3 Explosive Bodyweight Exercises that Will Burn Body Fat
While doing strength training alone will boost your metabolism as it helps you build muscle mass, most strength training exercises don’t burn near as many calories as cardio/aerobic workouts like running or swimming. However, there are a few strength exercises that you can do that will burn calories and fat while you build muscle.
The secret to burning calories while increasing strength is simple — your movements must be explosive and continuous. Here are 3 explosive bodyweight moves you can use to build muscle and cut fat at the same time!
- Tuck Jump
This exercise is pretty much what it sounds like: you’ll simply jump from a standing position and tuck your knees into your body while in the air. However, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Here are some tips on how to do this exercise safely and for maximum benefit.
- Start standing with back straight, core engaged, and knees slightly bent. Keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle with your elbows near your waist.
- Dip into a half-squat position (bent knees, leaning slightly forward while keeping back straight and head up) before jumping.
- When you jump, keep your head locked in place, looking straight ahead, so as to protect your neck muscles from sudden movements.
- Tuck your legs into your body, trying to get your knees between your elbows (or as close as you can based on your current shape and ability). Then let your legs spring back down and land.
- Land softly by touching the floor with your forefoot first, and not your heels.
If you’re just starting to exercise, doing five to ten of these at a time may prove challenging. If you’re an experienced athlete, doing more reps will increase the benefit of the exercise.
With this and other explosive bodyweight exercises, though, maintaining proper form is very important. Do the exercise slowly at first if you need to in order to get your form right, and if you feel your form slipping as your muscles get tired, it’s a sign you should stop and rest.
To keep the heart rate up and the benefits going, go immediately into another set of strength exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, etc.) once you’ve finished a set of tuck jumps, then start on your next set of tuck jumps. Doing several sets of exercises in this manner will result in both more calories being burned and more muscle being built.
2. Plank Straddle Hop
This exercise targets your legs, arms, and core at the same time, and because of the constant and varied motion should boost your heart rate quite a bit. It can also challenge your flexibility—but be sure to warm up before exercising so you don’t injure a muscle!
- Start in a plank position (like a push-up position, but with arms bent at the elbow and forearms supporting you as well as your hands) with feet hip-width apart.
- Hop feet out into a wide V shape, and then hop them back to your starting position.
- Straighten your arms and press your palms into the floor—sort of a half-push-up.
- Lower your arms back to start position and repeat exercise.
Once you’ve gotten the exercise down, do it quickly to boost its calorie burning benefit. Challenge yourself and have fun by trying to do the most you possibly can in a minute!
The burpee is a classic explosive strength workout. It’s so popular because it works every muscle group in the body, and because it is simple enough for beginners and challenging enough for experienced athletes. Here’s how you do it:
- Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Then squat and touch your hands to the ground.
- Kick your legs backward from under your body and land on your toes, keeping your hands firmly on the ground. You should now be in a push-up position.
- Do a push-up.
- Kick your legs forward now, returning to a squat position. Take your hands off the ground and jump as you push yourself up with your legs.
- Clap your hands together above your head while in the air, and then land softly.
Note: If kicking your legs back or forward is too uncomfortable or difficult for you at this point, you can also walk your legs from one position to the next. Be sure to walk as quickly as you can, though, to keep your heart rate elevated!
Adding a burpee or any of these other explosive exercises into a circuit workout routine is a great way to boost your heart rate and burn fat while getting stronger. Be sure to rest for a day after doing these types of exercises—your muscles rebuild themselves stronger and larger during resting periods, and your resting metabolism will be elevated for at least a few hours after you finish working out.