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Calories Burnt While Weight Lifting

Weight lifting is a complete exercise regimen that develops strength in the muscles and tones them. It rejuvenates the entire body, which results in improved stamina, balance, and immunity. Weight lifting or strength training is thus a perfect inclusion to any weight reduction program. It conserves bone density during weight loss and also stimulates growth. Also, weight lifting combined with a nutritious and balanced diet improves muscle health and increases metabolism.

The amount of calories burned while weight lifting depends upon the body weight of an individual and the kind and intensity of the weight training program.

According to the data furnished by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, an average 154 pounds person would burn 110 calories in 30 minutes of light workout, and 220 calories in a vigorous workout of the same duration. The calories reduced per hour would be higher for people who weigh more and lower for people who weigh less.

A simple procedure to calculate calories burned during weightlifting requires following things:

  • Calculator
  • Weight Scale
  • Timer


1.    Check your weight before the weight lifting session.

2.    Note the number of minutes you lifted weights (include the rest time between the sets or repetitions).

3.    Measure the intensity of weight training schedule. Vigorous bodybuilding training burns .055 calories per pound in one minute. Strength training with free weights expends .039 calories per pound in one minute. Circuit training with weights burns .042 calories per pound in one minute, and moderate light weight lifting burns .028 calories per pound in one minute.

4.    Now, multiply your weight by the number of minutes you lifted weights. If an individual weighs 150 pounds and exercised for 40 minutes, the formulae for calculation would be 150 x 40, which equals to 5600. To achieve the number of calories burned, multiply the number with the intensity value explained in step 3.

5.    If strength training with free weights was the workout of the day, then calories burned would be 5600 x .039 = 218 calories reduced.

The burning of calories continues after the weight lifting session is over. The metabolism of the body peaks after a workout and the muscles require energy to restore the tears in the muscle cells. This forces the body to burn more calories. This is referred to as after burn.

Heart rate is also a crucial indicator of the burning of calories during a weight lifting session. The ideal heart rate should be above 90 beats per minute during a weight lifting session. The standard formula for heart rate calculation is 220 – Age.

However, weight training is a specialised form of exercises. It works on skeletal muscles of the body; hence, it is advisable to take proper guidance from a qualified trainer to avoid any injuries and mishaps.


Ballor DL, Katch VL, Becque MD, Marks CR, Resistance weight training during caloric restriction enhances lean body weight maintenance, Department of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, page 16, Table 4.

Submitted on January 16, 2014