Everyone has a question: does lifting weights burn calories? So here are the answers. it’s no surprise that weight training, especially with dumbbells, is a great way to build stronger muscles and bones. What does come as a bit of a surprise, though, is that you can actually lift weights too much. Overtraining your muscles-lifting the same weights for the same exercises every day isn’t good for your body; it actually does more harm than good.
- Lifting weights doesn’t burn as many calories as jogging does. But if your goal is to lose weight and inches around your waistline, you still need to include some combination of cardio and strength training in your exercise program (to learn how to create an exercise plan that fits into your schedule, go here ). If you’re lifting weights daily but doing nothing else to burn calories, you may actually be burning fewer calories than you think.
- The key is to lift weights consistently but also to vary the exercises you do. If your muscles are used to doing one thing every day-like lifting a certain weight for many repetitions-they’ll adapt to that exercise quickly and won’t continue growing, even if you keep adding more weight. This results in muscle imbalance, which can cause injury over time.
- On the other hand, strength training does build muscle mass, along with bone density. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, so building stronger muscles can increase your metabolism. As long as you choose challenging exercises and use enough weight (to make it difficult to complete 12 repetitions), overtraining shouldn’t be a problem. Using different exercises for each muscle group can help you do that.
- The intensity is key to burning calories while increasing muscle tone, but it does raise some questions like does lifting weights burn calories? and how you can incorporate weightlifting into your weekly routine without overdoing it. The good news is that you don’t have to work out every day with heavy dumbbells in order to get results. Lifting weights does not have to be a full-body exercise done multiple times each week in order to see benefits. In fact, you might actually want to decrease the amount of time spent working out if you are looking for ways to burn calories.
There are two reasons why lifting weights does not have to be a time-consuming activity.
- First, you don’t need to work every muscle in your body each time you train. The more muscles that are worked during an exercise session, the longer you will need to spend on weightlifting exercises. With heavy dumbbells, it’s possible to spend up to an hour exercising for each of your major muscle groups if you want results, but this does little good in terms of burning calories and actually increases the risk of injury with all that repetitive stress placed on the same parts of the body.
- The Second, reason working out does not have to be a long process is because getting toned does not require massive workout machines or equipment that only Olympic athletes have access to. Instead, you can tone your muscles with a pair of dumbbells in just a few minutes each day by doing compound exercises that involve multiple muscle groups at once. Doing pushups, for example, targets the chest and arms, while a squat works the legs and butt.
- To get better results without spending hours at a time in the weight room every day (which does not mean that you cannot do this), consider breaking up your workout into smaller chunks throughout the day. You will still be able to focus on toning all of your major muscle groups with short workouts that last no more than 10-15 minutes per session. Start with two sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise, gradually increasing the amount of weight you are lifting as your fitness level improves.
- You can also increase the intensity of your workouts by reducing the amount of rest time that you take between sets. You should still allow about one minute of rest for each set, but you might find that doing 15 reps instead of 12 on the final set is easier if you reduce the break time to just 45 seconds. Lifting weights does not have to be a back-breaking activity in order to see results, which means it does not have to be done every day either. For best results, complete two or three workout sessions with dumbbells throughout your week, with each session lasting no more than 30 minutes including short breaks between sets.
- If you’re just starting out with dumbbells, it’s best to choose one or two upper-body and two lower-body dumbbell exercises first. The American Council on Exercise suggests the chest press, pullover, biceps curl, and lateral raise for your upper body; and squats, lunges, step-ups, and calf raises for your lower body. Once those begin to feel too easy, add more weight or switch up the exercise. You can also use your imagination to create new dumbbell workouts using the same basic moves.
The Bottom Line Is This:
Take a break from lifting weights every once in a while so your muscles don’t get used to the same routine and you can give them a chance to grow larger and stronger. It’s just as important that you vary your dumbbell workouts as it is that you keep lifting weights regularly, with enough intensity to challenge your body and force it to grow.