Old School Exercises for Fat Loss

Maximize Your Afterburn to Lose Pounds

Let’s face it, the modern day training client does not have quite the same active lifestyle as people did even 10-15 years ago. In the age of conference calls, online shopping, iPhones and commuting upwards of an hour to work, people are not moving as much. Walk into any gym, and what do you see?

A whole lot of machines, treadmills and elliptical machines. I’m not completely knocking these implements (maybe just a little bit), but how much work do these machines do for you?

The machines only move on a certain track, and the range of motion is extremely limited around one or two joints. In terms of treadmills and elliptical machines, how often does the ground actually move you first? Using these tools will certainly burn you some calories, but there are a few methods I want to share with you today that will ramp up your results.

With the sedentary lifestyle that people lead, many times their workouts at the gym or with a personal trainer are all that they do. Those training sessions need to be intense, efficient and based around the goals of strength building and fat loss.

Is This You?

When clients begin training with me, I find that most of them have two major things in common. They are doing a lot of “cardio,” and they are not doing enough strength training or it is done inefficiently. This is especially true when it comes to female clients. Cardio training is great for burning calories and training your heart and lungs, but if you are looking for a long-term change in your body composition and metabolism (the only real way to make your body a fat burning machine), then you must strength train.

Now, this does not have to be done strictly by lifting a ton of weight and doing bodybuilding-type workouts. The most effective way to burn fat, build lean muscle and develop your body into a strong, tight, fat torching specimen is to implement large muscle group exercises and perform essentially a full body workout in each training session.

“Old School” training styles include movements like squats, lunges, push-ups, chin-ups, as well as Strongman-style movements, such as farmers’ carries, sandbag lifts, sled drags and kettlebell movements. Using this style of training will not only rev up your metabolism for that hour, but it will also create a great “afterburn,” which will facilitate your body burning a ton of calories and eventually develop a strong, healthy metabolism that will burn fat when you are not training…the ultimate goal!

There are many methods that can be used to develop this efficient and fun type of training. All movements can be modified based on the level of client and their training experience. Here are my top five “old school” movements (in no particular order) for ultimate fat loss and lean muscle development.

Old School Training For Fat Loss - 5 Traditional Moves To Ramp Up Resuts

Barbell Squats

The ultimate lower body strength movement. There are many ways to modify the squat (front squats, back squats, overhead squats, Zercher squats), but each one will hammer the glutes, hamstrings, quads and trunk. Working all of these muscles in unison will guarantee a huge calorie burn.

Old School Training For Fat Loss - 5 Traditional Moves To Ramp Up Resuts


The King (or Queen) of upper body exercises. This movement can be paired with squats for a killer circuit that will hit all of the big movers. Training your upper back, shoulders, and biceps all in one movement is great for posture and just like the squats; working all of these muscles together can ensure a huge burn for fat and calories.

Old School Training For Fat Loss - 5 Traditional Moves To Ramp Up Resuts

Prowler Pushes and Sprints

The Prowler is the modern day version of the sled. It’s a great conditioning tool that will burn your legs and lungs like no other. Get rid of your treadmill workout and try a few 30-40 yard sprints, or load up the weight for a heavy push

Old School Training For Fat Loss - 5 Traditional Moves To Ramp Up Resuts

Kettlebell Swings

Another one of the best lower body movements for fat loss and calorie burn. Swings are a quick and dynamic movement that forces the body to work all muscles together in order to keep good technique. The trunk is taxed as the bell is moved from the floor to the front of the body. Try this one in place of your traditional leg press movement!

Sandbag Lifts

Using a sandbag creates instability and essentially keeps the body guessing when it comes to the lifts. All muscles are trained together and a high level of calorie burn is guaranteed, because the body is extremely taxed with each repetition. Exercises such as squats, cleans, presses, rows, and farmers carries are great individualized or as a circuit. If you don’t have access to a sandbag, you can also use heavy kettlebells or dumbbells.

Using old school and conventional movements are taxing on the entire muscular system, nervous system, heart, lungs and, eventually, will create a hard-core metabolism that will burn calories with ease to help you get rid of that stubborn fat that’s been hanging around regardless of how long you run on the treadmill or rep out on the leg press.

The movement combinations are endless, but the main goal is to incorporate as many large muscle group exercises as you can in order to efficiently train the body as one unit. In doing this, you will see huge gains in fat loss, lean muscle gain, heart and cardiovascular heath and overall posture and bone health. I have seen great success with my Boston personal training clients!

Callie Durbrow

Callie Durbrow is the owner of Durbrow Performance Training and the author of Strong and Sexy in 25 Minutes.

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