Training

The 12 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

So, you think you can’t achieve weight loss without going to the gym…or can you? For the large majority of us out there, shifting a bit of weight is all we want, so let’s clear this up. We can make progress on our weight loss goals by exercising from the comfort of your own home.

We’re focusing on high-intensity interval training or HIIT, which involves short bursts of intense exercise, alternated with low-intensity recovery periods. It’s all about the intensity — and I mean HIGH INTENSITY!

Bodyweight squats and delicate little jumping jacks, performed for an entire minute, don’t count as high-intensity as it won’t stimulate that all-important boost to your metabolism that you need to burn through those calories.

We’ll be taking you through a mix of full-, upper- and lower-body exercises, that are perfect for weight loss at home. You can also mix and match exercises creating your own workouts. If you’re ready to go, let’s get started.

 

Full Body Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

Some of the more challenging exercises can prove a force to be reckoned with, but these four are well worth the effort,  helping you burn calories and condition every muscle on your hit list. These can be grouped together as a collective set or mixed in with lower- and upper-body exercises for variety.

 

1. Burpees

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds 

  1. Bend your knees (not your back) and place your hands on the floor
  2. Jump or walk your feet backwards into a full plank position
  3. Drop your chest to the floor
  4. Press back to full plank position and jump your feet inwards
  5. Drive into the floor hard and jump as high as you can
  6. Bend your knees upon landing and begin the next rep immediately

Regression – Step your feet out and in, and keep your knees down during the press. If the jumps have got you reaching for the sick bucket, remove step 5 and work to your own limits.

 

2. Bear Crawl

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds 

  1. Start with your hands under your shoulders and your knees roughly 3 inches away from the floor, directly under your hips
  2. Move your left hand and right foot forward together just a short distance and then repeat for the opposite side
  3. With every step forward or backwards, you should focus on fully engaging your abs to prevent your hips from twisting
  4. Remember to keep breathing throughout this movement

Regression – If you start to struggle, come down onto your knees for a moment before you start your next rep.

 

3. Mountain Climbers

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Start in a full plank position (hands under your shoulders and legs extended with your knees off the floor)
  2. Keeping your body weight forward over your arms, bring one knee towards the gap between your elbows
  3. Return your leg and repeat with the opposite side
  4. You’re aiming to do this at speed but maintain technique

Regression – Simply perform this exercise slower to reduce intensity.

 

4. Sit Through

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds 

  1. Start with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips and roughly 3 inches off the floor (the same as with a bear crawl)
  2. Lift your left hand from the floor and simultaneously bring your right leg through and under your body
  3. Your hip should be just a couple of inches from the floor in the finish position

Regression – Keep both hands on the floor for added stability and shorten your range of movement.

 

Lower Body Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

The lower body is home to some of the biggest muscle groups we have. Training these will help stimulate great calorie-burning. Here, we will firm up those thighs, build up some glutes and push the heart rate through the roof!

 

5. Squat Jump

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider (whichever feels more comfortable)
  2. Squat so that your thighs are parallel with the floor or until you can’t squat any lower without bending at your lower back
  3. From the bottom of the squat stand with the greatest force you can and drive your feet off the floor
  4. Lift your chest and keep your eyes pointing forwards
  5. On landing, bend your knees to absorb the impact and begin your next rep straight away

Regression – Remove the jump and just perform a bodyweight squat.

 

6. Skaters

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and a slight hinge at the hip
  2. Jump to the left by pushing from your right foot and leading with your left (your right foot should be the driving force)
  3. Land on your left foot and bend your knee to absorb the impact (try to keep you right foot off the floor)
  4. Repeat on the opposite side

Regression – Let both feet touch the floor in between reps but still try to drive from one foot only.

 

7. Burpee Thruster

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Bend your knees (not your back) and place your hands on the floor
  2. Jump or walk your feet back into a full plank position
  3. Jump your feet back in and simultaneously drive off your hands and land in a squat position
  4. In the squat position, you should lift your chest, aim to have your back straight and your thighs parallel with the floor

Regression – Step your feet in and out to reduce the intensity.

 

8. High Knees

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. You are simply running on the spot but aiming to lift your knees to the height of your hip
  2. Keep the amount of time your foot is in contact with the floor to a minimum
  3. Use your arms to help build a strong and powerful rhythm

Regression – Slow your speed and lower the height to which you lift your knees to reduce the intensity of this movement.

 

Upper Body Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

 

It is absolutely possible to have an upper-body focused exercise that builds intensity and elevates your heart rate enough to cut through some calories. For maximum effect, try mixing one or two of these into your full body- and lower body workouts.

 

9. Plank Walks

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Start in a full plank position with your feet roughly hip-width apart
  2. Drop your right elbow towards the floor, followed by your left-.
  3. Suck in your belly button and squeeze your abs to minimize the twisting of your hips (they should remain pointing downwards throughout this movement)
  4. Return your hands starting with your right then the left
  5. Repeat this movement but alternate the arm you move first after each repetition

Regression – Widen your feet to add more stability.

 

10. Inchworm with Jump

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. From standing with a slight bend your knees, place your hands on the floor and walk them out into a full plank position
  2. Engage your abs, in the same way you have done for the Plank Walks, to prevent your hips from dropping below shoulder height
  3. Push back through your hands, ideally with only a small bend in the knee (you can bend them more should you need to)
  4. When you reach standing, bend your knees and perform a single squat jump
  5. On landing, make sure you have bent knees to absorb the impact

Regression – If flexibility is an issue, bend your knees more when reaching to and from the floor. To reduce intensity, remove the jump.

 

11. T Press Up

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Hands just outside your shoulders with your abs engaged (make sure you are not arching your lower back and dropping your hips)
  2. Lower your chest so your shoulders are in line with your elbows or slightly lower
  3. Think about the distance your chest travels, not your face. Resist the urge that we all seem to have, to move your head like a pigeon on each rep – you know what I’m talking about!
  4. Return to the starting position by pushing through the heel of your hand and actively thinking about squeezing your chest
  5. At the top, rotate your entire body to face the wall and simultaneously lift the arm on the same side as your rotation
  6. In this side plank position, allow your ankles to touch the floor (remember, full rotation)

Regression – Either remove the rotation or the press up to reduce the difficulty of this exercise.

 

12. Dive Bomber Press-Up

Sets: 3 – 4 | Reps: As many as possible within 30 seconds

  1. Start with your hands and feet hip- to shoulder-width apart and your hips elevated into a pike position
  2. Lower your chest towards your hands by bending your elbows
  3. Your chest should pass through your arms as close to your hands as possible
  4. Your hips should follow the upper body and finish just above the ground
  5. Reach the finish position by straightening your arms and lifting your chest
  6. To return to the starting position, lower your chest back down and push your hips up into a pike whilst pushing through your arms

Regression – This is an advanced exercise, so don’t feel disheartened if you can’t get this right. If you struggle, you can just perform a traditional press up. For something slightly more challenging, try a shoulder press up (also in the video)

 

Take Home Message

It doesn’t matter what your ability level is within a fitness environment, there are ways and means to challenge yourself at home with minimal or no equipment. You don’t need to feel the pressure of others’ judgments on what your workout consists of.

Train in the comfort of your own home or familiar surroundings such as your local park and still make some fantastic headway on achieving your goals whether it’s weight loss, conditioning or just good health. The one thing you need to do is simply work as hard as you possibly can within those 30 seconds.

I recommend trying one full-body, lower- and upper-body at your maximum effort and speed whilst maintaining perfect technique. Go for time rather than reps, your aim is to get as many reps as you can in the suggested timeframe.



Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths

Writer and expert


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