Author: Nicholas Gregory, MA, CSCS
When starting a new weight loss program, the number of exercise tips, tricks, and best practices may quickly become overwhelming. At Noom, we believe the most important aspect of any behavior change is the sustainability. It’s important to try different things until you find what works best for you! No single exercise is best for everyone and it largely depends on goals, background, and access to equipment. Despite that, there are a number of exercises that we believe are effective and efficient in any weight loss workout plan.
Let’s dive into the Top 10 exercises (in no particular order) to include in your current weight loss workout plan!
Squats play an important role in any exercise program! A basic movement pattern, squats work the muscles of the lower body (glutes, quads, and hip flexors) as well as multiple abdominal muscles. Often blamed for injury, squats are safe and important when performed correctly.
Simple safety cues for the squat include sitting your hips back (like sitting in a chair), keeping your feet flat, and allowing your knees to track in line with the toes. Squats build balance and functional strength and should be included in any exercise routine!
2. Push ups
An upper body movement, push ups develop strength through the pectoral (chest) muscles as well as the triceps. When done properly, push ups should be done in a plank position that allows you to slowly lower your chest to the ground and press back up to full extension of the arms. A useful cue for safe push ups is to keep the elbows tucked close to the body as you descend and drive yourself back up.
Whether on the water or on a machine, rowing is a great way to burn calories, which is important in any weight loss program! Due to the seated nature and low impact movement movement, rowing takes the pressure off of joints and muscles and allows for high intensity low risk cardio. Some simple cues for efficient rowing include keeping your core engaged, sitting straight, and driving through the heels.
Although this exercise shares a name with an internet fad of laying flat on inanimate objects, planking is actually an important and beneficial exercise! Planks develop core strength which is important for safe and pain free movement. The core, is more than just “abs” and encompasses muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and hip flexors.
Planks can be performed in a number of ways including on the toes, knees, hands, or elbows. The most important safety cues for planking include keeping your shoulders stacked over wrists/elbows and drawing the belly button in. This engages the core and keeps the back in a strong and safe position.
5. Jump rope
Jumping rope is a classic cardiovascular exercise. Made famous by boxers and fighters, jumping rope should be a go-to for anyone looking for fast and efficient cardio! Jumping rope is great because it does not require a lot of equipment or space. Some effective ways to utilize jumping rope include intervals of work and rest. Grab a rope and get to jumping!
Don’t let the funny name fool you! Burpees are an effective and difficult full body exercise. Simply put, burpees are a combination of a squat, push up, and jumping jack. They involve placing the hands on the ground, kicking the feet back into a pushup position, completing a push up, and then jumping the feet back up to complete the rep. When done quickly with proper technique, no other movement rivals burpees for calories burned or overall full body workout efficiency!
The deadlift is a weight training movement that works the hamstrings (back of legs), glutes, and back. Think of deadlifts as the motion of picking something up off the ground. A great exercise to build functional and overall strength, the deadlift can be done with barbells, dumbbells, or even a bag of groceries!
Lunges are a lower body movement that primarily work the quads (front of the thigh), though they also benefit the glutes, calves, and ankles. Lunges are a great exercise for developing balance, coordination, and strength. Some safety cues for lunges include keeping the chest tall, back straight, and knee over the ankle, to ensure undue stress is not placed on the knee joint!
9. Pull up
A goal for many embarking on a fitness journey, pull ups are a mark of upper body strength. Pull ups work the muscles of the back, shoulders, and forearms. When completed properly, pull ups should start with arms fully extended and end with the chin over the pull up bar. Some simple safety cues include squeezing the elbows to the hips, to engage the back muscles, and protect the shoulders.
10. Glute bridge
One of the best exercises to target the glutes, glute bridges are a prone (laying flat) exercise that is safe and efficient. To perform a glute bridge, simply lay on your back, bend your knees, keep your feet flat on the floor, and squeeze your hips up towards the sky. In doing so, the glutes are isolated and able to develop strength and balance.
Although these are all great exercises, it is important to remember that exercise alone is not the answer for sustainable weight loss. Research has shown that long-term weight loss is far more effective when diet and exercise are combined in a sustainable way. Interested in finding true sustainability? Try your 14 day risk free trial today!