Seven Best Weight Lifting Exercises For Fat Loss

There are many benefits to strength training workouts – not just for increasing muscle size (if that’s your goal) and strength – but also for losing fat. In fact, incorporating strength training routines into your workouts can increase your metabolic rate by around 18 per cent for up to 24 hours afterwards, meaning your body will continue to burn fat long after you leave the gym. I’ve written more on the benefits of weight lifting and weight loss in a previous article.

If you’re looking to add weight lifting to your workout routine to help burn fat, then here are, what I consider to be, the seven best weight lifting exercises for fat loss.

The Seven Best Weightlifting Exercises For Fat Loss (in my opinion!)

1. The Deadlift

A man performing a barbell deadlift

The deadlift is the best way to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace. The key when starting out is to make sure that you are starting with a weight that is manageable and that you can perform between eight to ten reps with good form. Then, as your strength and stamina begins to increase, you can level up by adding more weight.

This deadlift is one of the best compound exercises you can do because it works multiple muscle groups which, in turn, helps burn more calories with every set.

How to perform:

  • Stand behind a barbell and position your feet just underneath
  • Bend your knees slightly until your shin touches the barbell.
  • Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip and, using your hips as the pivot point, pull the barbell upwards, slowly straightening your legs – try and engage the glutes as much as possible to help pull the bar up.
  • Hold here for a count of one and then gradually lower the weight back to the floor before beginning your next rep.
  • Repeat for between 8-10 reps to complete the set.

2. Barbell Bench Press

A person performing the barbell bench press


The barbell bench press is another great compound movement that targets your upper body including your chest, shoulders and arms.

How to perform:

  • Lay down on the bench, setting both feet firmly on the ground
  • Take up your position under the barbell and arch your back
  • Keep your arms around shoulder width apart and grab the barbell with an overhand grip
  • Take a deep breath and unrack the barbell
  • Breathe in and lower the barbell slowly towards you until it almost touches the middle of your chest
  • Try and hold for a second while squeezing the pectoral muscles before you push the barbell back to the starting position while breathing out
  • Repeat for between 6-8 reps to complete the set.

3. Barbell Lunge

A man performing the barbell lunge in an outside concreted area

The barbell lunge will really get your heart pumping and burn calories. This exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps while giving you an intense cardiovascular workout to boot.

How to perform:

  • Choose an appropriate weight and load up the barbell. If you’re going heavy then you should use a rack which allows you to rest the barbell at just below shoulder height, allowing you to step under and lift the weight off the rack to perform the reps
  • Place the barbell across your back
  • Step forward with your right foot and perform a forward lunge
  • Drive yourself back up utilising the glutes and keeping the core engaged. Repeat with the other leg until you have performed between 12-15 reps.

4. Bent Over Rows

A man performing bent over rows with a barbell

The bent-over row is another compound lift that activates your shoulders, arms and lower back.

How to perform:

  • Grab a barbell with both hands and hold it shoulder-width apart
  • Keeping your back straight and engaging your core, bend your knees and hinge at the hip to around a 45 degree angle.
  • Pull the barbell up towards your chest, hold for a second and then slowly lower back to the starting position
  • Repeat for between 12-12 reps to complete the set.

5. Barbell Squats

A man performing squats with a barbell over his shoulders


Squats are another great exercise at getting the heart pumping as you utilise multiple muscles to perform big powerful movements. If you usually use a leg press in favour of a barbell then you may want to switch it up. You’ll be burning far more calories using a free weight – and more calories burnt means more fat loss over time!

How to perform:

  • Stand with your feet at slightly more than shoulder-width apart and position the barbell across your back. Again, it’s best to use a rack to load up the weights and position yourself underneath the bar to begin the set
  • Engage your glutes and hamstrings and core and lower your body, hinging at the hips and bending the knees until your hips are at around 90 degrees. Make sure to keep your head up and your back straight
  • At the bottom of the rep, pause for a second before pushing the weight back up by driving your heels into the floor and straightening your legs until you are back to the starting position
  • Repeat for around 8-10 reps to complete the set.

6. Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat

A man performing barbell split squats with one foot resting on a weight bench

Training one leg at a time helps in stabilizing muscles and also helps with maximizing your fat-burning potential. Although you are training the longest muscle group with this exercise, it hotwires your metabolism and is perfect for helping your body prime itself for fat loss and strip away fat.

How to perform it:

  • Stand facing away from the bench
  • Hold the barbell across your upper back
  • Rest your one leg on the bench behind you
  • Perform a squat with your standing leg until the knee of the resting leg almost touches the floor
  • Push your front foot to return to the starting position
  • Repeat for around 8-10 reps to complete the set.

7. Barbell Rollouts

Two images of someone performing a barbell rollout on the floor

The barbell rollout targets your core muscles, namely the abs and obliques, pelvic floor and glutes to name a few and is great for working on core stability.

How to perform:

  • Load a barbell with around 10kg plates
  • Kneel down on the floor and grab the bar with your hands in an overhand position at around shoulder-width apart
  • Position your shoulders straight over the barbell and slowly roll the bar forward, keeping your core engaged and your back straight until you are almost parallel with the floor
  • Pause for a second or two and then reverse the move back up to the start position
  • Repeat for around 8-10 reps to complete the set.

Ready To Fire Up Your Metabolism Into Overdrive?

A workout plan that includes both cardio and weights is the optimal way to help lose fat and trigger fat loss. Although cardio will help you to burn more calories than lifting weights in a single workout, your metabolism may stay elevated for longer after weight lifting than cardio alone, and if you are trying to build muscle at the same time then a combination of the two is ideal.

Try to incorporate at least some of these seven best weight lifting exercises for fat loss in your routine and let me know how you get on. Keep me updated in the comments below!


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