that you truly enjoy so you keep coming back for more!