"Which exercises should I do to lose body fat?"

Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter

"Which exercises should I be doing?" Compound, isolation, full body programmes, body part split, which reps, sets, tempo?


Our answer to everyone with this question is - what is your goal and weight training experience?

How we design a programme for someone with 10 years experience as a confident lifter, will differ completely to someone who has just started.

How we design a programme for a man who specifically wants a wider back and bigger shoulders, will differ completely to someone who is looking for general fat loss.

There are so many variables to consider, which makes it so difficult to give a set answer to such a wide audience.

However, here are some guidelines to think about.

If you're looking for general fat loss and you're pretty new to training, you want to be picking exercises that utilise as much muscle mass as possible. You would also benefit from a full body approach, where you are moving from upper body to lower body exercises throughout the workout.

You want to be trying to include as many compound exercises as possible.  These are ones where you will be using as many muscles as possible. Examples of these are, pull downs and variations, rows, squats, split squats/lunges, pressing movements, deadlifts and hip extension movements such as back extension and romanian deadlifts.

As a beginner, your body will respond so well to multi joint exercises, you won't have to worry about individual muscles. As you get more experienced, you can then start to split body parts up.

If your goal is muscle building or fat loss and you have a specific shape you would like to achieve at the end of it, you do need to be including a broad range of isolation exercises. Yes you will get overall growth by using the big lifts (squats, bench press etc), but to work on weak areas you do have to work them in isolation. If you're weak at chin ups for example, I have had huge success from working specifically on my brachioradialis (forearm) for a period of time. Not only did this help increase my chin up (as it was a weak link in the exercise), but it also changed the shape to the lower portion of my arm. Simply by getting stronger in the arms, my chin up improved, as did the shape of my back. 

I have to disagree with people who think that you should always focus on compound lifts/exercises. If you want to change your body aesthetically and proportionally you do have to add isolation.

Too many people copy workouts from magazines that aare purely focussed around isolation exercises, when they really need to be putting meat on their frame with the big exercises like squats first. On the other hand, people with the mass who lack the shape, need to look at refining their physique with more isolation work.

Think about your goal, think about your training experience and work from there. 

Do you need help with your training programme? Get in touch for a FREE consultation to find out more about our 1 to 1 personal training services.  If you are not able to join us in Nottingham, you can also consider our Online Coaching Service by clicking HERE

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