Best Lifting Workout For Weight Loss

When you think of weight loss, you probably picture yourself on an elliptical machine or treadmill. But what if we told you that there is a better way?

In fact, there are several better ways to get the body you want—and one of them is lifting weights.

The reason most people don’t know this is because they don’t know how to use weights properly. They don’t have a plan or the right form, which means they aren’t getting the full benefits of their workouts.

We’re here to change that! We’ve put together this post to teach you everything you need to know about lifting weights for weight loss and why it’s so important.

Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on, best weight machine workout for weight loss, gym workouts to lose weight, weight lifting exercises to lose belly fat, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Best Lifting Workout For Weight Loss

Let’s get real. Sure, you can cut your calories in half, or spend your morning or evenings doing cardio to lose some pounds, but I can promise you both will not last nor will they give you a healthy looking and functioning body. 

When it comes to weight lifting for weight loss, it is important to put a few key points out there. First, you will not get BIG from lifting weights. You get “big” from overconsumption of energy (calories), which can be converted into fat or muscle based on the types of foods you eat and the exercise you do. Second, you can lift more than you think—and you should (with the help of a spotter, if necessary). And finally, if weight training is done properly you will likely be sore the day or two after your workouts (especially if you are new to resistance exercise). This is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and it is a normal response to weight training. Be sure to stretch, drink plenty of water and incorporate sound nutrition to help your body recover quickly between workouts. 

Here are five key points to keep in mind while working toward your weight- or fat-loss goals. After all, weight is just a number and doesn’t say a whole lot about your body. I’m 5’2” and weigh about 135 pounds, while my mom is 5’2” and weighs around 113 pounds—the biggest difference is the amount of muscle we each have. Keep that in mind as you work toward your goals. 

1. Lift heavy weights. I have trained a lot of individuals over the years and I cannot tell you how many have sold themselves short. You won’t get results lifting the same weights you’ve been lifting (if you’ve been lifting). You have to go up in weight. Increase weight and you’ll increase your strength and muscle mass. Increase your muscle mass and you’ll increase your metabolic rate. Increase your metabolic rate and you will burn more calories. Burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight. If you want to lose weight and not look “skinny fat,” you need to lift HEAVY weights.

2. Intensity. You don’t have to spend more than 30 to 45 minutes on your weight workouts. In fact, you could cut this down to 20 minutes. I love training with my powerlifting friends, but I do NOT have the focus or the time to lift weights for more than two hours. The key is to work hard throughout the entire workout, minimizing rest and keeping your heart rate elevated.  

3. I want you to fail. If you want your body to change, you have to push past your comfort zone. You can’t expect results doing the same thing you’ve always done—that’s called insanity, right? So when I say I want you to fail, I mean I want you to have to rest. I want you to not be able to finish that last rep or two, because you picked up the heavier weights. By pushing your body out of its comfort zone, you are forcing it to respond and to change. Your body has to use energy to repair and recover. Make your body work for you, and don’t be afraid to fail.

4. Do supersets and hybrids. A superset involves doing two or more exercises that target the same muscle group, back to back with minimal rest in between. For example, doing a set of 12 heavy squats followed by a set of 12 heavy lunges is a superset. A hybrid involves combining two or more movements into one movement. Combining a squat with a shoulder press or a lunge with a squat followed by a lunge are examples of hybrid exercises. Incorporating these into your weight-training workouts can increase the intensity of your training, which is ideal for losing weight.

5. Circuit Training. Circuit training is a great way to get in multiple exercises. You can focus on your upper body, lower body, or total body, all while keeping the intensity up. Of course, you still want to focus on using heavy weights. Below is a sample total-body, circuit-training workout. Move quickly from exercise to exercise and rest for a minute at the end of each round. Don’t be afraid to rest during a set, recover quickly, and then get back after it. 

Weightlifting Exercises For Weight Loss:

Squat

The squat is one of the most recommended strength-training exercises for weight loss. Weighted squats call upon all of the lower-body muscles and recruit some back and abdominal muscles for support, Wilson says. “These exercises burn more calories because more muscles are working.”

