5 Home Exercises Which Build Muscle To Burn Fat

No gym membership? No worries. All you need is a little know-how and you can start burning fat using your own bodyweight. Here's how.

Exercises which build muscle to burn fat


Smart exercisers know this one fundamental truth to building a leaner physique: the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn (even at rest), making it easier to reveal an athletic body.


Building lean mass means using resistance training. Traditionally, this has meant heading to the gym to use barbells, dumbbells and heavy weights. But more and more people - from home exercisers to elite athletes - are coming to see the benefits of simple, solid bodyweight training. With the right exercise choice, and great technique, bodyweight exercises can provide plenty of resistance, helping to build muscle mass and maintain the muscle you've already got.


The key is targeting your entire body with your bodyweight training. We've chosen 5 exercises you can do at home with the help of your Pull Up Mate.



Wide-grip pull ups

Targets: the lats, biceps and core


Grip the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Have your hands wider than shoulder-width. Think about pulling your elbows down, and sending your sternum up to meet the bar. If you've ever done lat pull-downs at the gym, this is a similar movement. But rather than pulling a weight down towards you, you're pulling yourself up to a fixed point. The movement starts in the big lat muscles of your back and should work your entire back. Your biceps and your core will get a workout, too.


Target reps: lots of people can't do more than one pull up at first. If that's you, don't worry! Start with a modified version (see below), but throw in one full pull-up effort every set. Pull ups are a movement that can be done frequently, so try working on them every time you exercise.



Bodyweight dips

Targets: the chest and shoulders


Place your hands on the parallel bars, shoulder width apart and with palms facing in. Support your weight on your hands with your arms locked out, as you lift your bodyweight onto your hands. From here, lean forward slightly and dip your bodyweight down, bending at your elbows and pointing them backwards. Press up from the lowered position. You should feel this in your chest and in the front of your shoulders.

Target reps:
once you can do this movement safely and in a controlled manner, aim for 6, 10 or 12 reps. The shoulders are a relatively unstable muscle group so don't take this to fatigue levels.



Inverted rows

Targets: the back


Lie underneath the bar, facing upwards, with the bar positioned over your face and at arms-length. Grip the bar with either an overhand grip, or underhand. Overhand will act more like a pull up (working the back muscles), underhand is slightly easier and will also work your biceps. Keeping your body very straight, pull your chest towards the bar, keeping your feet on the ground. Hold at the top and lower back down slowly.


Target reps: this is an easier version of a pull up, so you may find you can perform quite a few reps. Keep your form tight, concentrate on squeezing your muscles at the top of the movement, and lowering down slowly. Then add more reps.



Push ups

Targets: the chest, triceps and shoulders


Everyone knows how to do a push up. But do they? A properly-performed push up is worth 10 shoddy ones! Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, and keep your body very straight throughout the movement. Think about sending your chest to the floor, without dipping your head. Hold for a second at the bottom, and then press back up firmly using your arms and shoulders, thinking about squeezing your chest together. Try to slow the movement down to get the most out of it.


Target reps: 4 good press ups will be better for you than 12 poor ones. Aim for 10-12 but only up your reps once your existing push ups are good quality. If regular push ups aren't challenging enough for you, move your hands closer together and send your elbows out to the side as you lower down.



Leg raises

Targets: the core, abdominals and hip flexors


Hold the bar overhead with your palms facing towards you. Keeping your legs straight and together, crunch at the abdominals to lift both legs out in front of you. Make sure the movement is controlled, and try to minimise swing. Think of it like the kind of leg raise you'd do lying on the floor, and try to keep that form.


Target reps: 6-8 will be great for these.


---Modify To Progress---


If these exercises are too challenging at first, it's easy to adapt them.

Rather than wide-grip pull ups, do underhand chin ups (with your hands narrower, and palms facing towards you), or start with assisted pull ups (using a band).

If full push ups allude you at first, use a modified version on your knees, or place a gym ball under your feet to reduce the angle (but concentrate on the fundamental push up form, sending your sternum towards the ground and pushing back up firmly).

Leg raises can be a difficult exercise, so why not use knee raises instead (pulling both knees into the chest to work the abs and core)?


With bodyweight training, you will soon adapt to the resistance and be able to progress up through the modifications until you're doing pulls ups, press ups and leg raises like a pro! What's your favourite home bodyweight exercise?