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7 Body Recomposition Exercises To Melt Fat & Build Muscle

Add them to your workout program today for results.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Building muscle and burning fat are the core aspects of any serious physique transformation workout routine. Whether you want the body of a Greek goddess, Mr. Olympia, or something in between, body recomposition exercises are a must. The goal of recomposition is simple: At the end of the program, your ratio of muscle to fat should be higher than it was at the beginning. You can accomplish this by adding muscle, burning fat, or both. The most effective recomposition programs leverage both sides of the equation to maximize your gains.

With that in mind, your workout focus during recomposition should be performing heavy compound lifts and accessory movements that will drive muscle growth and boost your metabolism. Your diet in the kitchen should be focused on high-protein meals while keeping your body in a slight caloric deficit. For proper recomposition, you need to do both diet and exercise.

The following are our top seven recommendations for exercises to include in your body recomposition program. Perform each exercise for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions using a weight that causes failure in that range. You can perform this as a workout or incorporate these body recomposition exercises into your existing workout routine.

Keep reading to learn more, and next up, don't miss The 5 Best Floor Exercises To Maintain a Lean Body as You Age.


fit woman doing deadlifts, body recomposition exercises

Deadlifts are a must for building overall strength in your posterior chain. These hit the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and core very effectively. Deadlifts also give a great metabolic boost to help keep your calorie-burning furnace at maximal capacity.

To perform deadlifts, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees with a racked barbell in front of you. Hinge at the hips to lower your hands toward the ground while keeping your back flat and your core engaged. Grasp the bar with a prone or alternating grip. Drive through both feet to lift the barbell while squeezing your glutes. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.

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fit man doing barbell back squats at the gym

Squats build exceptional lower body strength, particularly in the quadriceps, glutes, and core. Additionally, squats are a great driver of muscle building and growth due to the intense loading of your whole body, similar to deadlifts.

To perform squats, stand in a squat rack with a racked barbell, your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned out. Unrack the barbell, and step backward. Lower your hips down and back as if sitting back in a chair. Drive your knees outward as you lower to prevent knee-caving. Drive through both feet to stand up, keeping your core engaged and squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.


fit man doing pull-ups outdoors

Pull-ups are necessary for upper-body strength in the shoulder, back, and arms. The increased muscle mass in this area helps keep your metabolism high and your torso physique toned and fit.

To perform pull-ups, grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand, neutral, or reverse grip. Initiate the upward movement by pulling your shoulder blades down and back while pulling your body up toward the bar. Continue pulling until your chest reaches the bar, then lower yourself back down with control. Repeat for target repetitions.


woman doing pushups on yoga mat, exercises to lose shoulder fat

Pushups are great for upper-body strength and muscle mass in the chest, shoulders, and arms. They also hit the core really well for added muscle and stability in that area. Plus, you can perform them without equipment.

To perform pushups, start in a pushup plank position with your hands shoulder-width distance apart. Lower your body down toward the ground while keeping the elbows close to your sides. Push through both hands to lift your body back up into the starting position. Repeat for the target repetitions.

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woman doing forward lunges exercise, city backdrop, part of full-body workout outdoors

The last of these body recomposition exercises is the lunge. Lunges are great for focusing on one side of your lower body at a time. They use a very functional pattern that mimics walking and running, helping with balance on top of building muscle in the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. We recommend holding dumbbells for added resistance.

To perform lunges, start by standing tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Take a big step forward with one foot, and lower your body down until your back knee is hovering roughly one inch above the ground. Push through your front foot to step back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Perform the target repetitions on both sides.

Kettlebell Swings

fit man doing kettlebell swings at the gym, concept of mistakes with kettlebells

Kettlebell swings are great to include toward the end of resistance training to add some dynamic, explosive movement, get some extra calorie burn, and further boost your metabolism without adding tons more workout stress from heavier lifts.

To perform kettlebell swings, begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell on the ground in front of you. Hinge at the waist and grasp the kettlebell with both hands. Explosively hike the kettlebell backward between your legs, maintaining your grip. As your torso nears horizontal, explosively engage your glutes and hamstrings to swing the kettlebell back forward. As your arms and the kettlebell reach parallel to the ground, explosively hike the kettlebell downward into the next repetition. Repeat for the target repetitions.

Farmer's Carries

illustration of farmer's walk exercise

For functional core exercises that also boost metabolism and transfer well to the real world, look no further than farmer's carries. Realistically, you can do this exercise with almost any kind of weight, but dumbbells or kettlebells held in each hand are a good starting point.

As you walk with your weights, keep your shoulders engaged "back and down," avoid shrugging or rounding your shoulders, and don't allow your torso to fall forward. Hold your weight in one or both hands, and walk for 10 to 20 meters per set. Choose a weight that feels heavy but allows you to brace your core while walking.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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