Shed the extra kilos with these 10 strength training exercises for weight loss

If you are trying to lose weight, you cannot skip strength training! Here are the 10 best strength training exercises for weight loss and burn calories effectively.
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Try these strength training exercises for weight loss! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock.
Aayushi Gupta Published: 30 Jun 2024, 08:59 am IST
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When it comes to dropping those extra kilos, we often hear about the benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and cardio workouts. But let us not forget about strength training! When you do strength training, you are not just getting stronger, your metabolism kicks into high gear, helping you burn more calories. Plus, the more muscle you build, the more energy your body needs, which helps with long-term weight loss. And the best part? You are not just losing weight, you are keeping that muscle you worked hard for, so you look toned and fit. So, do not neglect the benefits of strength training exercises for weight loss!

What is strength training?

Strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training, involves performing exercises that help improve strength and endurance. It typically includes lifting weights, using resistance bands, or using body weight as resistance. “While the primary goal is to overload muscles, strength training also helps improve bone density, boost metabolism, and enhance quality of life,” says health and fat loss coach Jashan Vij. It is important to perform exercises with proper technique to minimise injury risk and maximise benefits!

Strength training for weight loss: Can it help?

Weight loss happens when you consume fewer calories and burn more. In this, strength training can be a great workout to follow to burn calories! “It increases muscle mass, which boosts the resting metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories throughout the day even at rest,” explains Vij.

Moreover, strength training helps preserve lean body mass while losing weight, ensuring that the weight loss comes primarily from fat loss rather than muscle loss. So, if you pair strength training with a calorie-deficit diet, you may lose weight. A study published by Obesity Reviews also notes the positive effects of strength training on adults who are overweight or obese.

Also Read: 12 fat-burning exercises for weight loss

A woman doing incline push-ups
Strength training exercises can help you lose weight. Image courtesy: Freepik

10 strength training exercises for weight loss

Here are 10 best strength training exercises which can help you lose weight and burn more calories:

1. Squats with a medicine ball

A squat is a strength exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. They are excellent for burning calories and improving lower body strength and stability.

How to do squats:

  • Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest with both hands.
  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned.
  • Engage your core, keep your chest upright, and lower your hips back and down as if sitting into a chair.
  • Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground or slightly below.
  • Press through your heels to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

2. Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a foundational strength-training exercise that primarily targets the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. They are effective for strengthening muscles and improving posture.

How to do deadlifts:

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  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes under the barbell.
  • Hinge at your hips, keep your back straight and chest up, and grip the barbell or dumbbells outside your legs.
  • Lift the barbell by straightening your hips and knees, keeping it close to your body.
  • Lower the barbell back to the floor, returning to the starting position.
  • Perform 8-12 repetitions for 2-3 sets, ensuring proper form and control throughout.
deadlift
Deadlift targets several muscle groups in your body. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Reverse lunges

Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They improve balance, coordination, and lower body strength.

How to do lunges:

  • Stand tall with feet together and engage your core.
  • Step backward with your right leg, lowering your hip until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your front knee aligned with your ankle and your back knee just above the ground.
  • Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.
  • Alternate legs and perform 10-12 repetitions per leg for 2-3 sets.

Also read: Walking lunges: Know how to do it correctly and its 6 benefits

4. Push-ups

Push-ups are effective for strengthening the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. They also improve upper body endurance and balance.

How to do push-ups:

  • Start in a plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Push through your palms to straighten your arms and return to the starting position.
  • Perform as many repetitions as possible with proper form, aiming for 2-3 sets.
push ups
Try push-ups to lose weight. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Pull-ups

Pull-ups target the back, biceps, and shoulders, promoting upper body strength and muscle mass. If you are unable to perform a full pull-up, you can also take the help of someone to perform this exercise.

How to do pull-ups:

  • Grip an overhead bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Hang with your arms fully extended, engaging your core.
  • Pull your body up until your chin clears the bar.
  • Lower yourself back down with control.
  • Perform 5-10 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

6. Dumbbell rows

Dumbbell rows strengthen the upper back, lats, and biceps. They improve posture and enhance pulling strength.

