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10 Best Exercises for Maintaining Weight Loss

Maintaining weight loss can be as challenging as achieving it, but with the right exercises, it's possible.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Maintaining weight loss can be just as challenging as achieving it, but with the right strategies, it's entirely possible. From establishing sustainable lifestyle habits to adopting a balanced approach to nutrition and exercise, there are several effective methods to ensure long-term success. Today, let's chat about exercise. I put together 10 of the absolute best exercises to maintain weight loss that you can easily work into your fitness regimen.

When designing an effective exercise routine for weight loss, it's essential to include a diverse range of exercises that target all major muscle groups and incorporate various movement patterns. You can keep your workouts engaging by varying sets, reps, and intervals while effectively challenging your muscles and promoting overall fitness. Next, it's crucial to vary the execution of your exercises. While you have the movements down, exploring different methods to perform them optimally is essential. There's no one-size-fits-all approach here. You can stick to traditional tempos and slow movements, incorporate pauses, or choose intervals over straight sets and reps. Each method offers benefits, but opting for intervals (occasionally) can naturally ramp up your workout intensity.

I created the below list of the 10 best exercises to maintain weight loss. While these exercises might not be in a workout format, feel free to pick three to five and include them in your next workout!

Squat to Lunge

Squat to lunges blends the strength-building benefits of squats, whether goblet, dumbbell, kettlebell, or even barbell variations, with the unilateral advantages of lunges. By engaging in both lower-body exercises, this compound movement intensifies your metabolism and enhances weight loss-oriented workouts effectively. Mix up your equipment, and alternate between back and front squats each week for a fun and more challenging workout!

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Lower into a squat by bending your knees and pushing the hips back, maintaining a straight back and upright chest. Return to the starting position, and step forward with one foot into a lunge position. Push back to standing by pressing through your front foot. Alternate legs, and repeat. Knock out three rounds in 45 seconds with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

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Kettlebell Deadlifts

kettlebell deadlift

I love using kettlebell deadlift variations when training clients with weight-loss goals. The multiple variations, single, double, suitcase, and sumo, allow many weight-loss exercise options to boost your metabolism, build strength and lean muscle mass, and energize excitement. Plus, they cater to all fitness levels.

You'll start with your feet shoulder-width apart to set up for deadlifts. Next, bend your knees, and push your hips back to reach down and grip the kettlebell(s). Push through your heels, and bring your hips forward to stand up, squeezing your glutes. Keep your back straight, your core tight, and the kettlebell(s) close to you as you move. Carefully return the kettlebell(s) to the floor by reversing the movement. Complete three sets of eight to 12 reps with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell Chest Press

The versatility of dumbbell bench presses offers boundless options while adhering to fundamental principles. This exercise boasts a myriad of advantages: heightened activation of small stabilizing muscles, correction of asymmetries through unilateral work, and an intensified training stimulus, all while stimulating your chest, delts, triceps, and core. Whether you opt for the classic grip, close grip, or alternating variations, each variation adds a unique flavor to your routine while torching fat and boosting lean muscle growth and upper-body strength.

Lie flat on a bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Press the dumbbells straight above your shoulders to set in the start position. Engage your core for stability as you lower the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your elbow close to your body. Pause briefly, and press the dumbbell back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 to 20 reps with 90 seconds of rest between sets.

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Dumbbell Bent-Over Alternating Rows

Engage multiple muscle groups with the dynamic dumbbell bent-over row, which hones in on the upper back, lats, and biceps while activating your core. Throughout the movement, your core muscles play a crucial role in stabilizing your spine and countering rotation—especially as the weight moves. This emphasis on stability significantly ramps up core engagement, making it a stellar choice for fortifying your upper body and core stability. Plus, the calorie-burning effect aids in sustaining and amplifying your weight loss progress.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to perform dumbbell bent-over rows, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight and your chest up, with your torso at a 45-degree angle (close to parallel with the floor). Engage your core to stabilize and prevent rotation. Pull the dumbbell toward your hip, keeping your elbow close to your body, then lower it with control. Complete three to four sets of 10 to 15 reps each with 60 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

Alternating Kettlebell Swings

one-arm kettlebell swing

The kettlebell swing is an explosive exercise that powers up your posterior chain, developing lean muscle mass in your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Kettlebell swings are a great exercise to plug into a HIIT workout and cardio intervals to accelerate your metabolism and burn fat. While kettlebell swings give plenty of options, I rely on the alternating variation to induce more core and upper-body engagement.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasping a kettlebell with one arm while standing tall. Hinge at your hips, maintaining straight arms, then explosively drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell to chest height, powered by momentum from your lower body. Return the kettlebell between your legs in the hinge position, and repeat the movement. Perform three to four rounds of continuous reps for 30 to 45 seconds with 60 seconds of rest between rounds.

