No one can deny that losing weight is a challenge. Whether you need to improve your health or sculpt a swimsuit-ready body for summer, burning fat and leaning out your physique takes the combined effort of a sustained caloric deficit and healthy lifestyle combined with the right forms of exercise. Today, you’re going to learn all about the only eight exercises you need to lose 20 pounds.
I almost always recommend my weight loss clients perform resistance training with traditional weight training exercises when their goal is to lose weight and shed body fat. Resistance exercise gives the best bang for your buck because it builds muscle, boosts your metabolism, and improves performance in both athletic and day-to-day activities. Collectively, this makes resistance training far more effective as a component of a weight loss strategy than traditional cardio, although aerobic exercise offers its own benefits.
That being said, if you are crunched for time, you need to focus on the activities that provide the best results. The following is my list of the only eight exercises you need to lose 20 pounds. Perform each exercise for 12 to 15 repetitions, rest for 60 seconds, and repeat for three sets. Aim to complete this routine at least twice per week spread across two or more workouts. In addition, be sure to eat a high-protein diet that puts you in a caloric deficit to ensure you shed the fat and keep it off.
The barbell back squat is often referred to as the “king” (or queen!) of all exercises because of its comprehensive full-body nature. This compound movement primarily focuses on the quads and glutes but also involves the hamstrings, calves, lower back, and core.
To perform a barbell back squat, start by positioning a barbell at shoulder level on a squat rack. If available, set the safety pins just above waist level. Step under the bar, letting it rest on your upper traps. Grab the bar with both hands, palms facing forward. Push through the full foot to stand up and lift the bar off the rack, then take a step back to clear the rack. Lower your body by bending at the hips and knees while keeping your torso upright. Remember to push evenly through the full foot, not just the heels. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, push your body up back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Walking lunges are an excellent lower-body exercise, primarily targeting the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. This move also involves the calves and the core, improving balance and stability. Hold dumbbells in each hand if you want to add additional weight.
To perform walking lunges, stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right foot, lowering your body into a lunge. As you lower your left knee, rotate your left foot inward slightly for optimal biomechanics. Make sure your right knee is directly above your right ankle and your left knee is hovering above the floor. Push through the full foot of your right leg to stand back up, and bring your left foot forward to meet the right. Repeat, this time stepping forward with your left foot. Continue repeating for the target repetitions.
If you want to lose 20 pounds, don’t sleep on working with just your body weight. Pull-ups are a potent upper-body exercise, primarily targeting the lats, but they also work the biceps, triceps, forearms, and the muscles in your shoulders and back.
To perform a pull-up, grab the bar with both hands, palms facing toward you slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hang onto the bar with your arms fully extended. Pull yourself up by bending your elbows while visualizing crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Once your chin is above the bar, lower yourself back to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The deadlift is another fundamental compound exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings and glutes. It also involves the lower back, quads, traps, and core.
To perform a deadlift, stand with your mid-foot under the barbell and your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your hips and knees, and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Lift your chest up and straighten your back, then stand up with the weight until your hips are fully extended. Pause at the top, then reverse the movement by pushing your hips back and bending your knees to lower the bar to the floor. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The bench press is an excellent upper-body exercise that primarily targets the pectorals and triceps. It also involves the deltoids and the muscles of the upper back and forearms.
To perform a bench press, lie flat on your back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grab the barbell with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, palms facing away from you. Lower the bar to your chest by bending your elbows and shoulders. Once the bar touches your chest, push evenly through both hands until your arms are fully extended. Repeat for the target repetitions.
Bent over rows are a superb upper body pulling exercise that predominantly targets the lats and rhomboids. They also engage the biceps, traps, and the muscles in the lower back.
To perform bent-over rows, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell with an overhand grip. Bend at your hips and knees, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pull the bar to your upper abs, visualizing crushing a piece of fruit in your armpit as you retract your shoulder blades. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Lower the bar to the starting position, fully extending your arms. Repeat for the target repetitions.
The overhead press is a great shoulder exercise, primarily targeting the deltoids. It also works the triceps, upper pectorals, and core.
To perform an overhead press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold a barbell at shoulder level with your palms facing forward. Brace your core, and push the bar straight up until your arms are fully extended overhead. Avoid shrugging throughout the range of motion. Lower the bar back to shoulder level in a controlled manner. Repeat for the target repetitions.
This list of the best exercises to lose 20 pounds wraps up with glute bridges. The glute bridge primarily targets the glutes and hamstrings, but it also involves the lower back and the core, helping to improve overall hip muscularity.
To perform a glute bridge, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keeping your upper body relaxed, push through the full foot of both feet to lift your hips off the ground. At the top of the movement, visualize drawing your lower rib toward your pelvis, and engage your abs. Lower your hips back down to the ground. Repeat for the target repetitions.