Weight training builds muscle strength and definition. But making a few adjustments to how you lift will allow you to burn more fat when you do a strength training workout. The extra calories and fat you expend will help melt away the extra fat to reveal the shapely muscles underneath. Here are five ways to boost the number of calories you burn when you weight train.
Burn More Fat: Limit the Rest Period between Sets
When most people weight train, they usually rest 2 to 3 minutes between sets. Try cutting the rest time back to 30 seconds. Research shows that minimizing the rest time between sets to less than a minute increases overall calorie burn as well as the after-burn effect. This means you’ll burn more calories during your workout and after you finish. You may need to lighten up slightly on the amount of weight you lift when you shorten the rest time between sets. But you’ll limit your strength gains if you go too light. Use a weight that fatigues your muscles by 10 to 15 reps.
Burn More Fat: Choose Compound Exercises
Compound exercises are multi-joint exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. Examples are deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, push-ups, lunges, and squats. The advantage of focusing on these exercises is they burn more calories than isolation exercises such as biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, and leg presses. Any time you challenge more than one muscle group simultaneously, especially the large muscles in the lower body, you burn more calories and fat. You’ll also get more of an after-burn effect.
To increase the calorie burn, even more, do a series of push-ups, weighted lunges, deadlifts and weighted squats in rapid succession with minimal rest between each exercise. Repeat this sequence as many times as you can. It’s a challenging workout – and one that gives a powerful after-burn.
Burn More Fat: Increase Rep Speed
Increasing the speed of your reps burns more calories. Research shows that doing reps at a faster speed burns 11% more calories and boosts the fat burn afterward as well. Choose a weight that’s about 60% of your one-rep maximum. Do 3 set of 15 reps for each exercise at a fast, explosive pace. Doing this builds muscle endurance as opposed to muscle strength. So if you’re trying to build strength and mass, use heavier weights with a slower rep speed and fewer reps on alternate days.
Burn More Fat: Increase the Number of Reps
You’ll burn more calories using a lighter weight and doing more reps, but you’ll also train your muscles more for endurance than for strength. If you use this technique, use heavier weights and fewer reps on some days to focus on strength building. Going lighter and increasing the reps is a good way to up the calorie burn and challenge your muscles in a different way.
Burn More Fat: Do a Minute of Cardio between Sets
Boost the calorie burn by doing one-minute cardio intervals between sets. Keep a jump rope handy and jump between sets or do jumping jacks or simply run in place. This is also a good way to combine cardio and strength training when you’re short on time.
The Bottom Line?
Weight training builds strength and muscle endurance, but with a few modifications, you can also increase the calorie burn. Try these five ways to burn more fat during a strength training workout.
Muscle and Fitness. Hers. July/Aug 2011. page 68.
Muscle and Fitness. March 2008.
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