This Is Exactly How You Should Strength Train if You Want to Lose Weight


  • Lat pulldowns
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Seated cable rows
  • Hyperextensions


  • Preacher curls
  • Incline curls
  • Concentration curls


  • Standing calf raises
  • Donkey calf raises
  • Seated calf raises


  • Bench press
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Cable crossovers

Focus On Higher Reps On The Big Lifts

Old-time bodybuilders relied heavily on machines, cables and isolation movements in their pre-season programs. Compound movements (such as the power lifts) and multiple compound movements (such as the Olympic lifts), however, burn more calories.

Machines and isolation movements just don’t stress as much muscle and don’t burn as many calories or fat as a result. You should, however, include machine and isolation movements to bring up any lagging body parts.

When to Do It

Research shows that two strength training sessions per week produce similar results as three sessions a week, according to the study. So if you’re new to the workout game, you can aim for two days of strengthening all of your major muscle groups (upper body, lower body, and abs).

It’s a manageable schedule that you’ll be less likely to bail on, and you can always add a third sesh once your routine becomes second nature. (Work these moves from Women’s Health’s Look Better Naked DVD into your weight-loss routine.)

Try this total-body strength training routine during your two or three workouts a week or use some of the moves from this video: 

American College of Sports Medicine experts recommend starting out by performing each strength-training exercise with 60 to 70 percent of maximum resistance. Translation: You should be able to do the move (with proper form) 10 times.

Once 10 reps feel too easy, shoot for 15 reps with the same weight. Once you’ve mastered 15 reps, increase the weight by 5 percent. That means you’d increase eight-pound dumbbells to 12 and your 10-pound dumbbells to 15.

The study author recommends completing two to four sets of each move, resting for 30 seconds between sets. If you’re not feeling it, though, previous research shows that even one round of each move will give you results, according to the study.

Adding resistance training to your routine has been shown to increase lean body weight by one pound per month and decrease fat by one pound per month, which comes out to, uh, zero pounds lost per month.

So, don’t depend on the scale to track your progress. Instead, take measurementsor use your clothes as a guide. We’d take a pound of muscle over a pound of fat any day, and if you’re not convinced, these before and after pics should do the trick.


  • Dumbbell military press
  • Side Laterals
  • Bent over laterals
  • Cable laterals

The Modern Strength Training/Fat Loss Program

Below is a strength training/fat loss program that (coupled with diet and high intensity interval training) will get you big, lean and powerful. Perform this program 3 times a week.

Modern Strength Training/Fat Loss Program



Front Barbell Squat

To perform this exercise, clean a barbell to your shoulders, perform a front squat, drop the bar to hang clean position and repeat till you achieve 8-10 reps.

3 sets, 8-10 Reps


4 sets, 10-12 Reps


4 sets, to failure (AMRAP)


3 sets, to failure (AMRAP)


3 sets, 10-12 Reps


3 sets, to failure (AMRAP)


4 sets, 15-20 Reps


1 set, 50 Reps (In fewest sets possible)

The above program is very tough, but if you build a bigger engine, then you’ll burn more fuel. Build bigger muscles: burn more fat.


  • Machine Hack squats
  • Lunges
  • Leg extensions
  • Leg curls


  • Skullcrushers
  • Triceps pressdowns
  • Dumbbell kickbacks

As you can see a typical pre-contest routine involves more machines, dumbbells and isolation movements. Rest periods would start out at 1 minute and decrease by ten seconds from week to week until you hit 20 seconds of rest. Each body part would be trained 3 times a week.

Although bodybuilders have followed this type of training for decades, this doesn’t mean it’s the optimal cutting program. Unless you bulked up to gigantic proportions during the off-season or are on a cycle of steroids, you would most likely overtrain from the high volume of sets and exercises on the above program. This type of training coupled with dieting would make you lose muscle rather than retain it.

Rather than rely on high volume and drugs to burn fat, the natural bodybuilder should add some modern refinements to his or her strength training/fat loss strategy:

  • Superset between upper and lower body movements through «mini-circuits»

  • Focus on free weights, compound and multiple compound lifts, and use isolation movements only to bring up lagging parts

  • Train each body part 3 times a week, but lower the overall volume by spreading the sets and exercises throughout the week


Although circuit training is a great strength training routine for fat loss, logistically, it is not always feasible. Anyone who has tried circuit training in the gym knows how pissed off people can be when you hog up multiple machines and stations.

This Is Exactly How You Should Strength Train if You Want to Lose Weight

Using mini-circuits gives you the powerful fat loss effect of circuit training without the logistical nightmare of procuring and securing multiple exercise stations and equipment.

To get around this, however, one can simply employ a «mini-circuit.» This is where you alternate between an upper and lower body exercise. Rather than hog up multiple machine and stations and be interrupted by interlopers, you can stay at one or two stations and use one or two pieces of equipment.

Using mini-circuits gives you the powerful fat loss effect of circuit training without the logistical nightmare of procuring and securing multiple exercise stations and equipment. A typical exercise combination I use with my clients is a lower body exercise, such as the squat, coupled with pushups.

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