Calories Burned Per Hour by Weight Lifting

Weight training is often touted as one of the best ways to burn calories and get in shape. And rightly so; no other form of exercise elevates the metabolism and works to burn fat like weight training.

But… weight training tends to burn calories in a different way than other exercise, such as running, perhaps.

Weight lifting done in the traditional way is not about endurance. A typical weight training exercise is a short, sharp effort lasting only a few seconds. Pushed to the limit, it lasts a few seconds more before the muscles fail.

Although this burns calories, it won’t burn as many calories during the event as, say, running or cycling for 30 minutes non-stop. That’s endurance.

Where weight training really has the edge on burning calories is what happens after the training. Although stored body fat is not used to repair muscles, the fibres which have been broken down are in desperate need of repair. What happens is, as food is taken in, rather than be stored as fat as it usually would, it is used to repair the muscle ensuring much smaller chance of fat storage.

Body fat, of course, needs to be burned by a calorie deficit. Your training efforts will help with this, but, you simply need to eat less than your body requires to burn fat.

So, how many calories do you burn per hour with weight training?

Unfortunately, there just is no answer to that. Here’s why…

  • Intensity varies. Just because you take an hour to complete your training, how long have you actually spent lifting? A few minutes, most likely…
  • Did you train to failure? On all exercises or just a few?
  • Did you put in maximum effort to lift the heaviest you could, or did you go for more reps with less weight, or even go through the motions?
  • Which muscles did you train? The bigger the muscles (quads, lats, hamstrings, etc.) the more calories burned.
  • Did you lift slow, or fast?
  • Every day is different; and everyone is different.

You see the problem? I feel it would be misleading to give numbers. If you want to burn the maximum calories, though, I suggest training the quads, lats, glutes, hams, and the big muscle groups, using compound exercises (squats, bench, dead lift, bent over rows, etc.) Don’t just do bicep curls and expect to burn calories or make a significant different, or you’ll be disappointed.

Also, don’t be tempted into thinking that working out for over an hour will be a good idea to burn more calories. People who do so end up raising cortisol levels, which burns muscle mass. Burning muscle mass is not a good idea, because muscle is an excellent calorie burner. The less muscle you have, the fewer calories you burn naturally – meaning you’ll be far more prone to storing fat!

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