Resistance exercises have a low caloric burn.
Even if your chief workout goal doesn't involve bulking up, adding resistance exercises to your fitness regimen has a lengthy array of benefits. Among the benefits, however, you won't find that the workout burns a significant number of calories. Whether you're lifting weights at your gym or performing body-weight exercises in your home, the calories you burn during the workout remain low because your heart rate doesn't significantly increase during resistance exercises -- unless you combine these exercises with cardio for a fast-paced circuit training workout.
Your Burn is Low
The caloric burn of specific resistance exercises is so low that health organizations with calorie calculators don't provide data for specific exercises. In general, however, this form of exercise has a low caloric burn. HealthStatus reports that a 160-pound person burns about 124 calories in 30 minutes of general weight training. A 200-pound person who performs the same general workout for 30 minutes burns about 156 calories.
Cardio Burns Faster
You might feel satisfied that you're able to burn 100 or more calories during your typical resistance workout, but this caloric burn is low when you compare it with a variety of cardio activities. A 160-pound person, for example, burns about 384 calories in 30 minutes of biking around 15 mph and 418 calories in 30 minutes of jogging at 7 mph. During the same two workouts, a 200-pound person burns about 480 and 522 calories, respectively.
Choose Your Own Resistance
A typical resistance workout can encompass a variety of methods of resistance. These methods often include a combination of resistance-band activities, body-weight exercises, lifting free weights and using weight machines. Regardless of the means of resistance you wish to use, your workout should strengthen all your body's significant muscle groups, including your shoulders, chest, back, arms, core and legs. In general, perform this workout twice a week and use eight to 12 reps per exercise.
Forget About the Calories
Don't let the low caloric burn of resistance exercises make you skip this form of activity. Instead of viewing this workout as a way to burn calories, think of it as a method of strengthening your muscles, decreasing your risk of injury and illness, building your endurance and providing relief from general aches and pains. The elevated metabolism you experience through resistance training can also provide a helping hand if you wish to lose weight. Your muscles burn more calories than fat, which means a physically strong body can help you continue to burn calories long after you've ended your resistance workout.