The full-body exercise might just be the king of fat-busting workouts, and there are tons of variations that can keep you stuck in a continuous, ground-pounding loop.
That doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily the best exercise for everyone, though. Burpees consist of multiple movements (hip-hinge, plank, pushup, squat, and jump) that can take some time to master properly. If you have issues with any of the individual parts or in stringing them all together, you’re not going to get the fat torching benefits you’re looking to find.
You’re not out of luck if you can’t master the move, or if you just can’t stand the up-and-down monotony that comes with sets upon sets of burpees. Here are 16 tried and true workout moves that are proven fat burners.
1. Barbell Man Maker
Okay, I admit this move is kind of burpee-adjacent, but I’m going to include it anyway to start things off. It’s just that good.
Man makers take the same basic up-and-down form of the burpee, then adds a barbell press at the top of the movement. Check out this helpful explainer to nail the form.
Once you can toss up the bar with no problems, add the man maker to your workout with four sets of 10 reps, with a minute in between each.
2. Jumping Rope
If you think jump ropes are just for kids on the playground or boxers perfecting their rhythm, you don’t know skip. The most basic piece of equipment in the gym gives you a full body workout with a ton of fat burning potential.
Start off by perfecting your speed skipping form for short periods, two minutes at most. Keep your arms relatively still at your sides and rotate your wrists to spin the rope, and jump off the ground only high enough so that you clear the rope. Land as softly as possible on the balls of your feet, ready to spring up again on the next rotation.
Once you master the basics, there’s a whole world of jump rope moves and workouts open to you. Try out some high intensity interval (HIIT) routines with the rope and jump into even more fat torching benefits.
3. Med Ball Slams
Med ball slams are the perfect exercise for your crappiest days.
You’re not just burning fat here—burn away stress, anger, boredom, or whatever else is bothering you as you smash the ball into the ground as hard as humanly possible.
Use your entire body for the move, raising the ball above your head and rising up on your toes, then using your core, hips, and arms to slam it back down. Catch the ball as it bounces back to your chest and repeat.
Just make sure to keep your body under control, since there’s no need to make your day worse with bad form.
4. Goblet Squat
This is arguably the best way to squat, period.
Front-loading the weight allows you to keep your trunk more upright. This takes stress off your spine and works your thighs more.
Goblet squats are also safer to perform and more accessible than barbell squats, especially for higher-rep fat-loss training.
All you need is a dumbbell (easier) or a kettlebell (harder). Just stand and sit tall and repeat. These are great for high reps and really tax your shoulders and core.
One of my favorite ways to redline with this move is to do 10 reps per minute for 10 minutes straight while holding a weight that is at least half of your total body weight.
5. Barbell Muscle Snatch or Dumbbell Muscle Snatch
Olympic lifts train total-body power and really hammer the highly metabolic muscles on the backside of your body. But they are very technical and hard to learn.
Except for the muscle snatch.
This exercise, a modified version of the barbell snatch, is performed from a hang position with the bar at your knee or shin instead of on the floor. That decreases the range of motion and bypasses potential mobility problems.
Plus, by combining a high pull to overhead press, there is no catch, which is where most of the form issues manifest themselves.
Finally, 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.
Other Olympic variations require you to jump your feet out and squat down to catch the weight. This creates serious stability and mobility demands that you want to avoid when you’re in a state of high fatigue.
I like to do these with either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. You may want to practice the move without load on the bar first to find your rhythm, then slowly load it up. Sets of 10 to 20 reps or work periods of two to three minutes are deadly to body fat.
6. Dumbbell Skier Swing or Alternating Kettlebell Swing
The swing has been shown to improve fitness and help you lose fat as much as running does, without all the joint stress that comes with pounding the pavement.
Plus, it actually builds muscle, stimulates metabolism, and works the posterior chain. Most guys really need more meat on their back, hamstrings, and glutes—and the swing can deliver on that.
If you’re using dumbbells, I recommend the skier swing.
It requires your feet to be closer together so that the weights don’t hit your thighs. This, in turn, forces you to move more at the hips and less at the knees, which is what you want from a swing because it’s an explosive hip-hinge.
If you’re using kettlebells, I love the alternating hand swing.
Moving from hand to hand allows you to swing more continuously and for longer, which is great for fat loss.
Plus, loading one side of your body at a time works your core more and unloads your spine. Many people who have back issues prefer this style of swinging because it allows for a slight degree of rotation that unloads your spine.
My favorite 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
You can also plug this into a total-body circuit as a hip-dominant or cardio move.
7. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk
Walking is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy body weight for the long haul and it’s something you hope to be able to do until the day you die.
It provides a continuous, low-impact calorie burn and it doesn’t require a lot of coaching. Now add some weight to that walk, and that bump in intensity will build muscle and burn fat everywhere.
However, I prefer the one-arm option because you can work continuously by switching from hand to hand when you fatigue. Plus, it’s better for strengthening your spinal and hip stabilizers.
I also like to mix in level changes, going from overhead to chest level to hip level, which is in order of difficulty from a stability standpoint.
Sets of one to two minutes at a time are great for fat loss. I’ll even go for 10 minutes straight to finish off a workout, resting only when needed.