How to do dumbbell rows:

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, feet hip-width apart.
  • Hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight and knees slightly bent.
  • Pull the dumbbells toward your waist, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down with control.
  • Perform 10-12 repetitions per arm for 2-3 sets, maintaining proper form throughout.
Dumbbells for women
There are many benefits of dumbbell workout for women. Image courtesy; Adobe Stock

7. Bench press

The bench press targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It’s effective for building upper body strength and muscle mass.

How to do bench press:

  • Lie on a bench with feet flat on the floor and a barbell or dumbbell held directly above your chest.
  • Slowly lift the bar or dumbbells and keep elbows at a 45-degree angle.
  • Press the weight back up until your arms are straight.
  • Perform 8-12 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Also read: Strength training: 5 mental health benefits you can reap

8. Glute bridge

This exercise engages your glutes, thighs, hamstrings, and core muscles. It can enhance lower back stability and make your glutes stronger.

How to perform a glute bridge:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  • Keep your arms by your sides with your palms facing down for support.
  • Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  • Hold the bridge position for 2-3 seconds, then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 12-15 repetitions.
best kegel exercisers
Try this exercise to strengthen your glute muscles. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock.

9. Russian twists

Russian twists engage the core muscles, including the obliques and abdominals. They improve core strength, stability, and rotational power.

How to do Russian twists:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet elevated, leaning back slightly to engage your core.
  • Hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands.
  • Twist your torso to the right, bringing the weight beside your hip.
  • Return to the center and twist to the left.
    Complete 12-15 twists per side for 2-3 sets.

10. Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings target the posterior chain, including the hips, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. They improve physical and cardiovascular fitness.

How to do kettlebell swings:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you.
  • Hinge at your hips, swinging the kettlebell between your legs.
  • Thrust your hips forward and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
  • Allow the kettlebell to swing back between your legs and repeat in a fluid motion.
    Perform 15-20 swings for 2-3 sets, focusing on hip power and control.
kettlebell
Kettlebell exercises are fantastic for burning fat. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Other benefits of strength training

Here are the other 4 most common benefits of strength training you should know:

1. Boosts muscle strength

Strength training is well known to preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age. Practicing it regularly can build muscle and reduce muscle mass loss. Additionally, strength training helps build strength and endurance in your body, improve stamina and reduce fatigue.

Also read: Water aerobics: Try this mix of strength training and cardio to stay fit

2. Lowers blood pressure

While we tend to think of cardio exercise as being the perfect workout for lowering blood pressure, research published by Scientific Reports shows that strength training can also play a role. It helps improve the functions of blood vessels, which, in turn, helps lower high blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.

3. Reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome

A metabolic syndrome characterised by a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A 2018 study published in Cardiovascular Diabetology suggests that building muscles through strength training may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of chronic conditions.

4. Improves joint health

By targeting joint muscles, strength training stimulates bone formation and helps slow down bone loss, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures related to advanced age. Research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research reveals that performing strength training exercises regularly increases bone density effectively.

Woman with joint pain
Strength training improves joint health. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Weight lifting vs strength training

While weightlifting and strength training share many things, they are not completely the same. On one hand, strength training refers to exercises that improve muscle strength, endurance, and overall fitness through resistance training. It includes a variety of techniques, including using body weight, resistance bands, free weights, and machines, with benefits including enhancing muscle tone, bone density, and overall physical fitness.

Weightlifting, on the other hand, refers to the sport or activity of lifting heavy weights. While they may help build strength and muscles, weightlifting is mostly a sport of competition rather than focusing on improving overall fitness.

Health Shots recommends: Best 20 kg dumbbell sets: 7 top picks for intensive strength training

Who should avoid strength training?

When performed carefully, strength training can benefit anyone, however, there are a few people who should avoid this workout. Here’s who they are:

  • People who are not used to exercising and are middle-aged or older should avoid strength training.
  • If you have high blood pressure and other cardiac-related problems, check with your doctor first.
  • People with osteoporosis, recent joint injuries, and arthritis are advised to skip strength training.
  • Women who are pregnant should be cautious.
  • Those who are ill, have a fever, and recovering from surgery should refrain from intense workouts.

Apart from this, if you feel any pain while lifting or performing any exercise, you should also stop there and if the pain does not go away, see your doctor.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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