When it comes to burning calories and developing full-body strength, bodyweight training is a versatile and effective option. Not only do they require minimal equipment, but they also engage multiple muscle groups at the same time, resulting in increased calorie burning. These are the five bodyweight exercises that burn the most calories and improve overall fitness that I always recommend to clients.
Incorporating these bodyweight routines into your fitness routine will not only help you shed calories, but also improve your overall strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health. Remember to perform each exercise with proper form and gradually increase the intensity as your fitness level improves. Whether you’re pressed for time or prefer simple bodyweight exercises, these exercises are sure to produce results and keep your calorie burn at its peak.
Keep reading for the best bodyweight exercises that burn the most calories. And when you’re done, be sure to watch the 69-year-old fitness trainer share six exercises that keep her looking half her age.
Exercise 1: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is known for its ability to maximize calorie burning in a short period of time. The combination of intense exercise and short rest periods keeps your heart rate elevated, leading to an afterburn effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where your body continues to burn calories even after exercise.
Do each exercise for 30 seconds and rest 15 seconds between exercises. Complete three rounds.
1. Jump squat
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lower into a squat position, keeping your back straight. Jump up explosively and extend your arms above your head. Land softly and immediately move into the next squat.
Start from a standing position. Drop into a squat position and place your hands on the ground. Kick your legs back into a plank position. Perform a push-up, then jump your legs back into a squat position. Explode into a jump and extend your arms overhead.
3. Mountain climbers
Start in a plank position. Bring the other knee toward your chest, then quickly switch legs. Keep a quick, alternating motion, engaging the core.
4. Plank legs
Start in a plank position. Jump with your feet wide and then back to the starting position. Maintain a strong core at all times.
Exercise #2: Tabata
Tabata is another high-intensity workout that alternates between short periods of intense exercise and short periods of rest. This method not only increases cardiovascular fitness, but also speeds up calorie burning by increasing the intensity of each movement.
Do each exercise for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Complete four rounds.
1. Jump Lunges
Start in lunge position. Jump up and switch legs in the air. Land softly and immediately move to the next jump.
Start in a plank position. Lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows. Push back up to starting position.
3. Bicycle crunch
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Bring the other knee towards your chest as you rotate your body. Turn pages in a cycling shop.
4. Planks for squats
Start in a plank position. Jump your feet forward, lower into a squat position. Jump back into plank position.
Exercise #3: Circuit Training
Circuit training combines strength and cardio exercises in quick succession, keeping your heart rate high for a long time. This constant movement targets multiple muscle groups, resulting in a higher calorie burn.
Perform each exercise for one minute with as little rest as possible between exercises. Complete three rounds.
1. Jumping Jacks
Start with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump, spread your legs and raise your hands above your head. Jump back to the starting position.
2. Bodyweight squats
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lower your body into a squat position. Stand up and engage your glutes.
3. Pushups on side planks
Perform a standard push-up. Twist into a side plank, raising one arm toward the ceiling. Return to the push-up position and repeat on the other side.
4. Jump rope
Use an imaginary rope or a real jump rope. Bring the rope over your head and jump over it to your feet. Jump rope for one minute.
Exercise #4: Whole Body Metabolic Therapy
Metabolic training focuses on complex movements that engage several muscle groups and cause a significant calorie burn. This type of exercise not only improves cardiovascular health, but also increases overall strength and endurance.
Do each exercise for 45 seconds and rest 15 seconds between exercises. Complete three rounds.
1. Box Jumps
Stand in front of a sturdy box or platform. Jump into the box and land with both feet. Step back down and immediately go to the next jump.
2. Bodyweight Renegade rows
Start in a plank position. Row your fist against your hip while stabilizing your core. Turn the pages with a controlled movement.
3. Lifting the chin
Find the horizontal bar. Jump and pull your chin over the bar. Put yourself down in control.
4. Russian reversals
Sit on the ground with your knees bent. Lean back slightly and twist your body, touching the ground on both sides. Repeat.
Exercise #5: Cardio Blast
This high-intensity cardio workout includes explosive movements that will raise your heart rate and maximize calorie burn.
Do each exercise for 30 seconds and rest 15 seconds between exercises. Complete four rounds.
1. Sprint in place
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your knees as high as possible while sprinting in place.
2. Tuck Jumps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Jump up, bring your knees to your chest.
3. Fast feet
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Tap your feet in a quick running motion while staying down.
4. Power Pushups
Start in a plank position. Perform an explosive push-up by lifting your arms off the ground at the top of the movement.
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