The 8 best exercises to lose weight and gain muscle


If your goal is to burn fat and lose weight, focus on strength exercises that target your entire body. Full body exercises are ideal because they work multiple muscle groups at once. This saves you time and energy. With the right approach to losing weight, you can burn fat and build muscle. Which will help you burn more calories, even while at rest. Plus, you’ll tone your body and likely start to feel better mentally and physically in the process. Your results depend on the quality of the effort you put in to achieve your goals, so be consistent and disciplined in your approach.

Let’s take a look at some of the best weight loss exercises bundled together for beginner, intermediate and advanced level workouts. For each exercise, do 2 to 5 sets of 6 to 15 repetitions.

8 exercises to lose weight and gain muscle


You can customize this classic strength exercise to suit your level and target different muscles as needed. Check out some variations of pushups for beginners.

Begin by lying on your stomach with your legs extended.
Place the palms of your hands on the floor just below your shoulders.
Press into your hands and heels as you lift your chest, torso, and legs off the floor.
Engage your core by holding this position for a second.
Slowly return to the starting point.


You can do lunges with or without weights. Once you master your form, you can move on to lunge forms.

From a standing position, move your right foot forward to form a 90-degree angle with your knee, making sure that your knee does not go past your ankle.
Position your back knee so that it is parallel to the floor.
Pause before returning your right leg to the starting position.
Do the exercise on the other side.

Squatting with body weight

Work on improving your posture with a bodyweight squat before moving on to weights. There are many forms of squats to mix up your routine.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
Engage your core and expand your chest by pushing your hips back and down as if you were going to sit down.
Stop as soon as your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Press down on your feet to return to the starting position.

Intermediate exercises

Squat with dumbbells

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and place your feet hip-width apart.
Bend your arms so that one end of each weight is touching your shoulders.
From there, lower your hips and stand almost in a squat position.
Explosively push through your heels to raise yourself to the starting position.

Chest work with dumbbells

You can also try this exercise, one arm at a time.

Lie on your back on a bench (or an exercise ball for extra stability).
Place your hands above your chest, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Extend your arms completely to the sides, just above the shoulders.
Pause before lowering the weights to the starting position.


To change up your routine, you can always modify your Burpees to be easier or harder.

Stand straight with your feet directly below your hips.
Squat and place your hands on the floor below your shoulders.
Raise your legs into a push-up position.
Push before you jump
Extend your arms above your head and jump up explosively.
Once you land, return to the squatting position.

Advanced Workouts


Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with a bar in front of your feet.
Lower your hips slightly down and back to pick up the bar.
Push your hips forward to rise to a standing position.
Place the tape just below the hips.
Align your spine and bend your knees slightly.
Push your hips back, bend your knees and return to the starting position, lowering the bar to the floor.
To target the muscles differently, you can do this exercise with dumbbells, which will give you an extra challenge in terms of shoulder stability and grip.

muscle seat

Lie on your back on a bench.
Place the barbell at chest level, keeping your hands shoulder width apart.
Engage your shoulders and torso as you push the bar onto the rack before lowering it so it touches your chest.
On the exhale, explosively push the bar back from the starting position.

How to create a weight loss training routine

Create a routine that helps you set and achieve realistic, safe, and sustainable weight loss goals.

Here are some tips for creating an effective weight loss program:

Weekly goal

Aim to exercise at least 200 minutes per week.

daily goal

Get physical activity every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, rather than doing some long exercise each week.

Exercise order

Do the hardest exercises first at the beginning of each exercise.

training intensity

Increase the intensity of your workouts and go for heavier weights for weight training.

recovery time

Give yourself 24-48 hours to recover between sessions targeting the same muscle groups.


Avoid fatigue and exhaustion by getting enough rest. This includes at least a full day of rest or light activity each week.


Sleep more when you need to improve your energy level.

Variety of exercises

Change your workouts at least once a month to avoid boredom and plateau. This allows you to keep your routine fresh and ensures that you target different muscle groups.

Other types of training

In addition to weightlifting and strength training, do other types of exercise such as aerobics, balance and stretching.

What diet should I follow to lose weight and gain muscle?

Diet and exercise go hand in hand with weight loss. Along with the exercise routine, one should follow a healthy diet and reduce calorie intake.

What is the recommended weight loss diet?

Healthy food

Choose healthy sources of protein, fiber and healthy fats, and reduce processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates, salt, and sugar.

Fruits and vegetables
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.


Drink plenty of water, healthy drinks, and unfiltered coffee or green tea to keep you hydrated, clean your system, and help you feel full and boost your metabolism. Offer healthy drinks such as herbal tea, coconut water and vegetable juices.

intermittent fasting

Try intermittent fasting, which consists of cycles of fasting and eating to help you reduce calories without compromising muscle mass.

behavioral changes

Try to change your behaviour, such as chewing more slowly, using smaller plates, and controlling your portion sizes. You can also eat attentively, without any distractions, and stop eating before you feel full.

Losing weight and gaining muscle: patience and regularity

You can achieve your goals of building muscle and losing weight if you have the motivation, discipline and willpower to follow a healthy diet and exercise program. Remember that change takes time, so be patient as it may take a few months to see results. To see your weight loss results, stick to at least 30 minutes of daily exercise and make healthy changes to your diet.

To maintain your results, follow your program even after you begin to see progress. Over time, you will feel more confident, healthy, and strong, which will motivate you to keep going.


Donnelly G et al. (2013). Aerobic exercise alone leads to clinically significant weight loss for men and women: the Midwest Exercise-2 trial.

Fargo K. (2015). Lifting weights to lose weight.

Willoughby D et al. (2018). Body composition changes in weight loss: strategies and supplements for maintaining lean body mass, a brief review.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In any case, the information provided cannot replace the advice of a health professional.

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