As anyone who’s ever done a burpee knows… they are simply amazing for fat loss. Every muscle in your body gets worked, you’ll burn a ton of calories and your heart will race like no other.
We actually are on the fence about burpees though. They’re something we have a love/hate relationship with and for good reason. They make me feel like I’ve been knocked out and left for dead from time to time.
But then again… the amount of fat they burn is worth it.
Now let’s talk about 10 exercises that are better than burpees for fat loss.
Wait, something is better than a burpee?
As you know, the burpee is a pretty complex movement that combines the hip-hinge, plank, pushup, squat and jump.
If for any reason, you struggle with any of these moves – whether its mobility, motor control or just strength – burpees are so much harder than they should be. That’s a lot of work for fat loss.
What other criteria should you have when selecting exercises for metabolic conditioning?
Well, the moves must:
- Work out most of your body, especially hips and your shoulders
- Be low-impact and low-skill if possible
- Be safe to perform for higher reps with a short rest period
The moves that are a little easier to perform work just as good as burpees, without some of the pain that often follows them.
1) Goblet Squat
The Goblet Squat is arguably the best way to squat. If you front-load the weight, it allows you to keep your trunk more upright, which takes stress off your spine and works your thighs more.
One thing I really like about the goblet squat is that its safer to perform and much more accessible than barbell squats, especially with higher-reps, which are better for fat-loss training.
All you need is a dumbbell or a kettlebelll and you’re all set. Just stand and sit tall, and then repeat. These squats are great for high reps and are tough on your shoulders and core… just like we like it!
One way to do these is to do 10 reps per minute for at least 10 minutes straight, while holding a weight that’s at least half of your total body weight. Feel the burn!
2) Barbell Muscle Snatch
Olympic lifts tend to be terrific for the highly metabolic muscles on the backside of your body. But, they’re very technical and often hard to learn. That is… all of them except for the muscle snatch.
This exercise is performed from a hang position with the bar at your knee or shin and not on the floor. By combining a high pull to overhead press, there is no catch, which is where many issues arrive when it comes issues with your form.
All you need to do is fully extend your ankles, knees, and hips and come to a full stand at the top of the move.
These can be performed with either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells, whatever you have handy. We recommend practicing without the load on the bar first in order to find your rhythm. Sets of 10 to 20 reps for 2-3 minutes are like lighting a fire to body fat.
3. Dumbbell Skier Swing or Alternating Kettlebell Swing
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the kettlebell swings. The swing has been shown to improve fitness and actually help you lose as much fat as running does. The benefit over running is that you’re not putting stress on your joints like you do when you’re running on pavement.
The fact of the matter is that most guys need more meat on their back, hamstrings, and glutes – and the swing can deliever on that for you. The swing not only builds muscle, it also stimulates your metabolism and works the posterior chain.
Moving from hand to hand allows you to swing more continuously and for longer, which is great for fat loss.
Do you have back issues? Many others who have back issues prefer loading one side of your body at a time because it works your core more and unloads your spine. That slight degree of rotation unloads the spine.
Recommended swing workouts include:
• 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest intervals for 10 to 20 minutes
• Heavy EMOM (every minute on the minute): Do 10 reps per minute with a heavy weight for 10 to 30 minutes
• Light EMOM: Do 20 reps per minute with a lighter weight for 10 to 30 minutes
• Continuous five to 10-minute swings, resting only as needed
4. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk
Walking is one of the best ways anyone can make a simple switch in their routine and notice a major difference. It provides a continuous, low-impact calorie burn and doesn’t require hours in the gym, or special coaches. If you choose to add some weight to your walk, that bump in intensity will build muscle and burn fat everywhere.
One thing I tend to do is alternate between two and one-arm variations. The best all-around option is the one-arm option because it allows you to switch arms when one gets tired. Switching also is better for strengthening your spinal and hip stabilizers.
Sets of one to two minutes at a time are great for fat loss. You can even go for 10 minutes straight to finish off a workout, resting only when needed.
5. Box Squat Jump
Ahh ploymetric exercises. You knew they’d be in here didn’t ya? Box squat jumps are perfect for stimulating your larger fast-twitch muscle fibers, thus destroying fat.
Sitting down between reps cleans up your landing mechanics and is much easier on your knees. You can also adjust the height of the box based on your mobility and fitness level.
6. Step-up Jump
Very similar to the box squat jump, the step-up jump provides a lower-impact way for you to train your lower-body.
Stepups are more hip-dominant than lunges, so they’re easier on your knees as well.
7. Battle Rope Wave
Ever want to just feel like a badass? Well, whenever I feel a little stressed and notice my energy levels are low, I hit the battle rope.
The good news is that this is super easy on your lower-body joints, allowing you to recover quicker.
Try going all-out for 10 to 20 seconds and then resting for 40 to 50 seconds. Alternate between different variations and just work as hard as you can while keeping your abs crunched and back flat.
8. Bear Crawl
I still remember doing these during double sessions in high school…
The bear crawl improves your rib and pelvic positioning, and also your breathing. An added boost to your shoulder stability and a sneaky surprise of strengthening your hands, wrists, and core.
Oh yeah… they also work your thighs and upper body. What more could you ask for?
If you mix these in between walking lunges, you’ll be burning fat in no time. Go ahead and do bear crawls for 1 minute, then lunge for 2 and repeat this 10 times.
9. Walking Lunge
Sometimes walking isn’t enough… that’s when walking lunges come in.
Ahh yes, I can hear your leg muscles screaming already. You can do this consistentyle because you’re moving from side to side, bringing about maximum fat-loss.
I consider walking lunges to be the strength and stability version of running.
If your goal is to burn fat, end each workout with 10 minutes of walking lunges.
These will also make you a better runner, squatter, and jumper.
10. Box Thruster
If you’ve ever spoken with a CrossFitter (which, you would know because they would tell you they CrossFit as soon as you meet them), they’ve probably talked about this exercise.
This is a combination of a squat and an overhead press, thus working your whole body and spiking your heart rate.
One thing to keep in mind is that many people lack the proper technique to do these correctly… watch the video above to learn how to do these properly and you’ll save yourself from pain.
The easiest way to fix errors with box thrusters is to sit on a box or a bench. This will clean up your squat pattern without negatively effecting the calorie burn.
See if you can do it for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds… and rinse and repeat for 10 reps. Do this for 20 minutes for a terrific full-body workout.
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