7 Exercises That Will Transform Your Whole Body in Just 4 Weeks

Exercises to transform your whole body

Every day, many people wake up, look in the mirror, and aren’t happy with what they see. This is a problem on many levels.

First of all, no one should feel bad for how they look. This is detrimental to our psychological and emotional health. We are all valuable members of society and we should not be made to feel bad because we don’t have a perfect six-pack or shredded biceps.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve our conditioning and body composition in order to become healthier.

To this end, I will review 7 terrific exercises that can help to improve mobility, burn calories, increase strength, and maximize endurance.

The Difficulty of Losing Weight

There’s no doubt about it: losing weight is hard.

Our bodies want to hang on to extra fat, as this tissue can provide us with significant levels of energy when we are in a state of starvation.

Therefore, our systems will fight hard to keep us from losing weight, because our bodies interpret weight loss as a bad thing. 

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Calories In, Calories Out

When it comes down to it, weight loss happens when we take in fewer calories than we expend during activity (and through our metabolic processes). There have been many different theories on weight loss over the years. However, in the end, it always comes down to calories in vs. calories out.

You can achieve this caloric imbalance in a variety of ways. But whichever method you use to achieve a state of caloric deficit, you’ll want to be careful not to create too great of a caloric deficit. If you do, your body may react by slowing down your metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight.

Exercise for Weight Loss

Exercises for weight loss - body transformation

Exercise can help people lose weight. However, I would caution you that it is nearly impossible to out-exercise a bad diet.

For example, if you eat a 5,000-calorie meal, you could, in theory, exercise enough during that same day to burn those 5,000 calories off. That being said, most people who exercise this much would suffer from an injury, which could then make it harder to exercise later on and to be active in general.

When incorporating exercise for weight loss, you’ll want to pick exercises that use large muscle groups in order to maximize calorie burn (just don’t overdo it!).

Top 7 Exercises for Weight Loss

In this section, we will review some of the best exercises that can help you lose weight. Remember, for best results, you’ll want to combine these exercises with a great, well-planned diet!

1. Push-Ups

Push-ups exercise

It’s impossible to know for sure when push-ups were invented. They are one of the most basic exercises in existence, and many other exercises (such as the bench press) mimic the push-up. This exercise requires no equipment and can lead to significant caloric expenditure.

How to Perform:

  1. Start with your hands and toes on the ground with a flat back.
  2. Ensure that your hands are directly beneath your shoulders and that your feet are spaced out a few inches from one another.
  3. Slowly lower yourself toward the ground by bending your elbows and allowing your shoulders to extend backward.
  4. Once your chest contacts the ground, reverse the motion and push yourself back up.
  5. Complete 12-15 reps per set, 2-3 sets per day, and 2-3 sessions per week.

2. Squats

The glutes, quads, and calves are some of the biggest and most powerful muscles in the body. Therefore, an exercise that works all of these muscles, such as the squat, can burn tons of calories and can aid weight loss.

How to Perform:

  1. Start in standing, with your feet spaced hip-width apart and your toes facing forward or slightly out to the sides.
  2. Next, bend your knees and push your hips backward as you sit down as low as you can (without your heels coming off of the floor).
  3. Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range, push yourself back into standing by straightening your knees and standing up tall.
  4. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions, for 2-3 sets per session, 2-3 times per week.

3. Jump Rope

Jump Rope

Jumping rope is equal parts taxing and fun. There are endless variations on the classic jump rope motion. Furthermore, this form of cardio will get your heart pumping harder than just about any other exercise in existence!

How to Perform:

  1. First, you’ll want to select a jump rope of the appropriate length for your body (or cut your rope to size).
  2. To test your jump rope length, stand on it with one foot and pull the handles up. For beginners, the handles should roughly reach your armpits in this position.
  3. Now, you’re ready to start jumping!
  4. The most basic jump rope move is the single hop with both legs.
  5. To perform this move, turn the rope and jump over it every time it gets close to your feet. Start by jumping rope for 1 minute, with 30-second breaks, for 10 rounds. You can perform this routine 3 times per week.
  6. Once you master the basics, you can experiment and create truly awesome jump rope routines!

4. Burpees

Burpees are almost universally hated by exercisers. This movement is exhausting, no matter who you are. Best of all, burpees provide a way to get both muscular endurance and a cardiovascular workout in a very small amount of space.

How to Perform:

  1. Start in standing.
  2. As quickly as you can, drop into the “up” portion of a push-up position.
  3. Next, jump your legs forward and return to standing.
  4. Perform as many burpees as you can in the span of one minute. Then take a break for 30 seconds and repeat for 5 rounds.
  5. Perform this workout 2-3 times per week.

5. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers workout

Much like burpees, mountain climbers allow for a great muscular endurance workout as well as a cardiovascular workout. This exercise burns loads of calories and can leave even the most in shape people gasping for air.

How to Perform:

  1. Place your hands and feet on the floor in the “up” phase of a push-up.
  2. Next, bring your right knee to your chest as quickly as you can.
  3. Then, return your right foot to the starting position as you simultaneously bring your left knee to your chest.
  4. Continue to alternate in this pattern as fast as you can for 1 minute. Then, take a 30-second break. Repeat this pattern for 10 rounds, 2-3 times per week.

6. Planks

Planks exercise to transform your body

Isometric exercises, such as planks, are awesome for weight loss and strength gains. By slowly increasing your hold time on planks, you’ll slowly but surely increase your strength and endurance.

How to Perform:

  1. Start on your forearms and toes, with your back flat as a board.
  2. Ensure that your spine is completely straight and not bending upward or downward.
  3. Hold this position for as long as you can (aim for 30 seconds to start) and perform 3 sets per day, 2-3 times per week.

7. Glute Bridges

Glute Bridges

The glutes are powerful muscles that power most of our lower body movements. By working these muscles, we can vastly increase our lower body strength and power.

How to Perform:

  1. Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Press down through your heels, lifting your buttocks off of the ground.
  3. Hold this position for 10 seconds, complete 10-12 reps per set, for 2-3 sets per session, 2-3 times per week.

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS
Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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