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10 Best Exercises To Help You Melt Fat & Build Muscle

These exercises promote muscle growth and torch unwanted body fat.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Combining effective muscle-building exercises with fat-burning routines is a game-changer for my clients hoping to achieve a sculpted and lean physique. While there are dozens of effective workouts for this goal, the below powerhouse exercises not only promote muscle growth but also torch unwanted fat, providing a comprehensive approach to achieving your fitness goals. I have 10 of the best exercises to build muscle and melt fat for you to add to your routine, so listen up.

It's important to combine these exercises with a diet high in protein, a calorie deficit, and regular cardiovascular exercise to attain body composition. Incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine can provide a well-rounded approach to building muscle and melting fat. Remember to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any existing health concerns.

Keep reading for the 10 best exercises to build muscle and melt fat. And when you're done, find out why People Swear by the 30/30/30 Plan for Weight Loss: 'Completely Changed My Body'.


illustration of barbell deadlift, concept of exercises to build muscle

First up on this list of exercises to build muscle and burn fat is the deadlift. Deadlifts are a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making them indispensable for anyone aiming to build strength and burn fat. Targeting the back, glutes, hamstrings, and core, deadlifts promote overall muscle development and stimulate the metabolism.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward. Bend at the hips and knees, keeping your back straight, and grip the barbell with hands shoulder-width apart. Lift the barbell by extending your hips and knees simultaneously, maintaining a neutral spine. Lower the barbell back to the ground with controlled movements, keeping it close to your body. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

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man doing squats, concept of exercises to build muscle

Squats are a fundamental exercise for building lower-body strength and burning calories. They engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core, promoting muscle growth and enhancing overall fat loss.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending at the hips and knees, keeping your back straight. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as far as your flexibility allows. Push through your heels to return to the starting position. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

Bench Presses

barbell bench press illustration, concept of exercises to build muscle

The bench press is a classic upper-body exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It's an efficient way to build lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism.

Lie on a flat bench with a barbell at eye level. Grip the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower the barbell to your chest in a controlled manner. Push the barbell back to the starting position, extending your arms. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

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woman doing pull-ups

Pull-ups are a bodyweight exercise that strengthens the back, biceps, and core. They also elevate the heart rate, aiding in fat burning.

Hang onto a pull-up bar with your palms facing away and hands shoulder-width apart. Pull your body upward until your chin is above the bar. Lower your body back down with control. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

woman running

While not a single exercise, HIIT is a powerful workout method that alternates between short bursts of intense activity and periods of rest. It effectively burns fat and promotes muscle endurance.

Choose a cardio exercise (e.g., running, cycling). Sprint at maximum effort for 20 to 30 seconds. Rest for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat for 15 to 20 minutes.

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The plank is a core-strengthening exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the abs, obliques, and shoulders. It promotes stability and aids in overall fat loss.

Start in a pushup position, then lower onto your forearms. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute. Complete three sets.


front lunge exercise

Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, making them excellent for lower-body development. They also increase heart rate, supporting fat-burning efforts.

Stand with your feet together, and take a step forward with your right foot. Lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. Complete three sets of 15 reps on each side.

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Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings are a dynamic full-body exercise that engages the hips, glutes, hamstrings, and core. They elevate heart rate and contribute to both muscle building and fat loss.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands. Hinge at the hips, and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Thrust your hips forward, swinging the kettlebell to chest level. Control the swing, and repeat. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

Russian Twists

Russian twist with medicine ball

Russian twists target the obliques and core muscles, enhancing abdominal definition. While they don't burn a high number of calories individually, they contribute to overall fat loss when combined with a comprehensive workout routine.

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and lean back slightly. Hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands. Twist your torso to the right, then to the left, touching the ground beside you with the weight. Complete three sets of 15 reps.


illustration of burpees

Burpees are a full-body, high-intensity exercise that combines strength training and cardio. They engage multiple muscle groups, including the chest, arms, legs, and core, while also promoting fat burning.

Start in a standing position, then squat down and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back into a plank position. Perform a pushup, then jump your feet back towards your hands. Explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms overhead. Complete three sets of 15 reps.

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