The Burn Fat Workout: Build Muscle and Lose Fat Fast With These Weight-Bearing Exercises

August 3, 2013 | Jim Carpentier

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The negative effects of being overweight are well known, but many people still struggle to shed unwanted pounds. A high percentage of body fat poses health risks, limits sports performance and hinders normal off-the-field activities like walking and climbing stairs. Although any form of exercise can be beneficial, certain types of workouts are more effective for losing weight, building muscle and transforming the body.

Athletes often overlook the importance of exercise intensity in their training programs. Slower and longer workouts, like hour-long cardio sessions, burn fat, but at a slow rate. They are not ideal for transforming your body. In contrast, high-intensity workouts, combining hard bouts of exercise (like sprints and explosive lifts) with brief active rest periods, rev up metabolism and lead to greater fat loss over time.

Another key element in the design of effective fat-burning routines is exercise selection. Weight-bearing exercises, in which you support your own weight rather than using a machine, are far superior. Why? Because they enhance bone density to help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis; and they are typically closed-chain movements, meaning a limb (usually a foot or hand) is in continuous contact with an immovable surface—e.g., during a Squat, the feet are on the ground at all points (in contrast to a Leg Extension, in which the body remains still and the legs are in constant motion).

Most gym enthusiasts benefit more from closed-chain exercises because they are multi-joint movements, meaning they incorporate more than one muscle group. This translates to building more lean muscle and eliminating fat throughout the body.

Short and Swift Full-Body Workout


  • Moderately heavy medicine ball
  • Chair or bench
  • Pull-Up bar
  • Water bottle


  • Hydrate before, during and after the workout.
  • Perform a proper warm-up and finish with cool-down stretches.
  • Perform one non-stop rep of each combo set.
  • Rest 15 to 30 seconds before moving on to the next combo set.
  • Allow at least a day between workouts for adequate recovery.

Combo Set 1. Explosive Push-Ups/Elevated Push-Ups/Regular Flat-Surface Push-Ups on a Medicine Ball

  • Perform 5 Explosive Push-Ups (your hands leave the floor between reps).
  • Immediately perform 10 Elevated Push-Ups (with your feet on a chair or bench).
  • Finish with 10 regular Push-Ups with hands atop a medicine ball.

Combo Set 2. Medicine Ball Jump Squats/Med Ball Regular Squats/Med Ball Single Leg Squats

  • Assume an athletic stance while holding the med ball overhead.
  • Squat, then jump as high as you can.
  • Land in a squat position and quickly jump again (10 reps).
  • Immediately follow with 10 regular Squats holding the ball at chest level with arms extended.
  • End by holding the ball overhead and performing 10 Single-Leg Squats on each leg.

Combo Set 3. Elevated Prone/ Side/Supine Planks

  • Place your feet on a chair or bench and assume push-up position.
  • Rest your forearms about shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  • Keep your back straight and stomach tight.
  • Hold this position for 60 seconds.
  • Without rest, rotate to your right side with your hips raised and your right forearm on the floor.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat on left side.
  • End combo set on your back with your feet elevated on the chair or bench.
  • Keep your legs straight while resting your body on your forearms and elevating your hips for 60 seconds.

Combo Set 4. Pull-Ups/Med Ball Single Leg Rows/Med Ball Mountain Climbers

  • Perform 10 Pull-Ups and immediately get the med ball.
  • Assume squat position on left leg with right foot off the floor.
  • Hold the ball at knee level with arms extended.
  • Quickly pull the ball toward your chest for 10 reps.
  • Without rest, perform 10 Med Ball Rows with your right leg down and your left foot off the floor.
  • Finish in push-up position with your hands on the med ball and perform Mountain Climbers (rapidly alternating left and right knees toward your arms) for 60 seconds.

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Topics: BURN FAT
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist, and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as Associate Health and...
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