“What’s the best exercise for fat loss?”. This is probably the most frequently asked question coaches receive from folks on a quest to burn fat. The truth is, there is no single exercise that is the best for fat loss. And besides, you’d be a fool not to factor diet and lifestyle choices like sleep and stress into your fat loss mission. However, lets assume you eat Fitter Food, your sleep is in check and you’re relatively chilled, we can then get talking about optimal training and body composition.
To a degree fat loss involves that simple mathematical equation of calories in versus calories out. To achieve your body composition goals it makes sense to maximize energy output in the gym but also outside of it too by boosting your basal metabolic rate with lean muscle so you that burn more calories at rest. “How do I achieve that?”, I hear you ask.
This is where my top 3 moves come into it. When helping clients with their fat loss goals I’m a huge fan of full body workouts based on 3 movements; a push, a pull and a squat. If a workout contains these 3 movements then you have a solid full body workout right there. Of course there are plenty of variations to all 3, which is awesome because it means you can include variety, whilst keeping it simple and get results.
I’m a huge fan of periodisation but I’m tired of seeing over complicated training plans where people have to be in the gym for 90 minutes. If you simply utilise the basics; a push, pull and squat, and do them well, you WILL succeed.
The reason this format works so well is because it calls upon big compound lifts such as the bench press, dumbbell presses, over head presses, deadlift variations, squat variations, pull ups, row variations etc. Exercises that demand work from multiple muscle groups at one time mean more energy is required to perform them, which results in more calories burnt. Winning combo, right?
How to create a program using the 3 moves?
A simple format I follow with clients is 2 triple sets based on the 3 moves, finished with an ab circuit or an isolation circuit. This means you perform 1 pushing movement followed immediately by a pulling movement followed by a squat based move, in whichever order you like. Only once the 3 moves have been performed back to back do you then rest. Complete the prescribed amount of sets and then move on to the next group of exercises.
Here are example routines:
|A1) Incline DB Press||8 – 10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|A2) Incline DB Rows||8 – 10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|A3) DB Split Squats||8 – 10 each leg||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B1) Alternating DB Shoulder Press||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B2) Lat Pull Downs||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B3) DB Squats||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|C1) Leg Lowers||10||3 – 4||45secs|
|C2) Knee to Opposite Elbow (press up position)||10 each side||3 – 4||45 secs|
|A1) DB Shoulder Press||10 – 12||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|A2) Bent over DB Rows||10 – 12||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|A3) Barbell Back Squats||10 – 12||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B1) Close grip Bench Press||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B2) Single Arm DB Rows||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B3) Step Ups||10 each leg||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|C1) Russian Twists||12 each side||3 – 4||45secs|
|C2) V Ups||12||3 – 4||45 secs|
|A1) Flat DB Press||8 – 10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|A2) Deadlifts||8 – 10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|A3) Renegade Rows||8 – 10 each side||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B1) DB Thrusters Press||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B2) Supinated Grip Barbell Rows||10||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|B3) Step Back Lunges||10 each leg||3 – 5||45 – 60secs|
|C1) Alternating Leg Lowers||10 each side||3 – 4||45secs|
|C2) Hips don’t dance||10 each side||3 – 4||45 secs|
This is a basic but effective layout that means all major muscle groups get plenty of attention, one particular muscle group does not get over worked, your calorie output will be high, metabolism will be raised for hours after the workout and your heart rate will be well and truly elevated. The short rest periods will test your metal, but as it’s a triple set will allow for enough rest to execute the next set. These workouts take less than an hour too, especially if you actually stick to the rest periods.
If you want to make your own up, here are some other options for push, pull and squat.
- Incline DB press
- Bench press
- Flat DB press
- Press ups
- Close grip press ups
- DB over head press
- Barbell overhead press
- Alternating DB shoulder press
- Alternating DB bench press
- Barbell or DB thrusters (combo of push and squat)
- Deadlift (combo of pull and squat)
- Barbell rows
- Lat pull downs
- Renegade rows
- T bar rows
- Supinated grip barbell rows
- Pull up variations
- Supinated grip lat pull down
- Barbell back squats
- Front squats
- DB squats
- Walking lunges
- Goblet squats
- Step ups
- Leg press
- Step back lunges
- Split squats
Another bonus is that a full body routine like this means you are working your legs 3 times a week and considering the legs as a whole (quads, hamstrings and glutes) are by far the biggest muscle group in the body, you will be burning some serious calories. If you add a little lean mass to your legs and bum then this will be music to your metabolisms ears!
So simply take your pick from each group and away you go. I have had clients build some great strength and pack on some quality muscle from full body training sessions. From a body composition point of view, full body workouts have not failed me yet. Due to the varied nature of the workouts, clients often find them more mentally stimulating and the intensity is very rewarding. This means they are more likely to stick to the plan and if any kind of training is going to be better for fat loss it’s one you can stick to, right?
So master those movements, aim to progress each week by either nailing an extra set, squeezing out some more reps, reducing rest or of course going heavier.
Our approach to training, nutrition and optimal health always emphasises the need for simplicity. The easier and more straight forward your programme, meal plan, supplement regime or stress management measures are, the more sustainable they are and the more they help you to turn healthy habits into a lifestyle. Fitter 365 is our awesome membership site packed with information and effective strategies to help you succeed in all your health goals with our expert team. The membership group is growing daily and proving to be an awesome place to hang out with tonnes of group support and daily banter.