Running at 6.0 miles per hour can burn 10 calories a minute.
But it’s not the only way to burn a lot of calories for exercise.
When a strength training program for fat loss is designed intelligently, we can burn more calories while burning more fat and building more muscle.
Here are my favorite three exercise pairings that burn more calories than running.
The following exercises are called complexes. A complex is two or more exercises done one after another without rest and can be strategically used as a workout or within a workout to maximize calorie burn and strength gain.
1.Barbell Romanian Deadlift / Bent Over Row Complex
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is an excellent exercise for your hamstrings and glutes that also strengthens your core and back, while the Bent Over Row targets your back and core while also working your hamstrings and glutes to a lesser degree. When paired together, it’s the best of both worlds.
Set a timer for 4-5 minutes.
Using a light weight to begin, alternate between performing 3 RDLs followed by 3 Bent Over Rows until the timer ends.
RDL coaching notes: stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart in a pronated grip. Slowly lower the bar (2-3 seconds) while keeping your core braced, spine neutral, and the bar as close to your body as possible. Breathe in and go as low as you can without rounding your back and be sure to feel the stretch in the hamstrings during the descent. Pause for one second at the bottom, exhale and squeeze your glutes tightly while you stand up. Tighten and brace your quads and glutes at the top for one second.
Bent Over Row coaching notes: stand with your feet hip-width and your hands shoulder-width apart in a pronated grip. Lower the bar to just below your knees as you would with an RDL. Get your torso parallel with the floor with your knees bent 15-20 degrees. Row the bar into the middle of your torso between your chest and your belly button. Slowly lower the bar to complete one rep.
2.Dumbbell Reverse Lunge / 1-arm Push Press Complex
Combining a Dumbbell Reverse Lunge with a 1-arm Push Press challenges the entire core, hips, and shoulders. Using the front rack position during the reverse lunge helps make your posterior core muscles work harder than if you held the weight down by your waist. The 1-arm Push Press gets explosive power while also addressing shoulder strength, range of motion, and stability.
Using a light weight to begin, perform 10 Dumbbell Reverse Lunges on one side, then 10 on the other side. Immediately follow that set with 10 1-arm Push Press reps on one side and then the other. Continue alternating exercises after completing 10 reps on each side for 4-5 minutes.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge coaching notes: stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell at your left shoulder. Step backward with your left foot and drop your body so your knee lightly touches the floor. Reverse the movement by coming out the lunge and bringing your left foot forward so that you are back to your starting position. Complete all reps on the left side, then switch arms and legs.
1-arm Push Press coaching notes: stand tall with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell in your left hand a shoulder level with your left elbow directly below the handle of the dumbbell, making your forearm a perfect vertical line. Slightly bend your knees and use your legs simultaneously with your left arm to press the dumbbell overhead as quickly as possible. Slowly lower the dumbbell to your shoulder to complete one rep.
3.Kettlebell Swing / Kettlebell Goblet Squat Complex
The Kettlebell Swing is a fantastic hip-dominant movement pattern while the Kettlebell Goblet Squat is a quadriceps-dominant movement pattern. When paired together, you light up your entire lower body and core muscles.
Using a moderate weight to begin, perform six Kettlebell Swings immediately followed by six Kettlebell Goblet Squats. Alternate between the two exercises for two minutes. Rest for one minute and then repeat the complex four times.
Kettlebell Swing coaching notes: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell about a foot or two in front of you on the ground. Bend at the waist and grasp the kettlebell handle with both hands. Your palms should be facing your body, and your torso should be nearly parallel to the ground. Pull your shoulders down and back and brace your core before starting the exercise. Maintain these form cues throughout the entire set. Lift the kettlebell off the ground and allow it to swing between your legs. Your knees should bend slightly during this movement. Keep your back flat and neck straight. Forcefully drive your hips forward to propel the kettlebell into the air. Control the kettlebell with your arms, but don’t pull it up. The kettlebell should travel no higher than your shoulders. Allow the kettlebell to swing down and back through your legs. Control the descent by keeping your core engaged. As the kettlebell lowers, move immediately and fluidly into the next rep. On your final rep, allow it to swing back through your legs, and then place it a foot in front of you on the ground.
Kettlebell Goblet Squat coaching notes: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell held mid-chest height and a few inches away from you. Engage your pelvic floor, brace your core, try to lift the arches of your feet while keeping solid contact on the floor with your heels and toes. Inhale as you hinge back like you’re closing a car door with your butt, then squat straight down for two seconds between your feet while trying to keep your chest upright. Pause at the bottom for one second while you maintain tension with your entire body. Explode straight up, squeezing your thighs and glutes as hard as possible for a second at the top for one full rep. Repeat six times.