5 Belly Fat-Burning Strength Exercises

| Fitness

Strength training is the best thing you can do for weight loss — and the reasons for that are as endless as the buckets you’ll sweat. For starters, resistance training burns tons of calories by creating an “after burn” effect post-workout. It also boosts your body’s lean muscle mass, which acts as a 24/7 metabolic furnace, says trainer Holly Perkins, C.S.C.S., author of "Lift to Get Lean". Boo-yah! Women's Health explains below.


In one Harvard study, researchers found that minute-per-minute, strength training kicks cardio’s keister in the fight against belly fat — settling the cardio vs strength training battle for good.

But while bicep curls are nice and all, they're probably not the best choice if you're looking to burn lots of calories, says Perkins. After all, the more muscle fibers you engage, the harder your body has to work — and the more metabolism-revving strength you’ll build.

Here, Perkins ranks her five favorite strength moves to torch body fat — and score you some total-body definition. Cha-ching!

1. Barbell Deadlifts: “This is the mack daddy of strength moves for fat loss,” says Perkins. “It literally involves every single muscle in the body for huge metabolic effects.”

Burn it up: Grab a barbell (start with a 35-pound pre-loaded barbell or a 45-pound Olympic barbell, if you're new to deadlifts) and stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Position the barbell in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body (A). Maintaining a neutral spine, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower the barbell toward the floor. Push through your feet and squeeze your glutes to return to standing (B). That's one rep.

women's health barbell deadlift
(Photo: Women's Health)

2. Barbell Squat: The LBD of the gym, squats do it all. But, if you usually perform squats with the weight in front of your chest, like with a dumbbell or kettlebell, it’s worth switching things up. When the weight is loaded across your upper back and shoulders, you put a greater emphasis on the almighty glutes. Your glutes are the biggest muscle group in the body, so working them is an awesome way to crank up your metabolic burn, she says.

Burn it up: At a squat rack, stand under a barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. (Start with a 35-pound pre-loaded barbell or a 45-pound Olympic barbell if you’re new to barbell squats.) Grab the barbell with both hands and lift up on the bar to remove it from the rack. It should rest across your upper shoulder, just below the base of your neck. That’s the starting position (A). Now, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can (it should feel hard, but not hurt) (B). Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position.

women's health barbell squat
(Photo: Women's Health)

3. Reverse-Grip Pulldown: While chin-ups will accomplish the same thing — working virtually every muscle in your back, shoulders, and arms, as well as those deep in your core — not every woman is ready to start cranking those out on a whim, says Perkins. Either way, reverse-grip pulldowns will burn fat and help you work up to the real deal.

Burn it up: Sit at a lat-pulldown station and grab the bar with a shoulder-width underhand grip, palms facing you. Your arms should be straight and torso upright (A). Keeping your torso still, squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull the bar down to your collarbones (B). Pause, then slowly return to start. That’s one rep.

women's health reverse grip pulldown
(Photo: Women's Health)

To see the rest of the fat-burning strength exercises, click here to see the original post from Women's Health.