Revamp Your Workout Routine with 5 Low-Impact Exercises to Torch Calories

There are a few secrets to share when using low-impact exercise for major calorie burning. Low-impact workouts are all about being kind to your joints while still getting in a great sweat session. Think resistance training with good form, hopping on cardio machines like rowers, ski ergs, or bikes, and even fun activities like battle ropes, walking, or swimming. If weight loss is your goal, don’t worry; you can still make these workouts work wonders with just a few tweaks. I’ve curated a five-step, low-impact workout to help you burn calories and get into shape.

Designing low-impact workouts that still torch calories requires some ingenuity. In resistance training, amp up the volume of your sets while reducing rest periods to rev up your metabolism. These higher-volume sets help burn calories and increase strength, lean muscle mass, and endurance. Stick to steady-state cardio sessions—they’re a reliable choice with a track record of effectiveness. Experiment with different modes, tweak your intervals, and embrace new approaches to keep things fresh and challenging.

Here’s a straightforward five-step, low-impact workout to burn calories. Start strong with compound exercises that build muscle, strength, and endurance, turning your body into a calorie-burning powerhouse. Complete the resistance portion as individual sets of each exercise, or mix things up and perform them as a circuit! Then, switch gears into challenging intervals to fire up your metabolism. Finally, finish strong with a rewarding rowing session as you sail off into the sunset toward your weight loss goals.

Now, let’s get started!

Step #1: Split Squats

Split squats are a dynamic addition to your calorie-burning regimen, offering unilateral training benefits. They excel in sculpting lower-body strength, defining leg muscles, and enhancing balance and coordination. Their unilateral nature intensifies the workout, making them particularly effective for weight loss. Beginners can start with bodyweight split squats, while those seeking a challenge can incorporate dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell variations to amplify the burn.

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step backward with one foot and place the ball of that foot on the ground, keeping your heel lifted. Lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, ensuring your front knee doesn’t go past your toes. Keep your torso upright and engage your core muscles. Push through the heel of your front foot to return to the starting position.

Complete three to four sets of 12 to 20 reps per side. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Step #2: Pushups

illustration of woman doing pushups

Pushups are a powerful compound exercise for targeting key upper-body muscles, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Pushing your limits will ignite calorie burn while sculpting strength. Beginners can start with kneeling or incline pushups, while advanced enthusiasts can ramp up the intensity with weighted variations or dumbbell push-ups. Find your perfect match and push toward your goals!

Begin in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your chest nearly touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Complete 10 to 20 repetitions of your chosen variation. Take a rest break of 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Step #3: Inverted Rows

inverted row illustration

With inverted rows, it’s not just about sculpting your back muscles but also engaging your core, arms, and shoulders. What’s fantastic is that you can adjust the difficulty by changing your body angle or grip width. Plus, since you’re not pounding the pavement, it’s easy on your joints while still torching calories and building muscle mass—making it a stellar choice for anyone aiming to slim down without the impact.

Set up a bar at waist height on a rack or use a suspension trainer. Lie underneath the bar or handles, grab onto them with an overhand grip, and extend your arms fully. Keep your body straight from your head to your heels, engage your core, and pull your chest toward the bar or handles by bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower yourself back down with control to complete one repetition. Adjust the difficulty by changing the angle of your body or by using a wider or narrower grip.

Complete 10 to 20 repetitions of your chosen variation. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Step #4: Battle Ropes

woman doing battle ropes

Battle rope workouts are stellar for crushing weight-loss goals with minimal impact. Their rhythmic, full-body movements engage heaps of muscle groups without straining your joints. They’re super inclusive as well—perfect for all fitness levels. And let’s not forget the calorie-burning potential!

Opt for circuits structured with work and rest intervals, such as 30 seconds of intense effort followed by 30 seconds of rest, repeating for eight to 12 rounds. Otherwise, set a timer for 15 seconds. Perform as many reps as possible, then rest for a minute for a more “sprint-style” intense session.

Step #5: Rower

illustration of man rowing

Rower workouts are fantastic, low-impact exercises that maximize calorie-burning potential. The rowing motion involves your whole body, from your legs and core to your arms and back, giving you a full-body workout without the strain. It’s like a calorie-burning machine that also helps you build strength and endurance as you go.

Begin on the rower with a thorough warm-up lasting around two minutes, rowing at a moderate pace to prepare your body for the upcoming intensity. Then, transition into the main workout by rowing at maximum effort for 40 seconds. Following each high-intensity interval, allow one minute of easy rowing or complete rest to catch your breath and partially recover before the next burst of effort.

Repeat these intervals for 10 to 20 minutes, focusing on pushing yourself during the intense phases. Finally, conclude the workout with a two-minute cool-down period.

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