By Edd Oldfield |
Bodybuilder and Personal Trainer
Before the article begins, it is very important to note that no matter what exercises are performed – no number of reps, sets, techniques etc, will get you ripped, lean or cut without your nutrition being on point, and specifically suited to your body.
Lean muscle tissue requires more energy (calories) to maintain – therefore it’s important the nourish the body with enough nutrients allow for effective muscle recovery and growth.
Eating enough to build muscle – whether you’re male or female – is the start of the journey to building and sculpting your dream physique. Of course, then follows the training!
The following question: is there a way in which we can optimise our training specifically for muscle building and burning unwanted fat?
More muscle >> more calories burned
When looking to put together an exercise program we need to include exercises that serve to build the most muscle possible – and for many bodybuilders – and gym goers – compound moves do just that!
Multiple-joint compound exercises are great for building serious mass, as they:
✓ Allow for the biggest poundage’s to be lifted.
✓ Involve stabilising the weight.
✓ Involve multiple muscle groups – rather than just working one muscle of one body part.
All these points make compound exercises perfect for building muscle and burning the most calories during your training session – which also means that they’re tougher than say, a weights machine.
And yes – multi-joint compound exercises also create a bigger calorie after training. This is known as the “after burn” – the correct term being EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption.) Essentially, post-weight training requires more energy to get the body back to its natural resting state.
This after burn effect has been to last up to 38 hours. Therefore, when you’re home hours after your weights session or even a day later, your body will naturally burn more calories at rest than you previously were. The more strenuous weight session the bigger the EPOC, so again this is why we include the hardest exercises possible.
Having looked at what weight training can do to increase calorie burning and fat loss. Some keen readers might have even guessed a few of them already. So without further ado, here are MY 5 favourite exercises to increase fat burning and why.
Exercise #1: Deadlifts
Some may think that performing the deadlift is a case of just picking the bar off the floor and putting it back down. This couldn’t be more wrong.
The deadlift works the posterior chain in its entirety. This means that everything from your hamstrings, glutes, lower/middle back and trapezius muscles will be getting punished creating a huge energy demand – which is great! However, it’s important to note that the deadlift should be performed with correct form to prevent any injuries.
As always, it is recommended to ask a fitness coach/personal trainer for assistance if you don’t have a spotter.
✓ Keep your lower back arched and flat – never rounded.
✓ Keep your glutes down and look to extend through your hips.
Read full: How To Perform The Deadlift
Exercise #2: Clean and Press
Anything that is essentially two exercises in one is going to burn more calories.
The clean and press combines the upright row and the shoulder press. This makes it great for the deltoids, trapezius muscles and triceps to create a great demand on the body.
✓ Involve the lower body and to increase the amount pressed
✓ Slightly bend the knees prior to the press and extend as you start to press.
Read full: How To Master The Clean and Press
Exercise #3: Squats
Squats involve all of the lower body muscles (quads, hamstrings and glutes) – they also work the core due to stabilising the weight on your back.
✓ Keep your weight on your heels.
✓ Never use a weight you cannot complete a rep to at least parallel with.
Read full: How To Perform The Barbell Back Squat
Exercise #4: Bench Press
This is only exercise I have picked that uses a bench and does not require you be standing.
However, it is a cornerstone for upper body development working the pectorals, deltoids and triceps. The muscle built after mastering a big bench press will allow for plenty more calories burnt at rest!
✓ Only very slightly arch your back, do not over arch as this can lead to severe injury.
✓ To make the bench press even harder, pause each rep on the pecs before extending up to take out all momentum.
Read full: How To Properly Bench Press
Exercise #5: Standing Military Press
Although the conventional seated military press is a great exercise, removing the seated element means once again means you are stabilising the weight even more – once again, promoting increased calorie burn.
NOTE: Do not press the same amount of weight as you can in the seated equivalent – the extra energy required standing makes this a much harder exercise.
✓ Standing version: place a barbell chest height on the squat rack to begin and then put on your desired weights.
✓ Grip should be shoulder width and underhand (pronated) – the barbell should rest on the collarbone to lift off the rack before stepping back with feet shoulder width apart.
✓ Make sure to lift arms and lock them out at shoulder level before inhaling and slowly lowering the bar back to your collarbone.
✓ Remember to fully exhale when returning to the starting position.
Take Home Message
Multi-joint compound exercises are great for building muscle and sculpting your physique due to the complexity in comparison to single-joint movements.
Just be sure to ask a Personal Trainer to show you these movements first if you’re still not 100% that you’ll be doing it right – a spotter would be perfect such big moves.
Have fun implementing these exercises!