1. Squats: If there is any single exercise that should be included in any resistance training program it is, without a doubt, the squat. There is no other exercise that activates as many major muscle groups while also providing a functional movement pattern that is done multiple times every day. Think about all of the times that you have to squat down to pick something up off of the ground. The squat trains you to do this with varying different loads and proper form, assuming your instructor is doing their job well that is! There are many different forms of the squat that are both beneficial and effective in resistance training routines. Some of these different types of squats include: goblet squats, squat plus overhead press, jump squats, and wall squats. Make sure to have a few different variations in your routine!
2. Lunges: A similar exercise to the squat due to the fact that it works the quadricep, hamstring and gluteal muscles. These are the biggest muscle groups in the body and when you fatigue them, the calorie burn is typically much larger compared to muscle fatigue elsewhere. There are some key differences between the squat and lunge, however. For starters, this exercise is more difficult to complete with good form compared to the squat. Many people with a limited range of motion or knee problems will struggle with this exercise. Also, due to the fact that this is a single legged move, the effects of a single lunge should be substantially greater than a squat with equal resistance. This all means that although this is a fantastic exercise that should be included in your regimen, it is not a move to taken lightly. Always tread with caution when dealing with lunges.
3. Planks: Most people think of planks as stationary and fairly low energy exercises. It may come as a surprise then, that this exercise would be included in a list of metabolic moves. The truth is, that while doing a plank you may either be motionless, constantly moving or something in between all depending upon which variation of the move you are doing. An exercise like the mountain climber would technically be considered a type of plank and that is one of the most metabolic moves around. Some other planks that would be useful to have in a metabolic routine geared towards weight loss, would be: plank jacks, planks ups, traveling planks, and rollout planks on a stability ball. Bottom line, planks provide excellent resistance for the core as well as high tempo movements that can help increase your heart rate.
4. Crawls: There are several different crawling exercises that work very well in a metabolic routine. Exercises such as inchworms, bear crawls, baby crawls, table top crawls, as well as an infinite number of others provide total body muscle activation and cardiovascular training simultaneously. I would say that some of these crawling exercises are the most underutilized in the fitness world. This is due to a few different reasons, such as, some of them requiring good range of motion and others being fairly high impact. Also, quite simply, some people do not like the idea of crawling around for extended periods of time. This is quite a shame however, because as previously stated, these are some of the best exercises around.
5. Burpees: I often refer to the burpee as the most evil exercise in all of resistance training. I, in addition to many others, have given it this moniker due to the intense nature of the movement. Anyone who has ever done a round or set of burpees knows that if you do the exercise correctly, you will be left at least somewhat winded and tired. This
is part of what makes the burpee great. This exercise is nearly total body in terms of the muscle groups it involves and the cardio respiratory effect that it has on the body is second to none if done properly. One reason why the burpee did not score higher on my list is due to the fact that the exercise is one that is not for everyone. This move is typically higher impact (although a few lower impact versions of the move do exist, such as the pop up). I highly recommend that you ask a trainer about a version of the exercise that fits your needs and goals, as it can be a valuable addition to any routine.
I hope you enjoyed the list and incorporate some of the moves into your workout routine! Let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns!