All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

How to Burn More Calories Lifting Weights

Last Updated:
November 24, 2021

burn more calories lifting weights

Are you looking to burn more calories lifting weights and lower your body fat percentage? Luckily, there are techniques to help make that happen. Traditional weight lifting is great at developing and maintaining muscle, however, when it comes to calorie burning it isn’t so effective. A 30-minute session of cardio will typically burn many more calories than 30 minutes of lifting. However, weight lifting is still an important part of a complete workout. The development of overall strength and endurance both go a long way to staying fit and healthy. Below are some techniques to help you burn more calories lifting weights.

Longer Sets

To burn more calories lifting weights, you need to incorporate more movement into your workouts. Studies show that you can burn more calories by lifting lighter weights for more repetitions. However, to continue to build muscle, you must ensure that you are pushing yourself. This means your sets should be long enough that the last few repetitions feel difficult and like you could only do one more. Often this means your sets will contain 15 -30 repetitions. This is about twice as many repetitions than you would do in a standard set. You should aim to use a weight that is 40-60% of the maximum weight you could lift for that exercise. By combining lower weights with longer sets, you can continue to build muscle while burning more calories.

Compound or Dynamic Exercises

A compound or dynamic exercise utilizes several different muscles throughout the exercise. This helps you burn more calories as you are expending more energy during the process. For example, a lat pulldown works several different back muscles and your biceps, whereas a bicep curl only works your biceps. During the lat pulldown, you exert more energy as the movement is also larger. Choosing exercises that require larger movements to complete can help you burn more calories than targeted exercises. Another recommended exercise swap is weighted squats instead of leg extensions.

Circuit Training

Traditional weight lifting workouts involve completing all sets of an exercise, before moving to the next exercise. These routines also recommend a 2-3 minute rest between each set. However, with circuit training, you minimize your rest time. You perform 1 set of an exercise then move into the next exercise with just a 30-second break. Not only does this keep your heart rate up, but also allows you to do more within your workout time frame.  Studies show that using circuit training effectively can reduce your body fat percentage while successfully building muscle. With circuit training, you must ensure that you put your exercises in the correct order. You do not want to injure yourself by working the same muscles with insufficient rest between. Ideally, you should alternate between upper body, lower body, and core exercises.


Even though cardio is the most effective fat-burning exercise type, you can still lower your body fat percentage through weight lifting. Combine all the techniques above to create a routine that helps burn more calories lifting weights. Aim to keep your workouts at the same length, but focus on fitting more into the workout to see the best results. Ensure you don’t over-exercise and get enough rest in between workout sessions to avoid injury. You should aim to incorporate these workouts a minimum of twice per week and a maximum of 4 times per week.

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