12 Surprising Fat-Burning Exercises

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Finding the best fat-burning exercises is very important if you want to lose weight and get into a better shape, particularly if it’s hard for you to find time to get to the gym or work out regularly. Fat accumulates in many different parts of the body, so a range of fat-burning exercises can target those specific areas for toning and eventual muscle growth.

Before you tweak your current workout regimen, it is important to learn about the benefits of different workouts and the best ways for you to target those problem areas in your body. [1]

Best Fat-burning Workouts

Best fat-burning exercises include walking lunges, box squat jumps, dumbbell walking, and pull-ups, among others.

Walking Lunges

A walking lunge is performed by extending one leg out in front of you, your thigh parallel to the ground while keeping your back leg in place with your heel up. Then, you would bring the back leg to lunge forward, again keeping the first leg’s toes down on the ground. This intense workout for the thighs, hips, and buttocks can burn fat fast. [2]

A group of men and women doing lunges indoors

Exercising can help release stress. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Engaging multiple muscles groups in your latissimus dorsi, shoulders, forearms, biceps, core, and back, this comprehensive workout is completed by grasping a bar over your head. Allow your legs to hang and pull your entire body up until the bar touches the top of your chest. Then, release your weight slowly down into a dead hang position before repeating. [3]

Dumbbell Walking

Walking is a great cardiovascular workout, but walking with an extra 5-10 pounds in each hand can make the workout far more complex. At this point, you are working out your arms (if you swing them in a controlled manner), while also making the act of walking more strenuous, as you are moving more weight. This notably increases the calorie-burning of the workout. [4]

Box Squat Jumps

As the name implies, place a small box, approximately 1 foot high, in front of you, then squat by lowering your hips and sitting down slowly on a chair behind you. As you rise out of the seat, jump onto the box in front of you, landing with your legs slightly bent. You should keep your arms out in front of you throughout this entire exercise. This high-intensity release of your muscles requires quite a bit of energy, which will kick your fat-burning metabolism into a high gear. [5]

Fat-burning Ab Exercises

If you are struggling to eliminate that layer of fat over your abs, try fat-burning exercises like low-belly leg reaches, donkey kickbacks, boat pose, planks, and bodyweight squats.

Donkey Kickbacks

You begin on all fours on the ground, with your toes curled under your feet. Keeping your back straight, raise slightly off the ground (approx. 2 inches). Then, bring one knee up to the chest before extending it back until it is straight. Repeat this 8-10 times with each leg to engage your core and butt muscles, leading to a rapid fat burning in those areas.

Boat Pose

While seated on the ground, your buttocks firmly planted, form a V with your body. Your arms should be extended straight above your head and your legs should for roughly a 35-degree angle above the ground. This exercises shreds fat in your abdominal muscles and buttocks, while also strengthening your core. [6]


A plank is basically the starting position of a push-up, but you hold it for as long as possible. Beginning on all fours, raise your torso off the ground, forming a flat line between your heels and the back of your head. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds to get your abdominal muscles toned and flattened. [7]

Bodyweight Squats

With your feet shoulder-width apart, cross your arms over your chest as you push your hips back and lower yourself into a seated position. Your thighs should be parallel with the ground at the bottom of this exercise before your return to a straight standing position. This will engage your abs, buttocks, hamstrings and core muscles to burn fat faster. [8]

Low-belly Leg Reaches

Lying on your back with your knees up at a 90-degree angle and your hands above your head, do a deeper crunch of a few inches and hold that position for 10 seconds. Being careful not to strain your back, repeat this 6-8 times per set for toned, perfect abs. [9]

Best Exercises for Fat Loss

If you want to lose fat quickly through high-intensity workouts, try medicine ball wall bounces, sprints, overhead presses and jumping lunges.


If you want to burn fat fast, you need to perform high-intensity workouts that kicks your body’s metabolism. Performing short sprints are a great way to do this, rather than going on a longer jog that doesn’t demand as much immediate energy. Perform decreasing levels of 30-second, 20-second and 10-second sprints to get your metabolism moving before a more traditional workout. [10]

Medicine Ball

Bouncing a medicine ball off the wall may not seem overly strenuous, but the weight puts a lot of demands on the body, including the arm muscles, core, back muscles, abdominals, and legs. Bounce an 8-pound medicine ball off the wall and catch it 12-15 times, and you will feel the workout all over your body.

Overhead Press

A quick way to burn fat in the arms is the overhead press. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, from either a seated or standing position, slowly raise the dumbbells from your shoulders above your head, keeping them even and steady. Then, slowly lower them to your chest or shoulders before repeating 10-15 times. There are many variants of this exercise, including alternating arms, twisting the weights as you raise them, etc. to work different muscle areas in your arms. [11]

Workout Routine to Lose Fat in a Few Weeks

If you are interested in losing fat in a short period of time, follow an alternating workout routine of fat-burning exercises and cardiovascular activity. You don’t want to focus solely on muscle-building, because cardiovascular exercise can also help to maintain a high, active metabolism that burns fat for you. Furthermore, you want to give your muscle a break from time to time, so alternating exercise styles can prevent injury and increase the efficacy of your workouts.

Tips to Lose Body Fat

Apart form fat-burning exercises, there are some lifestyle changes and pieces of advice that can help you lose more body fat, such as cutting back on calories, drinking more water, eating smaller meals more often, increasing protein consumption and eliminating fast-foods from your diet.

Small Meals

Rather than eating 3 square meals a day, try eating smaller meals more often. Many athletes and nutrition experts recommend eating 5-6 smaller meals. This will keep your digestive system constantly working, and maintain a higher metabolism throughout the day, rather than having peaks around mealtimes. [12]

Calorie Restriction

To burn fat and lose weight, you can’t just increase your exercise time; you also need to restrict your calorie intake. Weight loss is the result of creating a consistent calorie deficiency, so replace empty sugars and carbs with protein and healthy fats, in addition to your exercise regimen. [13]

Drink Water

Staying hydrated is important for everyone’s health, but when you are trying to lose body fat, the liver needs extra water to metabolize your fat efficiently. Furthermore, drinking water will decrease your calorie intake because it makes you feel full, which can further help you achieve your fitness goals.


If you are using fat-burning exercises to get in shape, you will need protein to build the muscles you’ve worked so hard for. Increasing muscle mass means that your metabolism needs to move faster to support muscle tissue, rather than fat. [14]

Fast Food

While some fats are healthy and necessary on a fat-burning diet, saturated fats and trans fats that are found in fast food should be avoided at all costs. A healthy diet is essential for burning fat! [15]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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