Burning calories is important, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. It can be difficult to figure out how you can burn more calories when doing body-weight exercises especially since you know that so many of your workouts revolve around just using body weight. If you’re like me and are always a little short on time, then it makes sense to try to find ways to burn more calories during your workouts. There are several ways that you can do this.
1. Jump, baby, jump.
Jump into your workout and add a few plyometric moves to your routine. These explosive exercises, also called power movements, are a great way to burn more calories throughout the day and get stronger at the same time.
The theory behind plyometrics is that they mimic real-life movement patterns. For example, when you jump up onto a bench or box at the gym, you’re simulating jumping over something in real life — like a fallen log on the trail or a puddle on the sidewalk. When you train your body for both strength and power (strength plus speed), it’s easier to do daily tasks safely and efficiently. And that means burning more calories every day.
And since these moves engage both large muscle groups (your legs) and smaller muscles (like your calves and core), you’ll be getting even more bang for your buck from every single rep.
Examples of plyometric exercises include:
- Jumping jack split squat
- Clap pushup
- Jumping lunges
- Squat jumps
- Box jumps
2. Try a new variation.
You’re a bodyweight beginner, but you want to keep your workouts interesting. If you’ve already mastered the standard push-up, consider a more advanced variation of the exercise.
Try this: Instead of keeping your hands on the ground during a push-up, place them on an elevated surface (like the edge of a couch or ottoman). The higher the surface is, the easier it will be to complete one rep.
If you’re looking for a harder workout, place your hands on lower surfaces so that they are closer to the ground. For example: placing your hands on two yoga blocks is harder than using two high platforms with sloped edges (pictured above).
3. Warm up with cardio.
- Warm up with cardio
As obvious as this may seem, making sure your muscles are warm before you start a workout will help decrease your chance of injury and improve your range of motion. It also helps increase blood flow to the body’s major muscle groups and lubricate joints so that they don’t feel stiff. If you’re doing a short bodyweight workout, two minutes is enough to get the heart pumping. If you’re planning on a longer session, go for five or 10 minutes at first. Some good examples of warming up include jumping rope, running in place, or doing some jumping jacks.
4. Skip the rest between exercises.
- Skip the rest between exercises. While it’s important to rest between sets, you don’t necessarily need to wait for your muscles to recover between exercises. Keep moving continuously and you’ll burn more calories and get your heart rate up.
Try a superset—for example, doing squats followed by push-ups (or vice versa). Don’t wait for your muscles to recover between exercises; instead, move continuously from one exercise to the next with only a short break (5-10 seconds) in between. After completing each superset, take a short rest before moving on.
5. Do circuits (or rounds).
The last way to burn more calories with bodyweight exercises is to do circuits or rounds.
Circuits are when you do a series of exercises one after another in a row with little to no rest between them. A round is just one loop through that circuit.
For example, you might have a circuit consisting of jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, and burpees (a squat thrust followed by a push-up). If you did 10 reps of each exercise without resting, then you’d have 1 round completed. If you repeated that round three more times for a total of 4 rounds, you’d have completed one circuit.
6. Jump back in for more cardio at the end of your workout.
When you feel like you can’t do even one more push-up, lunge or squat, it’s time to close out your workout with a high-intensity cardio blast that will burn calories and elevate your heart rate. After that quick cardio burst at the end of your workout, cool down with a slow jog.
High-intensity cardio training can be adding 30 seconds of burpees or jumping rope in between each exercise in the circuit. Or choose an interval timer setting on a treadmill or stationary bike to keep your heart rate up during the last part of your routine.
Don’t leave home without cooling down after a high-intensity cardio session. Your body needs to transition from an elevated heart rate back down to its normal state. Cooling down will help prevent muscle cramps, soreness and dizziness by gradually decreasing intensity rather than coming to an abrupt stop at the end of your workout.
The science is in, and the answer to burning more calories while doing body weight exercises has been found. All you have to do is include a bit of cardio (don’t overdo it) during rest periods, take one exercise and do lots of different variations, warm up with cardio, skip the rest period between sets, do circuits (or rounds), and finish up with more cardio at the end of your workout if you want to burn more extra burn more calories. We won’t tell you which ones will help you get that much closer to achieving your fitness goals and losing weight.