How to burn more calories whilst weight lifting

Firstly you are going in the right direction by weight lifting/ resistance training.

Resistance training will help to speed up your metabolism, even after you have finished working out, this is because it strains your body so much that it needs to recover.

Image credit - midwestnerd

Image credit - midwestnerd

Muscle is more metabolically active than fat,which means it burns more calories. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you can potentially burn.

Some experts estimate that each extra pound of muscle you have, burns 30-50 extra calories a day, others experts have estimated that a pound of muscle burns 6 calories at rest, compared to 2 calories burned by a pound of fat.

So if you are looking to burn fat, I would advise you to use resistance training in your training programme.

Beginner strategies to burn more calories whilst weight lifting


You have probably heard of supersets before but I will go over it for those that have not.

This is a technique where you pair 2 exercises back to back with no rest in between, which is then counted as 1 set.

It is a great way to burn more calories because you are making yourself work longer than a normal set, which will elevate your heart rate, speed your metabolism up and ultimately burn more calories.

You can superset 2 opposing muscle groups, or pair 2 exercises that work the same muscle group

Superset example (opposing muscle groups )- push ups and pull ups

Superset example (same muscle group) – back squat and leg press


The Ti-set is basically the same as the superset but with 3 exercises working the same muscle group.

Again you are doing a mega long set. Not only will this rev your heart rate up, speed your metabolism it will help to you to stimulate muscle growth, as the time your muscle is under tension will be increased.

Tri-set example – Dumbbell Shoulder press, dumbbell front raise, dumbbell lateral raise ( you will get a killer pump from this tri-set )

Forced reps

This will require you to have a spotter or a training partner.

You will perform as many reps as you can ( with good technique) and when you reach failure your partner will help you past the sticking point. Usually your partner will help you on the concentric phase and then you can control the negative/eccentric phase of the lift.

This is great as it will help you to increase time under tension, which will stimulate muscle growth, increase your heart rate, which will burn more calories.

Forced rep example

Bicep curl - Once you have reached failure. Your partner will help you to lift the bar/dumbbell from the bottom position, so arm fully elongated/straight to where the curl is in the top position near your chin. Then you will lower the bar/dumbbell to the bottom position without assistance.

Drop set

Once you reach muscle failure on a set, quickly drop the weight you are using by about 20-30% and continue to do as many reps as you can until you reach failure again, at that point dop the weight again by 20-30% and repeat for the required amount of sets.

Drop sets also increase time under tension, keeping you working longer, which will help you to burn more calories.


Intermediate – Expert Level techniques

Partial reps

These are more for seasoned lifters, due to the fact you want to be stable enough to perform the reps without having the best form, which could lead to injuries if you are not careful.

The best description of this is using a swinging motion to power the bar up during a bicep curl and then controlling the negative part of the rep.

Again your heart rate will elevate, metabolism fires up, burning calories and forcing blood into your muscles which will help to build muscle.

After you reach failure,complete additional reps by performing shorter range of motion reps whilst trying to maintain as best form as you can.

So you may only be able to perform half a rep or ¼ of a rep but keep going until you reach failure again. These may be referred to as “cheat reps” or “bro reps”.


This is more for the advanced lifter as beginner's may get over trained including this into their programme's. This is great to stimulate muscle growth, which will lead to you burning more calories overall throughout the day.

This is a technique where you use a single joint exercise, for a muscle group like a leg extension. Exhaust the muscle with the leg extension and then perform a compound movement like a barbell back squat.

Doing squats, first in your workout will tire the lower back and hip muscles first before the quads actually do. Therefore, focus on the muscle being worked with the goal of muscle hypertrophy. This way the muscle you are focusing on will be the first to fatigue, thus, gaining a hypertrophy response.


So the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during the day. To help burn more calories during your workout and even after include supersets, tri-sets, forced reps, drop sets, partial reps and pre-exhaust training into your training to spark your fat burning.

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