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5 Strength Workouts That Burn the Most Calories

A professional trainer shares some of his favorite workout routines to torch calories and build muscle.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

When it comes to burning calories, strength training might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, incorporating high-intensity strength workouts into your fitness routine can be an effective way to torch calories and build lean muscle. The following five strength workouts are ones I recommend for maximizing calorie burn.

Incorporating these strength workouts into your fitness routine can help you achieve your calorie-burning goals while also building strength and endurance. Remember to tailor the intensity and volume to your fitness level, gradually increasing as your strength improves.

Always consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new workout program, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions. Get ready to sweat, burn calories, and transform your body with these effective strength training workouts.

RELATED: Strength Training for Fat Loss? Here's How Heavy Your Weights Should Be

Workout 1: Metabolic Circuit

This workout is designed to elevate your heart rate and engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, creating an efficient calorie-burning session.

Exercise 1: Kettlebell Swings

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Kettlebell swings are a powerhouse exercise that engages your core, glutes, and hamstrings while also providing cardiovascular benefits.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both hands.
  2. Hinge at your hips, keeping a slight bend in your knees, and swing the kettlebell between your legs.
  3. Explosively swing the kettlebell up to chest height, engaging your hips and glutes.
  4. Complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Exercise 2: Burpees

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Burpees are a full-body exercise that combines strength and cardio, making them a calorie-burning powerhouse.

  1. Begin in a standing position, then squat down and place your hands on the ground.
  2. Jump your feet back into a plank position.
  3. Perform a push-up, then jump your feet back towards your hands.
  4. Explosively jump up, reaching your arms overhead.
  5. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Exercise 3: Jumping Lunges

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Jumping lunges are an excellent way to target your legs and boost your heart rate, leading to increased calorie expenditure.

  1. Start in a lunge position, with one foot forward and the other foot back.
  2. Jump explosively, switching your legs mid-air and landing in a lunge with the opposite foot forward.
  3. Complete 3 sets of 12-15 reps per leg.

RELATED: 9 Strength Exercises To Slow Muscle Aging

Workout 2: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with Weights

HIIT with weights combines the calorie-burning benefits of high-intensity intervals with the muscle-building effects of strength training.

Exercise 1: Dumbbell Thrusters

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Dumbbell thrusters work your entire body, combining a squat and an overhead press for a calorie-torching compound movement.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  2. Perform a squat, then explosively press the dumbbells overhead as you stand.
  3. Complete four sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Exercise 2: Renegade Rows

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Renegade rows target your back, core, and arms while keeping your heart rate elevated throughout the exercise.

  1. Begin in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Row one dumbbell up to your hip while stabilizing your body with the other arm.
  3. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps per arm.

Exercise 3: Box Jumps

illustration of box jump exercises to avoid after 50
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Box jumps are a dynamic exercise that engages your lower body and boosts your metabolism.

  1. Stand in front of a sturdy box or bench.
  2. Jump onto the box, landing softly with your knees slightly bent.
  3. Complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

 

RELATED: 10 Best Exercises To Stay Fit When You're Short on Time

Workout 3: Bodyweight Blast

This workout requires no equipment, making it accessible and efficient for burning calories.

Exercise 1: Mountain Climbers

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Mountain climbers are a dynamic, full-body exercise that elevates your heart rate and engages your core.

  1. Start in a plank position.
  2. Drive one knee towards your chest, then quickly switch legs in a running motion.
  3. Complete four sets of 20 to 30 seconds.

Exercise 2: Jump Squats

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Jump squats combine strength and explosive power, making them an excellent calorie-burning exercise.

  1. Perform a squat, then explosively jump, reaching your arms overhead.
  2. Land softly and immediately go into the next squat.
  3. Complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Exercise 3: Plank Jacks

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Plank jacks engage your core, shoulders, and legs while also increasing your heart rate.

  1. Start in a plank position.
  2. Jump your feet wide and then back together while maintaining a strong plank position.
  3. Complete three sets of 20 to 30 seconds.

 

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Burn an Extra 100 Calories a Day

Workout 4: Compound Strength Superset

This workout utilizes supersets, combining two exercises back-to-back with minimal rest, to keep your heart rate elevated.

Superset 1, Exercise 1: Deadlifts

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Deadlifts target your posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, resulting in a significant calorie burn.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell in front of you.
  2. Hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight, and lower the barbell towards the ground.
  3. Complete four sets of eight to 10 reps.

Superset 1, Exercise 2: Push-Ups

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Push-ups engage your chest, shoulders, and triceps while also activating your core.

  1. Start in a plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your chest towards the ground, then push back up.
  3. Complete 4 sets of 15-20 reps.

Superset 2, Exercise 1: Barbell Rows

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Barbell rows target your upper back, lats, and biceps, contributing to increased calorie expenditure.

  1. Bend at the hips, keeping your back flat, and row the barbell towards your lower chest.
  2. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Superset 2, Exercise 2: Jump Rope

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Jump rope is a simple yet effective way to boost your heart rate and burn major calories.

  1. Hold a jump rope with both hands.
  2. Jump over the rope while maintaining good posture.
  3. Complete three sets of one minute.

 

RELATED: 5 Quick & Easy Workouts To Stay in Great Shape Over the Holidays

 

Workout 5: Tabata Dumbbell Complex

Tabata training involves 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for four minutes. This high-intensity approach maximizes calorie burn.

Exercise 1: Dumbbell Squat Press

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Dumbbell squat presses target your legs, shoulders, and core, making them an ideal calorie-burning compound movement.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  2. Perform a squat, then press the dumbbells overhead as you stand.
  3. Complete four sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.

Exercise 2: Renegade Rows

dumbbell renegade row
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Renegade rows, mentioned earlier, provide a full-body workout, contributing to increased calorie expenditure.

  1. Begin in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Row one dumbbell up to your hip while stabilizing your body with the other arm.
  3. Complete four sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.

Exercise 3: Jumping Lunges

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Jumping lunges, also mentioned earlier, are included in this complex for their ability to elevate heart rate and burn calories.

  1. Start in a lunge position, with one foot forward and the other foot back.
  2. Jump explosively, switching your legs mid-air and landing in a lunge with the opposite foot forward.
  3. Complete four sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
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