How Many Calories Are You Really Burning When You Lift Weights for an Hour?

Body Weight (lbs.) Low-Intensity (calories/hour) Moderate-Intensity (calories/hour) High-Intensity (calories/hour)
120 140-180 180-220 220-280
150 170-220 220-270 270-330
180 200-260 260-320 320-380
200 220-280 280-340 340-400

Ever wondered how many calories you burn when you’re lifting weights for an hour? Knowing this can help you fine-tune your workouts to hit your fitness goals, whether you want to shed some pounds, build muscle, or just keep fit.

Understanding Calorie Burn

Burning calories boils down to how much energy your body spends while you’re getting physical. The harder you go, the more calories you torch. It’s a big deal, especially if you’re watching your weight or amping up your fitness game. Now, when you’re pumping iron, a bunch of stuff decides how many calories you toast – like your weight, how hard you’re pushing, and the exercises you’re hitting up.

Factors Affecting Calorie Burn During Weight Lifting

Body Weight and Composition

Your weight and muscle mass totally affect how many calories you torch. If you’re on the heavier side, you naturally burn more because it takes extra juice to get your body in motion. And having more muscle? That’s like revving up your metabolism, meaning you burn even more calories. Picture this: Someone tipping the scales at 200 pounds will typically burn more doing the same sweat sesh as someone weighing in at 150. Plus, muscles keep on burning calories even when you’re chilling, unlike fat. So, the beefier you are, the more calories you’re zapping all day long.

Intensity of Workout

How hard you push yourself during your workout really matters. High-intensity weight lifting, like lifting heavier weights with fewer reps, burns more calories than low-intensity lifting. Exercises like deadlifts and squats, which use multiple muscle groups, require more energy. If you’re pushing your limits with heavy weights and short rest periods, you’re likely to burn significantly more calories than if you’re doing a more relaxed routine with lighter weights and longer breaks.

Duration and Frequency

The length and frequency of your weight lifting sessions also affect calorie burn. Longer sessions mean more calories burned. Consistency is key too; regular workouts throughout the week add up and boost your overall calorie burn. For example, lifting weights for an hour three times a week will burn more total calories than doing a single two-hour session once a week. Regular exercise leads to higher calorie expenditure and better fitness results.

Rest Periods

Shorter rest periods between sets keep your heart rate up and help you burn more calories. Longer rest periods might lower the intensity, meaning fewer calories burned. If you take only 30 seconds to rest between sets, your heart rate stays elevated, and your body works harder, leading to higher calorie burn. On the other hand, resting for several minutes between sets allows your heart rate to drop, reducing the overall intensity and calorie expenditure of your workout.

Type of Exercises

The exercises you pick really make a difference, you know. Like, if you’re into stuff that works lots of muscles at once, like squats, you’ll burn way more calories compared to just doing stuff like bicep curls. Think about it, when you do big moves like bench presses, deadlifts, or pull-ups, you’re hitting lots of muscles at once, which means your body needs more energy, so you’re torching more calories. But those isolation exercises, like bicep curls, sure, they’re good for honing in on specific muscles, but they don’t give you that same calorie-blasting effect overall.

Average Calorie Burn Estimates

For someone weighing around 150 pounds, lifting weights for an hour can burn about 180-250 calories. This can change a lot based on different factors. If you weigh 200 pounds, the burn might be between 240-320 calories for the same duration. These numbers are general estimates and can fluctuate based on the intensity of your workout and your individual metabolism.

Variations Based on Workout Intensity

  • Low-Intensity Workouts: These involve lighter weights with more reps and longer rest periods. A 150-pound person might burn around 180-220 calories per hour. Low-intensity workouts are great for beginners or those focusing on endurance and technique, but they typically result in lower calorie burn compared to high-intensity sessions.
  • High-Intensity Workouts: These involve heavier weights, fewer reps, and shorter rest periods. A 150-pound person can burn up to 250-300 calories per hour. High-intensity workouts are more demanding but result in greater calorie burn due to the increased effort and energy expenditure required.

Tools and Methods to Track Calorie Burn

Fitness Trackers and Apps

Fitness trackers like Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple Watch can give you real-time data on your heart rate and estimated calorie burn. These gadgets usually sync with fitness apps to give you a full picture of your workouts and progress. They provide a convenient way to monitor your activity levels, set goals, and track improvements over time. While they may not always be 100% accurate, they offer valuable insights and motivation to stay active.

Manual Calculation Methods

If you like doing things yourself, you can manually calculate your calorie burn using MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) values. MET values estimate the energy used for different activities. For weight lifting, MET values range from 3 (light effort) to 6 (vigorous effort). Here’s a formula you can use:

Calories Burned = MET value × body weight (kg) × duration (hours)

For example, a 70 kg person lifting weights at a moderate intensity (MET value of 4) for 1 hour would burn:

Calories Burned = 4 × 70 × 1 = 280 calories

This method provides a more tailored estimate based on your specific weight and workout intensity, helping you understand your personal energy expenditure better.

Tips to Maximize Calorie Burn

Incorporate High-Intensity Intervals

Adding high-intensity intervals to your weight lifting routine can really boost your calorie burn. Try alternating between periods of intense activity and shorter rest periods. For example, you might do a set of heavy squats followed by a short, intense burst of cardio, like jumping jacks or sprints. This keeps your heart rate high and maximizes calorie burn during and after your workout.

Combine Weight Lifting with Cardio

Mixing in some cardio with your weight lifting can increase your overall calorie burn. Doing a cardio session before or after lifting weights keeps your heart rate up and enhances calorie burn. For instance, a 10-minute run or bike ride before hitting the weights can warm up your muscles and increase your heart rate, leading to a more effective workout.

Focus on Proper Form and Technique

Good form and technique not only prevent injuries but also ensure you’re working the right muscles and getting the most out of your workout. When you lift with proper form, you engage more muscle fibers, which can lead to higher calorie burn and better muscle development. If you’re unsure about your form, consider working with a trainer or watching instructional videos to improve your technique.

Utilize Progressive Overload

Gradually lifting heavier weights, also known as progressive overload, helps build muscle and revs up your metabolism, resulting in more calorie burn over time. When you keep pushing your muscles with heavier weights or more reps on the regular, your body adapts and gets stronger, kicking your calorie burn up a notch. Just track your progress and aim to increase the weight or reps every few weeks.

Additional Benefits of Weight Lifting

Weight lifting goes beyond burning calories. It’s all about building muscle, which ramps up your resting metabolic rate, so you keep torching calories even when you’re chilling. Plus, it boosts strength, bone density, and overall physical performance. Stick with it for the long haul, and you’ll see major improvements in your body composition and metabolic health. