People always want to know the best way to "get in shape" and burn fat. Looking at the big picture, nutrition, weight training, and cardiovascular work are ALL necessary to achieve these goals. Talking more specifically, one exercise above all others, is a must for your exercise program....the Squat. Some refer to it as the King of all lifts. But since I work with a lot of females, I've learned to refer to it as the Royalty of all lifts. :)
There are barbell, dumbbell, double leg, single leg, and split variations of the squat movement. All are necessary and beneficial for both health and wellness reasons as well as for athletic performance. Each variation hits the same muscles groups: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs, and low back with some variations focusing a little more on a particular area than the other. But the barbell back squat is the most comprehensive and aggressive of all the variations. It produces the best results when it comes to increasing metabolism, which in turn increases fat burning. It's also the best lift for improving speed and power in sports.
As with all weightlifting programs, a periodization schedule of varying weights, sets and reps, is needed to reap the most benefits. For example, 3 sets of 10-12 reps for four weeks, followed by 3 sets of 6-8 reps for four weeks followed by 3 sets of 3-5 for four weeks would be a standard protocol to follow. The idea is that the higher the rep count, the lower the weight and the lower the rep count, the higher the weight.
And while amount of weight (intensity) is important, always remember great technique is more important. I've included a link to ExRx.net to see a demonstration of the Squat exercise.
About Dave Schall: Dave is in his 7th year as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Westminster Christian Academy. He is a former Division I and Professional Soccer player and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education/Health and a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology/Physical Education. Coach Schall earned a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist credential in 2000. He has been married to Stephanie for 8 years and has a 5-year old daughter Madeline and a 3-year old son Colton.