12 At-Home Workouts to Lose Weight

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Lauren Panoff

Published 05/15/2024

A common misconception is that to get fit or lose weight, you have to purchase an expensive gym membership. But the reality is, doing at-home workouts to lose weight can work just as well.

Not only is weight loss possible to achieve in the comfort of your own home, but you might find that incorporating it into your regular routine makes it feel less like a chore and more like second nature. While you can do specific workouts to lose weight at home, you also can focus on adding some sort of movement to your day-to-day. In both cases, consistency is important if you want to see results.

We’ve rounded up 12 of the best exercises to lose weight at home that require minimal equipment. We also explore other changes that can help with weight loss at home.

Okay, so you’re ready to start working out at home. Great! Where do you begin?

Here’s a look at 12 at-home workouts to lose weight, if that’s your goal. These dynamic exercises can strengthen and challenge your body, as well as boost calorie and fat burn. As you get started, remember not to do too much too soon, and always take the time to warm up and cool down to help avoid injury.

1. Burpees

Wondering how to burn fat fast at home? Try a full-body exercise that sucks the air out of your lungs as much as it promotes weight loss, like a set of burpees. 

To do a burpee, start by standing, then squat down and kick your feet back into a plank position and do a chest-to-ground push-up. Then, jump your feet back between your hands to return to the squat position. Finally, jump up with your arms overhead. (It sounds more complicated than it is).

As an added bonus, some researchers think that burpees produce a more positive psychological response than other high-intensity exercises. 

2. Squat Jumps

Fairly self-explanatory, this movement is a combination of a squat with an explosive jump, extending your legs fully before landing back in a squat position. Just be intentional about landing softly on your knees to avoid injury. 

This simple combo engages multiple muscle groups, including your legs, butt, and core, while also elevating your heart rate to boost calorie burn. 

3. Star Jumps

Think of star jumps as the cousin of jumping jacks — the motion is similar, though star jumps involve a bit more effort.

Star jumps are a plyometric movement that you’ll start in a standing position before crouching down like you’re doing a squat. Then, you’ll explore upward into a jump with your arms and legs extending outward to create a star shape with your body, hence the name. 

4. Crunches

With no equipment required, crunches are one of the simplest exercises you can do to increase muscular endurance.

To do a crunch, simply lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then, lift your upper body off the ground by contracting your abdominal muscles while keeping your lower back pressed into the floor.

5. Push-Ups

Push-ups target your chest, shoulders, and triceps while also engaging your core and lower body muscles for stability. 

To do one, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your legs straight back. Slowly lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position by fully extending your arms.

For an added challenge, try hand-release push-ups, where you bring your chest down onto the ground, lift your hands off the ground (so your body is resting on the ground), and then put your hands back on the ground before pushing your body back up. Alternatively, beginners can do push-ups with your knees on the ground. 

6. Jumping Rope

Even if you haven’t used one since middle school, a jump rope is a super easy way to get your heart rate up and your coordination in action — and support weight loss.

Holding the handles, keep your elbows close to your sides and rotate the rope while jumping lightly on the balls of your feet. Just make sure you’ve moved any furniture out of the way so you have adequate space to swing your rope around. 

7. Plank Jacks

If you like a good plank, take it up a notch with this combo of core-strengthening and cardio.

To do a plank jack, start in a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and feet together. Then, jump your feet out wide while keeping your core engaged before jumping them back into a straight line. Make sure your butt isn’t sticking up in the air to ensure you’re getting a core workout. 

8. Boxing Jabs

You don’t need access to a martial arts gym to practice your fighting skills. Boxing jabs are a great physical activity to target your shoulders, arm, and core muscles to build muscle mass and boost metabolic rate. 

Start by standing in a boxing stance with your legs slightly bent and your core engaged, with one foot in front of the other. Alternate your arms to punch out in front of you, either into the air or a punching bag.

9. Lunges

Tired of squats? Try lunges, which are great for targeting your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings. 

To do a lunge, start with your chest tall and your feet hip-width apart, and then step either forward or backward with one leg. Touch your knee to the ground gently before lifting it to stand back up tall. 

Repeat on the same leg or alternating legs, or add even more power by making them into lunge jumps. 

10. Resistance Bands

If you don’t have access to dumbbells or just want another way to incorporate resistance training into your weight loss exercises at home, resistance bands are an inexpensive, versatile, and easy-to-store option that can give you a full-body workout. They come in various thicknesses and lengths depending on how much resistance you want. 

Use resistance bands with a handle on either end for exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, and shoulder presses. Try looped resistance bands for things like donkey kicks, leg lifts, and forearm pull-aparts. 

Studies show that resistance training is effective for reducing body fat percentage. 

11. Dumbbell Exercises

Having even a couple of dumbbell sizes on hand can go a long way for home workouts to lose weight. For instance, you could get a lighter pair for smaller muscle groups and a larger pair to work big muscle groups. 

You can use dumbbells for weight training exercises like bicep curls, deadlifts, weighted squats and lunges, tricep extensions, deltoid and lateral raises, chest presses, chest flies, and shoulder presses. As you get stronger, you can build up to more reps or heavier dumbbells.

12. Yoga

When you think about how to burn fat fast at home, yoga may not be the first workout to come to mind. However, weight loss doesn’t just come from high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT workouts.

Most yoga practices involve holding physical postures that engage and strengthen muscles. It also promotes mindfulness and stress reduction, which benefit weight loss in other ways. 

Other forms of yoga may incorporate dynamic movements and flowing sequences that elevate your heart rate and increase calorie expenditure, but still with a low impact.

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Weight loss treatment that puts you first

Don’t let the persuasive ads fool you — you don’t need a whole setup of machines and expensive equipment to get a good workout done at home. 

