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5 Trainer-Approved Strength Workouts for Weight Loss

Seriously upgrade your body and fitness with these quick routines!
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

There's a myth I hear in the gym: "Weights for muscle, cardio for fat loss." But this cliché is horribly incorrect. Instead, it should say: "Weights for muscle, weights for fat loss." Why? Because the absolute best way to burn a ton of calories and fat is to use strength training. I'm here to share five of the very best strength workouts for weight loss you can start doing today.

Strength training creates a bigger demand on your body, which leads to more calories burned and faster results. In addition, as you add muscle, you actually increase how many calories you burn throughout the day, even when you're not exercising! And lastly, resistance training improves your body composition because you'll preserve your muscle as you lose fat, instead of losing muscle and fat together.

Below, check out five routines that are trainer-approved for serious fat loss and incredible results. Best of all, they're quick, simple, and guaranteed to turn your body into a machine. Keep reading for the best strength workouts for weight loss, and when you're finished, don't miss these 11 Exercises Men Should Do Every Day for Weight Loss.

Workout #1: Beginner Strength

A1) Goblet Squats, Sets: 5, Reps: 8

close-up woman goblet squat with heavy dumbbell

Grab the end of one dumbbell in both hands, and hold it by your chest with your elbows underneath. Stand shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly out. Start the movement by sitting backward and spreading your knees apart. Descend below parallel while keeping your lower back flat. At the bottom, drive through your heels and keep your knees apart.

A2) TRX Inverted Rows, Sets: 5, Reps: 8

TRX row illustration

Grab TRX straps from underneath with your feet closer to the anchor point. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull yourself up while keeping your body straight like a plank.

B1) TRX Pushups, Sets: 3, Reps: 10

woman doing TRX pushups, concept of exercises for a firm waistline after 30

Face away from the anchor point with TRX handles in each hand. Get in a pushup position with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Keep your lower back flat, and don't let your hips sag. Lower yourself and keep your elbows close to your body as you descend.

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B2) Hip Bridges, Sets: 3, Reps: 10

woman doing glute bridges

Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Drive through your heels, and squeeze your glutes to push your hips up. Repeat. Do not use your lower back you pull yourself up.

Workout #2: Advanced Strength

A1) Trap Bar Deadlifts, Sets: 10, Reps: 5

trap bar deadlift

Stand at the center of a trap bar with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Keep your knees soft, and bend at your hip, grabbing the handles. Keep your shins perpendicular to the ground and your lower back flat. Drive through your heels, and push your hips forward to stand straight up. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Reverse the movement to lower the weight.

A2) Dumbbell Overhead Presses, Sets: 10, Reps: 5

woman holding dumbbells doing overhead press for dancer arms workout

Grab two dumbbells, and hold them by your shoulders. Keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed, and push the dumbbells directly overhead. At the top, your biceps should be next to your ears. Don't lean back or arch your lower back.

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A3) Chest-Supported Dumbbell Rows, Sets: 10, Reps: 5

chest-supported rows

Set an adjustable bench to a short incline, and lie face down with a dumbbell in each hand. Start the movement by pulling your shoulder blades together, and row. Don't let your elbow pull past your ribcage.

Workout #3: Bodyweight Only

A1) Split Squats, Sets: 5, Reps: 12 each leg

split squats

Stand with one foot about three feet in front of the other so that your knees make two 90-degree angles at the bottom. Drop straight down, and drive with your front heel. Don't let your front knee drift past your toe.

A2) Spiderman Pushups, Sets: 5, Reps: 6 each leg

spiderman pushup exercise

As you lower yourself in a pushup, pull one knee out to the side and try to touch that same side's elbow. Get as close to the ground as you can, and push up while bringing the leg back to its original position. Alternate legs.

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A3) Wall Slides, Sets: 5, Reps: 15

Stand with your head, shoulders, and glutes against a wall. Press your forearms flush against the wall. (There should be no space between your skin and the wall). Squeeze your glutes, and press your lower back against the wall while sliding your forearms up and down the wall.

B1) Crab Walks, Sets: 3, Reps: 30 seconds

woman doing crab walks

Start in the "crab position" with your hands and feet flat on the ground, your chest facing up, your knees bent, your hips an inch from the ground, your arms straight, your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and your fingers pointing behind you. Crawl forward by taking a tiny step with your right arm and left leg at the same time, and then another step with your left arm and right leg. Alternate while keeping your hips low and your chest up.

B2) Mountain Climbers, Sets: 3, Reps: 30 seconds

mountain climbers

Get into a pushup position. Keep your core tight, and lift each knee toward your chest in an alternating way. (It's like you're sprinting in place.) Keep your head up and your hips low.

Workout #4: Under 15 Minutes

A1) Reverse Lunges, Sets: 3, Reps: 6 each leg

woman Weighted Lunges

Take a long step back—long enough so that your knees make two 90-degree angles at the bottom—and pull yourself back up with your forward leg. Start with dumbbells and advance to a barbell in either the back squat or front squat position.

A2) Seated Cable Rows, Sets: 3, Reps: 12

woman seated cable row illustration

Start the movement by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Row and touch the bar to your chest with every repetition. Do NOT lean backward to cheat—you'll put unnecessary stress on your lower back. To emphasize your back muscles, use a wide grip; to get more arm work, use a narrow grip.

B1) Dips, Sets: 3, Reps: 12

fit, muscular man doing tricep dips, concept of bodyweight exercises for men to build a fit upper body

Get on a dip bar, keep your chest out, and lower yourself until your elbows make a 90-degree angle. At the bottom, drive back up. To keep pressure off your neck, look at a spot on the ground a few feet in front of you.

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B2) Stir-The-Pot, Sets: 3, Reps: 8 each direction

stir the pot stability ball exercise

Get into a plank position on a stability ball. While keeping your torso still, move your forearms in a circle. Then, switch directions. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and don't let your lower back sag.

Workout #5: Cardio Strength

Set a timer for 20 minutes, and do as many rounds as you can with as little rest as possible:

A1) Goblet Squats, Reps: 6

illustration of dumbbell goblet squats

Grab the end of one dumbbell in both hands, and hold it by your chest with your elbows underneath. Stand shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly out. Start the movement by sitting backward and spreading your knees apart. Descend below parallel while keeping your lower back flat. At the bottom, drive through your heels and keep your knees apart.

A2) Pull-ups, Reps: 6

strong fitness woman doing pull-ups strength-building exercises

Grab a pull-up bar with your palms facing away, and start by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pull yourself up and lead with your chest.

A3) Dumbbell Bench Presses, Reps: 6

Dumbbell Chest Press

Lie on a bench with your chest up, your shoulders squeezed together, and your feet flat on the ground. Drive the dumbbells upward, keeping your shoulders back. Drive through your heels, as well, keeping your glutes on the bench.

A4) Lateral Heiden, Reps: 6

Start in an athletic position. Jump as far and as high as you can toward one side (perpendicular to you) and softly land on that leg in a controlled manner. Pause briefly, and repeat in the opposite direction.

A5) Ab Wheel Rollouts, Reps: 6

ab wheel rollout exercise to shrink a flabby stomach

While on both knees, grab an ab wheel, and push forward. Descend as low as you can, then pull yourself back up. Make sure to keep your arms straight and your hips extended the entire time.

Anthony J. Yeung
Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert featured in Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of GroomBuilder, the destination for men who want to transform their bodies for their weddings. Join the free 5-day course to burn fat and build muscle for the big day! Read more about Anthony