Want to lose weight? These are the five best exercises to burn calories

FYI, it doesn’t include running.

Man doing tricep dips on chair
(Image credit: Getty)

When we're trying to figure out how to lose weight and the exercises that will help us burn the most calories our minds may immediately turn to running. It’s true, running is one of the most effective ways to burn calories but, this type of workout is a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it. If you sit in the latter camp, don’t worry, as we’ve found five alternative exercises that will get your metabolisms fired up and there’s absolutely no mention of the ‘R’ word.

When it comes to trying to lose weight, making sure you’re in a calorie deficit (where you eat fewer calories than your body burns in a day) is first and foremost key. But, combine this with some consistent, heart-raising exercise and you’ll really start to notice the changes in your body and your overall fitness levels.

Although Mirafit have shared 10 exercises in this video, we’ve picked the five that we think are the easiest and most accessible to do at home. They’re designed to elevate your heart rate, so that you can burn more calories, and all you need is a skipping rope, a chair, or you could even use your stairs. Here’s what they are:


This may take you back to the playground, but skipping is a great full body workout. Plus, did you know you can burn between 15 to 20 calories per minute doing it? It’s great for your cardiovascular health too, plus it’s a really cost-effective way to keep fit. We've also got a great 10 minute jump rope workout that you can save for a rainy day.

#2:Tricep dips

No fancy equipment is needed for these, just a chair or you can even use your stairs. If you're not sure how to do them, don't worry, as we've broken down exactly how to do a tricep dip. However, our top tips are to make sure your hands are facing forwards and to rest on your heels, not your feet. This will enable you to push through your triceps more, as opposed to using your whole body. 

#3:Glute bridges

Instead of resting your feet on the floor, pop them up on your sofa or chair. Why? Because it will make your hamstrings and core work a lot harder. Push your hips up and hold for a second before lowering back down. 

#4:Decline dynamic planks

We’ll be honest, these are harder than a standard plank, but that’s why they’re included in this article. Unlike a traditional plank where your feet are on the floor, these require your feet to be placed on something that's elevated (you can use your sofa or a low chair). Once in your plank position and resting on your forearms, push up on one hand, so that you straighten that arm, then do the same on the other. Lower yourself back to your forearms again and repeat. This works your core, upper body and the decline position ramps up the intensity.

#5:Pylo step-up

These may require a little concentration, but they’re a brilliant calorie burner, and basically the elite version of a ‘step-up’. Pop a chair against the wall with your right foot on it, while keeping your left foot on the floor. Explosively push through your right foot, lifting your left foot up as you do so. Land back on your chair with the same foot. Repeat this for 30 seconds on one side before swapping. It’s an explosive movement and a little like skipping, only on one side.

Perform each exercise for a minute, so if there's a movement that requires you to do alternative sides, do 30 seconds on each. Aim for as many reps as possible within this time frame. Once you've completed the five rounds, give yourself a 60 second rest, then try and repeat the entire workout three times.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.