You may already have some things you can use, like a bench for tricep dips and chest presses, a milk crate or chair for step-ups, and some heavy water bottles if you don't have dumbbells. 

If you’re starting from scratch, equipping your home gym involves thoughtful consideration of your personal fitness goals, the space you have available, what kinds of exercises you want to do, and how much you want to spend. 

Some basic essentials to consider include: 

  • A thick exercise mat for stretching, push-ups, and abdominal work on the floor

  • Dumbbells and/or a set of resistance bands or a kettlebell for strength training

  • A stability ball for core workouts

  • A jump rope

If your budget allows, you may eventually want to invest in a cardio machine like a treadmill, elliptical, bike, or rowing machine, but it’s not a must-have. Even a simple cardio exercise like walking can promote weight loss.

Over time, you might consider other details that can help bring your home gym together, such as a full-length mirror to check your form, a set of workout towels, or a foam roller for sore muscles. 

Losing weight at home isn’t just possible — it can also be a super effective path towards weight loss if you take the right approach.

The best way to lose weight at home depends on what works for you and what you’re willing to do on a consistent basis. As long as you’re including a variety of intensities in the workouts you do and incorporating other healthy lifestyle habits (more on those soon), you can promote fat loss without a gym membership or expensive equipment. 

For instance, you might do flexibility training through yoga or pilates, or strength training using weights, bands, or bodyweight exercises. Simply getting your steps in through neighborhood walks helps.

While high-intensity interval training is not a requirement for weight loss, it’s a great way to get fit. You can try incorporating various cardio movements like cycling, dancing, climbing the stairs, doing sprints in the yard, or jumping rope. If you’re having a hard time figuring out an exercise routine, you can also book a session with a personal trainer.

For significant health and weight loss benefits, experts do recommend getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, throughout the week, plus at least two days of total body strength training targeting all muscle groups.

You can see even more benefit if you do at least five hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

Doing weight loss exercises at home is a great step towards achieving your goals, but on its own, exercise usually isn't enough to reduce body weight. It's also necessary to make changes to your diet and overall lifestyle.

Pair your workout routine with other healthy lifestyle habits below for the best results. 

Eat More Nutrient-Dense Foods

Good nutrition is foundational for your health, and one of the most essential pieces of the weight loss puzzle.

If you’re working out but not fueling your body well while maintaining a calorie deficit (usually 500-750 calories below your basic needs per day), the odds of achieving (and sustaining) weight loss are much lower. 

Ditch ultra-processed foods that are high in added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Instead, prioritize nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and other lean proteins for weight loss. These provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that helps keep you satisfied.

And don’t forget to pay attention to how you’re snacking as well. Here are some ideas for healthy snacks for weight loss.

Get Better Sleep

Sleep and weight loss are more connected than you may think. For one, nobody feels like working out when they haven’t slept well. Plus, ongoing lack of sleep can mess with the hormones involved in regulating your appetite, potentially leading to cravings for less healthy food as well as overeating. 

Experts say that adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night for optimal health. A good way to support this goal is to:

  • Follow a consistent sleep-wake schedule

  • Make sure your bedroom is a sleep-promoting environment

  • Avoid possible sleep disruptions close to bedtime, like blue light from your cell phone screen, a big meal, caffeine, or a super intense workout

Ensure Adequate Hydration

With a large percentage of your body made up of water, it’s important to make sure you’re replenishing fluids, especially if you’re ramping up your home workouts to lose weight. Plus, drinking water before and during meals can help prevent overeating. 

Water is the best choice for hydrating, as it’s your body’s preferred fluid and contains no calories. However, if you get bored of plain water, try flavoring it naturally with berries, lemon, or cucumber slices, or rotating in unsweetened seltzer water and herbal teas. 

Consider Weight Loss Medication

Sometimes, diet and lifestyle alone aren’t enough to promote weight loss. In this case, some people find that adding weight loss medications to their routine can help them get over the hump. 

Some of the most popular and effective options are: 

  • Metformin: While primarily prescribed for managing type 2 diabetes, metformin may lead to modest weight loss by reducing insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar levels, and decreasing your appetite.

  • GLP-1s: Short for glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, these work for weight loss by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a hormone that regulates glucose metabolism and appetite. It promotes insulin secretion, slows digestion, and makes you feel fuller. Common examples include semaglutide (Ozempic®) and liraglutide (Saxenda®).

  • Topiramate: Originally an anti-seizure drug, topiramate can be used to support weight loss by targeting brain chemicals and promoting feelings of fullness.

  • Naltrexone-Bupropion: This combination of bupropion (a drug used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence) and naltrexone (an antidepressant) is sold under the name Contrave®. It helps with weight loss by targeting the brain's hunger and reward centers.

If you’re interested in exploring weight loss medications, Hers can help you determine whether you’re a good candidate. Start by taking our online weight loss assessment.

If you’re embarking on a weight loss journey, rest assured that joining a gym or filling your garage with expensive equipment isn’t necessary for success. At-home workouts can be just as effective. Here’s what to keep in mind as you explore ways to lose weight at home: 

  • Be intentional. Design your home workout space and exercise plan based on your personal goals, budget, space, and preferences. 

  • Include variety. There’s no one best exercise to lose weight at home. Instead, aim to incorporate a variety of movements. Take inventory of the equipment you have and consider how you can use it for cardio workouts and to work various muscle groups. 

  • Take a holistic approach. Support your goals by improving other aspects of your lifestyle as well, including your nutrition, sleep, and hydration. 

Whether you’re a gym rat or a home gym warrior, what matters most is your commitment to daily movement. Stick with it and find things you enjoy doing, and you’ll reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

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