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Top Three Exercises that Burn the Most Calories

By Jason Jensen ; Updated July 18, 2017

Walking, jogging, swimming and cycling — these are some of the common exercises people do when they want to burn fat, but they actually don't burn as much as you might think. Long bouts of cardio will burn fat but not as much as short, intense bursts. Exercises that burn the most fat and calories are big, compound movements that challenge the largest muscles in your body. They get your heart up rapidly and push your body to the limits.


This should come as no surprise. You'll never see a fat sprinter running down the track. Sprinting pushes the large muscles of your legs to their max and raises your heart close to its max in a very short amount of time. The American College of Sports Medicine says interval training, such as sprinting, that involves quick bursts of maximum-intensity exercise alternating with moderate intensity recovery periods, consumes calories faster than a steady level of intensity during the same time period.


Burpees are a squat thrust with a pushup at the bottom of the movement and a vertical jump at the top. When you do a burpee, you use your arms, chest, legs, back and core — you really are working out every major muscle in your body. That's what makes the burpee such a great fat-burning exercise. Crank out 10 or 20 burpees as fast as you can and you'll be amazed by how quickly you start huffing and puffing.


A thruster is a combination of a squat and a shoulder press. Again, this exercise works all of the major muscle groups in your body in one explosive, compound movement. Because this exercise is so taxing, it's important that you don't try to do it with as much weight as you can normally squat or press. You can do it with a barbell or dumbbells. If you do it with a barbell, use a squat rack and have someone spot you for safety. Hold two dumbbells right over your shoulders, as if you're about to do a shoulder press, squat down and as you come back up press the dumbbells over your head.

Fat-burning Circuit

Here's how you can combine these exercises into a circuit that will burn a tremendous amount of fat in little time: Take a pair of dumbbells outside and find a wide open area. Sprint for 50 yards as fast as you can, then drop to the ground and do 10 burpees. Rest for 10 to 15 seconds, then do 10 thrusters. Rest for 30 seconds and then repeat the circuit for a total of three to five times.

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