Begin with bodyweight squats, then you can add dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell as you progress. Here’s how to do a barbell front squat:

  • Start with an unweighted or loaded barbell. Beginners should start with just the barbell, gradually adding weight as they become familiar with the movement. More advanced squatters can start with a weight they know they can comfortably handle. (Remember: You can always add more weight during the next set if it felt too easy.)
  • Position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the barbell and lightly grip the bar.
  • Rest the bar on your clavicle and shoulders as you lift your elbows up. Your elbows should go as high as your mobility allows.
  • With your feet about hip-distance apart, lift the barbell off the rack. Take 1 to 2 steps backward.
  • Shift your weight back onto your heels. Brace your abs as you begin to lower into a squat, keeping your head and back straight. Your knees should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
  • With your core still braced, drive through your heels to stand back up. Be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of your squat.
  • That’s one rep.

Deadlift

ACE-certified trainer Christian Koshaba, owner of Three60Fit, calls the deadlift “a fantastic, dynamic movement.” Though simple, “a deadlift engages your whole body, including all major muscle groups: glutes, hamstrings, quads, and the entire chain of back muscles,” Koshaba says. If you don’t have access to a barbell, you can do deadlifts with dumbbells or a kettlebell. Whatever weight you use, focus on form first with light weights, then gradually increase the weight as you’re ready.

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Push your butt back as you bend your knees, grasping the barbell with your hands just outside the hips, with the shoulders slightly in front of the bar. Have both palms facing you, or if it feels more comfortable (or you’re lifting very heavy), turn one palm facing out. Keep your back straight, not curved or arched. Your chest should be parallel with the floor.
  • Stand up, raising the hips and shoulders at the same time, lifting the barbell off the floor so the bar moves over the middle of both feet.
  • Keep the heels down and make sure to fully extend the hips and knees to straighten the legs. That’s one rep.

Walking Lunge

ACE-certified trainer Rachel MacPherson recommends lunges to help with weight loss. You can do them in place by stepping one foot forward and then stepping back to the starting position or make it harder by doing walking lunges. “Walking lunges use unilateral training to increase your heart rate and increase metabolism for weight loss,” MacPherson says. “The continuous walking motion used for walking lunges makes them more of an efficient fat burner than regular lunges.”

  • Stand upright, feet together, holding dumbbells at your side. Take a controlled step forward with your left leg, lowering your hips toward the floor by bending both knees to 90-degree angles. Your back knee should point toward but not touch the ground, and your front knee should be directly over your ankle.
  • Press your left heel into the ground, and push off with your right foot to bring your right leg forward, stepping with control into a lunge on the other side.
  • That’s one rep.
Weightlifting Exercises For Weight Loss: Walking Lunge

Split Squat

Different than lunges, split squats involve standing in a split position as you lower and raise the hips, really firing up the lower body.

Bowling says this is a great alternative to back squats because you’re able to target the lower body efficiently without risk of injury to the back. “When done correctly, your legs will fail before your lower back does,” Bowling says. Adding a shoulder press to the split squat works the upper body and core as well, making this a total-body exercise.

  • Holding the dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing forward, take a big step backward with the left foot.
  • Bend your knees to lower the rear knee toward the floor, making 90-degree angles with both legs.
  • Straighten both legs as you press the weights up toward the ceiling.
  • That’s one rep.
Weightlifting Exercises For Weight Loss: Split Squat

Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is a full-body movement that uses core, leg, and glute strength to create momentum and swing a kettlebell, MacPherson explains. Your heart rate will increase quickly because the motion is continuous, she adds, which will help you burn more calories.

  • Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly pointing out. Squat down, and pick up a kettlebell with both hands. Allow it to hang between your legs.
  • With a flat back and your core engaged, inhale to bend your knees and push your butt back. Your weight should be back on your heels so your knees are in line with your toes.
  • Keep your core engaged and arms straight. On an exhale, press into your feet, squeezing your legs and glutes as you aggressively explode up, extending through your hips and legs to stand, which drives the kettlebell overhead. If you have mobility issues in the shoulders or lower back or an injury, do a Russian kettlebell swing instead, where the bell only raises to shoulder height.
  • Inhale, and with control, come back to the starting position, allowing the kettlebell to swing back between your legs.
  • That’s one rep.

Push-Up

Push-ups are “great for building muscles in your arms and stabilizing your core,” says Stephanie Blozy, an exercise-science expert and the owner of the Fleet Feet store in West Hartford, CT. She suggests starting push-ups with your knees resting on the floor and moving up to a classic push-up with straight legs.

  • Begin in a plank position with the arms and body straight, shoulders over the wrists. Keep the core engaged.
  • Bend the elbows behind you and lower your chest to the floor. Keep your upper arms tight to your body so your elbows are against your ribs on both sides.
  • Straighten the arms, coming back to plank position.
  • This counts as one rep.
Weightlifting Exercises For Weight Loss: Push-Up

Pull-Up

Pull-ups and chin-ups, the ultimate upper-body moves, will work your lats, upper back, arms, and core, Bowling says. Doing a pull-up requires you to “maintain some form of thoracic extension throughout the movement, getting the back involved,” he adds. If you can’t do a strict pull-up, use a band to assist you or do ring rows instead.

  • Place a large resistance band securely around a pull-up bar. A band with more resistance will provide you with more assistance to pull yourself up.
  • Stand on a stable object (such as a bench or plyo box), and grip the pull-up bar. With one hand, place the band around the arch of your shoe. Fully extend the banded leg.
  • With a neutral spine and your core engaged, pull yourself up. The band will provide you with momentum to lift your body up.
  • Lower back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Pull-Up

Pull-ups and chin-ups, the ultimate upper-body moves, will work your lats, upper back, arms, and core, Bowling says. Doing a pull-up requires you to “maintain some form of thoracic extension throughout the movement, getting the back involved,” he adds. If you can’t do a strict pull-up, use a band to assist you or do ring rows instead.

  • Place a large resistance band securely around a pull-up bar. A band with more resistance will provide you with more assistance to pull yourself up.
  • Stand on a stable object (such as a bench or plyo box), and grip the pull-up bar. With one hand, place the band around the arch of your shoe. Fully extend the banded leg.
  • With a neutral spine and your core engaged, pull yourself up. The band will provide you with momentum to lift your body up.
  • Lower back down to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Bench Press

Bowling calls the bench press “the king of pressing movements” because so many muscles are recruited to perform a single rep. Whether using dumbbells or a barbell, a proper bench press requires the legs to get involved. “As you press the weight away from you, your legs are actively driving the floor down as hard as possible,” Bowling explains, making this a full-body movement.

  • Grab a set of dumbbells and sit on a flat workout bench.
  • With one dumbbell in each hand resting on your thighs, lie back onto the bench.
  • Hold the dumbbells above your chest, arms straight over shoulders, palms facing away from your face.
  • Inhale and lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest with control, creating a 90-degree angle between your upper arm and forearm.
  • Exhale as you push the dumbbells up, fully extending your arms.
  • That’s one rep.

Glute Bridge With Chest Press

This is another one of those exercises that involves every single muscle in the body, mainly the glutes, pectorals (chest muscles), and core,” says ACSM-certified trainer Raquel Santos. This compound movement allows you to build muscle in your hamstrings and glutes while also targeting your chest and shoulders.

Besides increasing your metabolic burn by being a great compound movement, the glute bridge itself is a very important movement for building strength in the posterior chain and preventing/alleviating lower-back and knee pain,” she adds.

  • Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart. Hold weights by your chest.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you push your pelvis toward the ceiling, coming into a bridge. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis.
  • Holding the bridge, press the weights to the ceiling directly above your shoulders.
  • Lower the weights to your chest without dropping your hips. That’s one rep.
Weightlifting Exercises For Weight Loss: Glute Bridge With Chest Press

Thruster

Santos is a fan of the thruster because it combines squatting and vertical pushing, using nearly every muscle to perform it correctly. “The squat alone involves every lower-body muscle from the low back to the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and even the calves,” she says. “Adding in the overhead press utilizes a bunch of upper-body muscles with a focus on the shoulders and the core.”

  • Stand with your legs just slightly wider than hip-distance apart, arms raised to shoulder height with elbows bent, holding weights by your ears.
  • Hinge at the hips and bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair.
  • Press into feet to straighten your legs and return to standing, using the momentum to press the dumbbells overhead, weights directly above shoulders. That’s one rep.

Renegade Row

The renegade row is an awesome exercise that utilizes the entire core, as well as the back and biceps, Santos explains. “For beginners, I recommend starting with your knees down and light or medium weights.”

  • Start in high plank with feet wider than shoulders, each hand holding onto a dumbbell that’s resting on the floor.
  • Pull right elbow back, raising dumbbell toward chest, keeping right elbow close to torso, core engaged, and hips and chest facing down.
  • Lower the weight and repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep.

Dumbbell Box Step-Up

“Step-ups are another great exercise to strengthen your legs and stabilize your core and lower-back muscles,” Blozy says.

Begin with a small step, then gradually work up to a 20- or 30-inch box. When you’re ready, intensify the move by adding weight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your side or a kettlebell or two at your chest. “Not only will your quads burn, but your heart rate will also accelerate and sweat will pour,” Blozy says.

  • Find a sturdy bench, wooden box, or chair that allows your knee to be at about a 90-degree angle or larger when you place your foot squarely on it.
  • Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand by your side (or, for a more advanced version, in the front rack position at your shoulders).
  • Step your right foot onto the box, then your left, so both feet are on top of the box.
  • Softly step the right foot back to the ground, then the left.
  • That’s one rep. Repeat leading with the opposite side.
Weightlifting Exercises For Weight Loss: Dumbbell Box Step-Up

Ultimately, weight-loss occurs due to a combination of factors—sleep, nutrition, mindset and physical activity all play key rolls in initiating and maintaining weight-loss. Be sure to check in with a physician before jumping into a weight-training regimen and don’t be afraid of failure. Failure is the point at which growth and change occur. Aim for three total-body, circuit-training workouts a week. If you decide to split your workouts, try to do two workouts focusing on your upper body, two workouts focusing on your lower body, and one total-body workout per week. Remember, these workouts can be as little as 20 to 30 minutes—the key is keeping the intensity high.

Best Weight Machine Workout For Weight Loss

Want to burn more calories to help with your weight loss? Which cardio machines are actually the best ones to give you maximum results? Well, we’ve listed the top 5 machines that you can find in most gyms that’ll give you a heart-pumping, sweat-inducing workout.

The top 5 cardio machines that are good for weight loss are:

  1. Rowing machine
  2. Assault bike
  3. Treadmill
  4. Stair climber machine
  5. Elliptical

Not only will these machines help you burn more calories to lose weight, but they also work on your cardiovascular endurance and stamina. There are also low-impact options, which we’ll discuss below.

Losing Weight With Cardio Machines

First, let’s briefly take a look at how to lose weight.

Losing weight depends on your calorie expenditure. That refers to how many calories you consume versus how many calories you burn. To lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit, that is, burning more calories than you take in. One way to help you create and maintain a caloric deficit is by exercising and doing cardio.

But what cardio machines work best?

There are some cardio machines that will have you burning more calories than others, so if you want more bang for your buck, then keep reading to find out what the top 5 cardio machines are that you should head straight for in the gym.

1. ROWING MACHINE

Rowing machine.jpg

Great for: weight loss, full-body workout

Low impact? Yes

Muscles Used: calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abs, obliques, pecs, biceps, triceps, deltoids, upper back, and lats

The rowing machine is one of the best cardio machines that are good for weight loss. It works the entire body and also ensures that you can get a full range of motion. While your legs contribute 60% of the power per stroke, many other muscles come into play so you know you’re getting a full-body, all-round workout.

