To shred fat & build muscle at the same time means having many repetitions & short rest. Choosing the right exercises and workout plans can help you achieve your desired fitness results. There’s a variety of exercises to choose from so it comes down to which you prefer and the workout equipment available to you. If you have a great, healthy diet locked down, here are 10 workouts that shred fat and build muscle at the same time!
1. Push-Up Variety
Push-ups are a great exercise to shred far and build muscle. Not to mention they can be done anywhere! Laying face down on the ground you’ll raise your torso up off the ground with your arms, about shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself to the ground but don’t let your body touch, get to a point where your nose is just about to touch, then push yourself up back to the starting position.
If you put your hands closer to your sides so your elbows run parallel with your body, then you’ll focus much more on your triceps. You can use a “push-up board” to help you have adequate spacing, easily try different variations, and they can have less strain on your wrist as well. There’s a number of variations you can do, but whatever you choose work to do as many repetitions as you can in a 30-second interval. Take a short, one-minute max rest then go again and try for three sets overall. You should be getting your heart pumping and your arms and chest nice and sore to know you’re working to shred fat and build muscle at the same time.
2. Renegade Row
A Renegade Row is similar to a push-up in terms of the starting position, but the movement is almost the opposite. You’ll be in the push-up starting position with your hands positioned about shoulder-width and your feet behind you keeping your back as flat as possible. But this time you’ll be holding onto either dumbbells or kettlebells. You’ll alternate arms and row one of your weights up toward your side while balancing on your other hand and feet. Slowly bring the weight back down to the ground then alternate sides. Start with a low weight to get used to the movement and balance needed. This is a great exercise to shred fat and build muscle because you’ll be activating your back and biceps for the row as well as your shoulders, triceps, and core to keep yourself balanced.
3. Seated Arnold Press
This exercise is great for working a few different muscles in a longer movement that would overall also work to shred fat. Sit on an adjustable bench at 90-degrees with your back straight up. Pick up your dumbbells (start with low weight) and hold them up so your arms also nearly make a 90-degree angle. Your palms should be facing toward you, dumbbells about level with your face, and with your elbows almost touching across your chest- this is starting position. Extend your elbows out to your sides and at the same time overhead press the dumbbells until your elbows are nearly locked and now your palms are facing away from you. Do the motion in reverse and go back to the starting position. If you really want to build muscle and shred fat at the same time then take advantage of the amount of movement in this exercise and go for repetitions over the amount of weight you can use.
4. Pull-ups/ Chin-Ups
Pull-ups can make an awesome exercise to shred fat and build up muscle at the same time. You’ll need a strong bar in a room or a doorway pull-up bar that can sustain your weight. Jump up and grab the bar with your palms facing away from you for a pull-up. Activate the middle of your upper back and use your biceps to pull yourself up and get your chin over the bar. Lower yourself back down and back to hanging on the bar. The alternative is a chin-up which means your palms will be facing toward you when you’re hanging from the bar.
Don’t be dissuaded if you can’t do a pull-up or chin-up yet because they are hard! You’ll get there you just need to start slow and work up to it. There are assisted pull-up/tricep dip stations in some gyms where you’ll put your feet on a bar with a selected weight and it will help you work on your pul-ups.
Burpees make for a great full-body workout that is perfect to shred fat and build muscle at the same time. Starting position will be standing straight up, feet shoulder-width apart. Then squat down and put your hands on the ground in front of you and keep your feet out behind you. Do a push-up then bring your feet back up under your body and jump out of a crouched position as high as you can into the air. This can be classified as an aerobic exercise (cardio) but with the added squat, push-up, and jump motions you’ll be working a number of muscles as well!
Squats are a great exercise that can help you shred fat and also pack on serious muscle. It’s another exercise where repetitions are more important than heavy weight if you want to maximize fat loss. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and feet pointed slightly outwards. You want to look straight, or slightly up, as you lower yourself down careful not to have your knees pass over your feet. If you are truly unfamiliar with squats, start with no weight and just do bodyweight squats.
Ideally, if you want to shred fat with squats you need a good mix of many repetitions with a little bit of weight. When you get your legs around a 90-degree angle, push through your heels and raise yourself back up straight to the starting position. Don’t let your back bend too much or your heels come off the ground! You can start with bodyweight squats, then maybe use a dumbbell and hold that in front of you underneath your chin. If you have access to and would like to use a barbell that’s okay as long as you remember that repetitions are more important than heavy weight.
7. Dumbbell Lunge
Dumbbell lunges are another great exercise to help you build muscle and shed fat. They’re very straightforward but are a great workout for you, and can basically be done anywhere as long as you have dumbbells or kettlebells. Take a big step forward lowering your back leg until your knee is almost touching the ground. Keep your back straight, head up, and alternate legs as you go. If you’re unfamiliar with this or have trouble keeping your balance then start with no weight. But the key here is to try and do as many lunges as you can in a row to really get your heart pumping. It’s a great lower body workout, but be careful not to strain yourself too hard as (like many other exercises) there is a possibility for injury so don’t push yourself too much.
8. Mountain Climbers
These make for a great cardio workout that will also build you some muscle. Starting in the familiar push-up position with your elbows nearly locked, back flat, and feet out behind you. Bring one of your knees up to your chest, then back out, and alternate. Increase your speed to get into a rhythm of “climbing” up a mountain, in case you were wondering where the name came from. This exercise will really get your heart pumping and will help in burning calories to help you shred fat, and also strengthen your ab and core muscles.
9. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches, similar to mountain climbers, are a great cardio ab workout that is perfect to shred fat and build muscle. Lay down on the ground and extend your legs out holding them off the ground. Put your hands onto the sides of your head with bent elbows. Bring your right knee up above your body over your chest, then twist your torso to touch your left elbow to your right knee. Put your right leg back out and do the same with your left. Time yourself for 30 seconds and see how many repetitions you can do!
10. Battle Rope
The battle rope workout might be one of the best exercises that help you shred fat and build muscle. The combination of movement and resistance makes it great for boosting your metabolic burn rate thus you are burning more fat and packing on more muscle. There are many different variations you can do with battle ropes so here’s a webpage dedicated to it if you’re interested. The most common use is the “biceps wave” where you’ll wave the ropes up and down as fast as possible alternating arms.
The key is to try and get as high and as fast a rhythm as possible. You’ll have slightly bent knees as well as slightly sitting back to use your core to keep you balanced and upright. Don’t skip this exercise if you’re wanting to shred fat and build muscle!
What are your favorite workouts to build muscle and also shred fat? Share them in the comments below!
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I have a passion for helping others and see journalism as a great way to reach and impact many people. Born in Texas but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area! Then with a short detour in Boulder, Colorado to get my bachelor's in Journalism with a minor in political science. I'm a determined, motivated individual striving to make a difference in this world. I have hopes to play a role in the continued development of journalism and in maximizing efforts to inform and inspire the public. Check out my articles on Society19!