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Experts agree that if you want to lose weight and build lean muscle, you need to weight train, aiming for at least three workouts a week. The best weightlifting exercises for losing body fat are the ones that recruit large muscles and work multiple muscles at one time, known as compound exercises. “These exercises burn more calories because more muscles are working,” CSCS-certified trainer and registered dietitian Audra Wilson said. “There will also be a more significant afterburn than with isolation exercises.”

These moves burn more calories per rep, which burns more fat, and more muscle is stimulated per rep, which translates to more muscle gained, explained NASM-certified trainer Eric Bowling. And since you’re working multiple muscle groups on each move, he also said that compound moves are more time efficient, so you don’t have to spend hours in the gym. With all of that in mind, we gathered up the most effective strength-training exercises for weight loss.

But before you get started, ACSM-certified personal trainer Kekua Kobashigawa said that for all of these moves, “You should begin with bodyweight only to learn proper movement, but then progress to carrying load as soon as you are safely able to. This not only increases caloric needs, but, more importantly, develops functional strength that transfers to daily life.” Just be careful. “Compound movements can be a double-edged sword,” Bowling warned. “Since you’re using multiple muscle groups, there’s more risk of injury if these movements are performed incorrectly.” Consult a trainer to ensure your form is on point.

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