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Sled Pushes

sled push illustration exercise

Sled pushes offer many benefits for enhancing metabolism, building full-body strength, and aiding in weight loss maintenance. By engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, sled pushes trigger a substantial metabolic response, leading to increased calorie burn during and after the workout. This exercise targets the lower body, core, back, and shoulders, promoting overall strength development. Moreover, the high-intensity nature of sled pushes elevates the heart rate and stimulates fat loss, making it an effective tool for sustaining weight loss progress.

To perform sled pushes, load the sled with an appropriate weight, and stand behind it with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the handles, brace your core, and push the sled forward by driving through your legs. Maintain a steady pace, keeping your back straight and your shoulders engaged. Push the sled across the desired distance, then rest and repeat. Start with lighter weights, and focus on proper form to maximize effectiveness and minimize the risk of injury. Complete three to five sets of 15 to 30 yards with 60 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

Plank Jacks

plank jack

Take your core workout to the next level with plank jacks—an exhilarating variation of the classic plank. This dynamic exercise targets your core and engages your shoulders and adductors, promoting strength and stability. Plus, its high-intensity nature amps up your metabolism for maximum impact.

Start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body straight from your head to your heels, and engage your core. Jump both feet out to the sides while maintaining the plank. Quickly return your feet together. Repeat, keeping a steady rhythm and your core engaged. Knock out three rounds of 45 to 60 seconds with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

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Weighted Crunches

Mastering weighted crunches hinges on two key principles: Focus on contracting your abs as you lower your body and emphasize lifting with your core during the upward motion. Moreover, the versatility of weighted crunches makes them a valuable addition to any workout regimen. The options are endless, whether you're performing sets and reps conventionally, slowing down the tempo to enhance time under tension, or incorporating them into intervals or circuits. And when you factor in the added intensity from using free weights, every repetition becomes a testament to the hard work of your abdominal muscles.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight plate, dumbbell, or medicine ball against your chest or behind your head. Engage your core, lift your shoulders off the ground, bring your ribcage toward your hips, then lower back down. Complete three sets of eight to 15 reps with a three-second lowering, taking a 60-second rest between sets.

Cardio Intervals

treadmill sprints

Revamp your weight-loss cardio routine by using interval training. This dynamic approach not only keeps your workouts engaging but also maximizes effectiveness. By opting for shorter bursts of activity with minimal rest intervals, you open the door to incorporating various exercises beyond the confines of traditional cardio machines.

Use traditional cardio equipment such as bikes, rowers, ski ergs, or treadmills, or challenge yourself with low-impact strength movements like box step-ups, lunges, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, or jump rope. Aim to complete more reps when this workout is repeated. Perform one to two sets of six to 12 rounds of two minutes of work with 30 seconds of rest. Allow yourself to recover for two to three minutes between sets.

Jumping Rope

jump rope

This list of the best exercises to maintain weight loss wraps up with some jump rope. Jumping rope is an excellent exercise for boosting metabolism and sustaining weight loss due to its high-intensity nature and ability to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The rapid and continuous jumping motion elevates your heart rate, leading to increased calorie burn both during the workout and throughout the day.

Additionally, jumping rope helps improve cardiovascular fitness, agility, and coordination, contributing to overall calorie expenditure and fat loss. Its convenience and versatility make it a practical choice for integrating into various workout routines, making it an effective tool for maintaining weight loss progress over time.

Hold the handles in each hand, swing the rope overhead, and jump over it as it approaches. Land softly on the balls of your feet, keeping your knees slightly bent. Maintain a steady rhythm, jumping continuously without pause. Complete three to five sets of 15 to 45 seconds of jumping rope with 60 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

Jarrod Nobbe
Jarrod Nobbe is a USAW National Coach, Sports Performance Coach, Personal Trainer, and writer, and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 12 years. Read more about Jarrod
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