When it comes to the best exercises for losing weight, you can't go wrong with compounds. Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and because they hit more muscle fibers and are generally more demanding, they burn more calories. Compounds should be the foundation of every woman's program, claims trainer Rachel Cosgrove, co-founder of Results Fitness. So hop off the treadmill and step away from the bike, compound exercises are the way forward in your weight loss quest.
Compound exercises certainly give you the most bang for your buck. Take for instance a biceps curl and an assisted chinup. Both hit your biceps, but chinups also work your forearms, upper back, lats and core, making chinups far more efficient and effective for weight loss. Make squats, lunges and deadlifts the basis of your leg training and perform pushups, dumbbell or barbell presses, rows, chinups, dips and pulldowns for your upper body.
Schedule, Sets and Reps
Make your workout even more effective by training your whole body in every session. This increases the calorie burn and metabolism boost, notes Cosgrove. Don't get caught up with higher reps being better for weight loss. According to female bodybuilder and trainer Katie Lobliner, sets of one to five reps are best for strength gains, six to 12 for muscle growth and above 12 for muscular endurance. The main thing to ensure though is that your weights are heavy enough to be challenging. The harder you work, the more calories you burn, so don't be afraid to slap a few extra plates on the bar.
The Cardio Factor
If you're still hung up on cardio and struggling to make the transition to weight training, try metabolic training. Metabolic workouts combine weight training and high intensity cardio, making them one of the best training methods around for weight loss, according to strength coach Jen Comas Keck. Choose four compound exercises that between them hit your whole body and perform a set of each with no rest in between. Rest two to three minutes then go again twice more. You can either aim for a total number of reps on each exercise, or perform each exercise for a set amount of time.
You should be able to fit five or six exercises into each compound weight loss workout. Any more than this isn't necessarily better, it just means you need to push yourself more with the others. Each session aim to use slightly more weight or increase your sets and reps. Start with two sessions a week for the first month, then bump this up to three in month two. If you're still feeling good and want to accelerate progress even further, continue with a session every other day.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.