The rowing machine comes with a sliding seat, a handle that you can grab with booths hands, footrests, flywheel and an adjustable damper attached to a fan cage. The entire workout is done seated with your feet on the footrests in front of you. You pull on the handle, attached to the flywheel and damper by a chain, and you move backwards as you seat slides back. That’s one stroke or row.

It also comes with a monitor display that tells you how many kilometers or miles you’ve rowed, the time you’ve spent on the machine, and how many seconds it takes to row one metre, alongside other valuable data.

To get the best results from the rowing machine, you need to set the damper at the right setting. The rowing machine will have the option of setting it at 1-10. However, this is not to be mistaken for intensity levels. The damper is what establishes how much air is allowed through the cage while you’re rowing. It’s similar to how bicycle gears work. To put it simply, higher damper (10) means a more air is allowed through the fan cage. Subsequently, it requires more effort to get the wheel to spin. It also means that on the recovery stroke, it’ll slow down more, meaning it’s harder to accelerate the wheel on the next row. On the other hand, a damper set on a lower level means that it’ll be easier to spin the flywheel.

Just like setting gears on a bicycle is up to your own personal preference, so is the damper setting on the rowing machine. A good rule of thumb is to set it between 3 and 5:

  • 3 being better suited for longer workouts
  • 5 being an ideal setting for shorter ones.

However, play around with the setting so that you can see which one works best for you. Customizing this will mean you’ll be able to generate a more optimized workout and better results for weight loss.

Estimated Calories Burned: 

According to Havard Health Publishing, stationary moderate rowing burned 210, 260, 311 calories in 30-minutes for a person weighing 125, 155 and 185 pounds respectively. In comparison, vigorous rowing on the machine for the same amount of time saw them burning 255, 316 and 377 calories.

Benefits:

Apart from the typical cardio benefits like improved physical and mental health, the rowing machine is great because it places minimal stress on the body due to your seated position. In fact, it’s a great low-impact cardio workout that is easy on the joints while still being effective and challenging. It’s also a really good option for those who want to use their entire body in a workout as it targets more muscles than just the lower body.

2. ASSAULT BIKE

Great for: weight loss, full-body workout, low-impact

Low impact? Yes

Muscles used: calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, core, back, glutes

The assault bike takes the typical stationary exercise bike to a whole other level. Instead of just giving you a lower-body workout, with the assault bike that comes with long handles, you can include upper body movements in there so you get an all-round session that’ll work your entire body and burn off some calories to help you with your weight loss.

This bike uses a fan to function. When you pedal, it creates wind that acts as resistance. The harder you pedal, well, the more wind resistance is generated and the harder it will be, hence you’re in for one sweat-inducing, heart-pumping workout. There is no limit to the assault bike.

The best way to approach an assault bike workout is in short, intense spurts. Think intervals like 40 seconds on pedalling as fast and as hard as you can, 20 seconds off. In between, you can also incorporate other movements like air squats or push ups or you can take the time to rest. You’ll definitely be feeling the burn either way.

Estimated Calories Burned: 

The average person can burn between 20 and 30 calories per minute.

Benefits: 

Similarly, to the rowing machine, the assault bike is a low-impact cardio machine. This makes it perfect for those who want to take it easy on their joints but still needs something that’s still challenging and effective. In addition, it’s definitely a safer option than outdoor cycling. If you want to bicycle without having to worry about weather elements or other hazards like cars, pedestrians and the sorts, then this is a really good choice.

3. TREADMILL

Treadmill.jpg

Great for: weight loss, cardiovascular endurance

Low impact? No

Muscles used: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, abdominals

The treadmill is the all-time classic cardio machine for a reason. You move on a conveyor belt attached to a monitor display with an adjustable speed level and incline level. Most treadmills also come with different types of workouts so that you can choose which one will suit your workout for the session such as hill and intervals. Not only that, but some treadmills also have virtual scenery exercise options so that you can go running through some stimulated trails.

