Lifting weights is a great way to get stronger, tone your body, and change your shape. But is weight lifting good for weight loss? Here’s how to lift weights to lose weight and shape up.

Can weightlifting help you to lose weight?

So you want to lose weight as well as get strong? Then you already know that losing weight comes down to calorie balance – if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. But of course there’s more to it than that. There are lots of ways to achieve that important calorie deficit, and lifting weights can be one of them.

Lifting weights will help you to lose weight in two ways. Weight lifting workouts burn serious calories (sometimes more than cardio!) And lifting weights builds muscle tissue, which increases your basal metabolic rate, the number of calories you burn all day long even when you sleep.

How to lose weight lifting weights

Once you’ve got your nutrition in order, here’s how to use your weight lifting gym workouts to lose weight.

Do compound exercises

Big multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead press and rows use lots of muscles at the same time, which mean they burn more calories than isolation exercises like biceps curls.

Train with intensity

If you want your weights workouts to help you lose weight, keep pushing the intensity. This means shorter rest periods between sets, and using techniques like dropsets and supersets.

Progressive overload

Be sure to add a challenge to your workouts as your body gets stronger, either by increasing the weights, adding more reps, or doing harder variations of your chosen exercises.

Weight lifting exercises to lose weight


Deadlifts are one of the ultimate compound exercises, using your legs, glutes, back, core, shoulders and entire posterior chain. Load your barbell and stand behind it, squat down to take hold of the bar with an overhand grip, then stand up. Your arms simply act as hooks to hold the bar – all the pull is done with your legs and back.

Barbell lunges

Lunges are a unilateral movement that works one leg at a time to burn lots of calories. Put your barbell across your back (like for a squat) then lunge backwards or forwards, keeping your eyes forward and chest high. Or try barbell walking lunges for an extra level of burn!

Barbell bench press

Bench press is another compound movement that will work your chest, shoulders and triceps to burn lots of calories and shape your upper body. Set up the barbell above a bench and lie down so the bar is above your face. Press your feet into the floor to brace your body. Then press the barbell up and out of the rack, and bring it down to your chest before pressing back up.

Barbell squats

The King of Exercises uses muscles in your entire body to help you lose weight fast. There are lots of barbell squat variations, including box squats, paused squats, and front squats. To do a classic barbell back squat, set your bar up in a rack and stand underneath it so the bar is across your upper back. Take three steps back and stand with your feet hip width. Squat back and down until your hips are lower than your knees. Power back p with your chest high to keep your body upright.

Bent over rows

If you want to lose weight from lifting weights, be sure to train your back with all its big muscles. Start with your barbell on the floor and take hold of it with an overhand grip. Keeping your upper body still, pull the bar into your lower ribs and lower it back down with control. You can vary this exercise by using an underhand grip.

Weight lifting to lose weight fast

You can lose weight lifting weights as long as you’re not overeating on excess calories. Remember to prioritise the big compound exercise and keep adding weight to stop your body hitting a plateau. And don’t slack off on the intensity! You need to push hard and keep your rest periods short to lose weight lifting weights.

How often should you weight lift?

The best way to use weight lifting to lose weight is to train hard and take plenty of rest. Aim for 3-4 weights sessions and train with proper intensity to lose weight. It’s far better to lift weights 3-4 times a week (and pay attention to your fat loss nutrition) than to try and lift weights too often and get sore.

Make sure you train every part of your body by doing full body workouts 3-4 times a week, or by doing an upper/lower split or a push/pull/legs split.

Weight lifting to lose weight without cardio

The great thing about using weight lifting exercises to lose weight is that this kind of workout shapes your body and boosts your daily metabolic rate. Cardio might burn calories at the time, but it won’t do much to build an athletic physique.

Use our tips to focus on full body, intense weight training workouts 3-4 times a week and pay attention to your fat loss nutrition. You’ll soon burn off body fat to reveal a toned and shapely body from all that weight lifting.