Lifting weights and performing full-body, compound movements create a strong hormonal response, and this often results in fat loss. As a warning, there are some side effects that come from strength training, though. These include, but are not limited to, a tighter physique, a more defined body and faster metabolism.
How do those sound?
Planks1 of 10
Get into a plank position with your elbows and wrists directly under your shoulders. Engage your core—imagine bracing it like you're expecting a punch. Squeeze your glutes and quads and breathe normally.
Coaching Tips: If you're just starting out, try dropping your knees to the ground and progress to the full plank when you feel ready. You should never compromise form here, and you should not feel strain in your lower back.
Benefits: Abs, back, legs and arms—this exercise works several muscle groups. Anti-flexion and anti-rotation exercises such as planks are great for all-around core stability.
Push-Ups2 of 10
Get into a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and your body is in a straight line. Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the movement.
Coaching Tips: Think about lowering your body like a block of wood. Everything goes down together. If you struggle with standard push-ups, try wall push-ups or the modified version.
Benefits: Push-ups work several muscles (arms, chest, core and more) and they're a functional exercise, meaning they mimic movements of everyday life.
Band-Assisted Pull-Ups3 of 10
Hang from a pull-up bar with your feet in a resistance band. Relax your shoulders and pull your belly in toward your spine. Slowly pull yourself up to the bar. Hold for a count and take 2 to 4 seconds to lower yourself back down with control. Ensure your muscles—not the band—are doing most of the work.
Coaching Tips: Pause for 1 to 2 seconds in the bottom position. By doing so, you'll avoid bouncing and using the momentum of the band. Begin with a band that offers 75 to 100 pounds of assistance. Progress by using bands with lighter resistance, and eventually strive for unassisted pull-ups.
Benefits: The band provides assistance, but allows you to use your entire body. Assisted pull-up machines aren't as beneficial because you're not forced to engage your core or use balance.
Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Shoulder Presses4 of 10
Begin in a half-kneeling position with one dumbbell or kettlebell in the rack position by the shoulder. The hips and knees should form a 90-degree angle. Try to maintain a neutral pelvis and a tall spine.
Inhale and engage your core. Press the weight overhead by extending your elbow. Your arm should end in line with your ear. Once the weight is overhead, engage the opposite glute to avoid arching your back. Return the weight back to the starting position with control.
Coaching Tips: Think about staying solid throughout your trunk and hips. The only things that should be moving are your arms. If you master this movement, try a more advanced position, such as standing or split-stance.
Benefits: This exercise improves stability and control. It improves balance, and it's one of the most efficient positions to stabilize the trunk, strengthen the back and engage the core.
Kettlebell Swings5 of 10
Stand with a kettlebell in your hands. Push your hips back and squat down until the weight drops back between your legs. Push your forearms up against your inner thighs so the kettlebell extends out behind you.
Flick the kettlebell back between your legs—this is the only time you should use your arms to move the weight. To come back up, you will simultaneously squat up and thrust your pelvis forward. Squeeze your glutes and keep your core engaged.
Coaching Tips: You almost want to feel like you are doing a crunch with your abs at the top of the movement. Avoid rounding the back.
Benefits: Swings are one of the best exercises for developing posterior chain strength using your hamstrings, glutes, back and core. It's a functional exercise, rather than an isolation exercise, meaning your whole body has to work together. This exercise shocks the metabolic system, turning your body into a fat-burning machine.
Barbell Glute Bridges6 of 10
Lie on your back with your knees bent at about 45 degrees. Bring your feet in as close to your butt as possible. Place the barbell across your pelvis, directly below your hip bones. Use a barbell pad or towel if the weight is uncomfortable.
Grab the bar to hold it in place. Tighten your core, contract your glutes and hamstrings, and powerfully thrust your hips upward.
Barbell Glute Bridges Part 27 of 10
Squeeze your glutes as hard as possible on the way up. Your back should be firmly off the ground, and your body should form a flat bridge between your knees and shoulders. Hold the bridge at the top of the movement for a count. Slowly return to the bottom and repeat.
Coaching Tips: Don't hyperextend your back at the top. Keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine. Make sure you're driving straight up through your heels. If you're just starting out, try bodyweight bridges.
Benefits: Bridges are one of the most underrated exercises for working the posterior chain. The bridge isolates and strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, core, hips and lower back, and it also improves spinal stabilization.
Goblet Squats8 of 10
Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against the middle of your chest. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly pointed out. With your weight on your heels, push your hips back and toward the floor as you squat down. Your hips should move before your knees bend.
Keep your chest up and think about wedging your elbows inside your knees at the bottom position. If you can't reach your knees, focus on pushing your knees apart. Pause for 1 to 2 seconds at the bottom and drive through your heels as you return to the starting position.
Coaching Tips: Use your elbows against your knees as a fulcrum to pull your chest up and forward, and keep your spine flat.
Benefits: The weight is anteriorly placed, forcing you to engage your core to stay upright. It will challenge your upper body almost as much as the lower. The position of the weight encourages you to squat with a tall spine and controlled mobility.