The treadmill is typically used to walk, jog or run forwards. However, if you want to mix it up a little bit, then you can also do side steps, or if you’re coordinated enough, even walk or jog backwards. Be careful if you do this though and use the handles as necessary!

Estimated Calories Burned: 

On average, a 130lb person running at a speed of 5 miles per hour can burn up to 537 calories in an hour while a 180lb individual can burn 744.

Benefits:

Similarly to the assault bike, the treadmill is great for those who want to go for a run without having to battle outdoor elements. It’s an easy way to get your heart rate pumping in the comfort of your gym or home. You can adjust the treadmill incline to your ability to make it harder or easier for you. For those who want to mimic the energy spent on outdoor running (as treadmill running is slightly easier), put your treadmill on 1 per cent incline. However it’s not recommended to keep your treadmill on higher inclines for long periods of time. Your body is not meant to be running uphill for long so stay weary of that.

4. STAIR CLIMBER

Great for: weight loss, those who want lower body focus

Low impact? Yes

Muscles Used: quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core

The stair climber is a great cardio machine that emulates walking up the stairs. And if you’ve walked up a few flights of stairs, then you’ll know that it can make your lower body burn.

With the stair climber, you don’t need to find a tall building with multiple flights of stairs to get the same feeling, you can do so in the one spot as the steps are part of a moving belt that rotates. It also comes with a monitor display so you can see how many flights of stairs or floors you’ve climbed, your speed, how long you’ve been exercising for, your heart rate and other information. You have the option to change the levels so that it’s suited to your fitness level. Most machines have a 1-10 or 1-20 option.

The stair climber has handles that you can hold onto in front or on either side of you. This will make it easier because you can lean your weight on your upper body, mitigating the work your lower body has to do. However, if you really want to push yourself, then try to minimize the amount of weight you distribute to your upper body so you can really optmize your cardio session. If you need to hold onto something for balance, keep your grip light so you’re not completely bearing your weight on the handles.

Estimated Calories Burned: 

Harvard Health Publishing shows that a 125lb person burned 180 calories in a 30-minute workout on the step machine. For a 155lb person, this resulted in 223 calories being worked off and 266 calories for an individual weighing 185lbs.

Benefits:

The stair climber is a simple machine but you can add so much versatility to your workouts to get a great cardio workout in for weight loss. To make it even more challenging, you can even take two stairs at a time, climb the stairs sideways or even add a squat or frog jump in-between steps to feel a bigger burn in your quads and glutes. Some people also love to put a resistance band around their legs and add in some kickbacks as they’re stepping. This makes it not only a workout that increases your cardiovascular endurance but can also work on your muscle strengthening as well.

5. ELLIPTICAL

Elliptical.jpg

Great for: weight loss, balance and coordination

Low impact? Yes

Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quads, chest, back, biceps, triceps, and core

The elliptical machine is a common one seen in gyms in the cardio section, and with good reason. It has two separate foot pedals, long handles, a flywheel and console that tells you all the data you want to know. It doesn’t work your upper body as much as the other cardio machines can but it does give you a good workout for your cardiovascular endurance and lower body.

This is particularly good for those who need to ease back into exercise after injury or surgery.

Estimated Calories Burned: 

A general study of the elliptical saw a 125, 155 and 185-pound person burn 270, 335 and 400 calories respectively, in a 30-minute session.

Benefits: 

The elliptical machine is a great weight loss cardio machine that is also low-impact and places less stress onto your joints. According to this study, the elliptical machine is a really good choice for those who need are dipping their toes back into exercise following injury or procedures, so if you’re in the rehabilitation phase of your fitness journey, then try giving it a go.

It’s also really beneficial for those who want to work on their balance. You can let go of the handles and engage your core to work on your coordination and abdominal muscles.

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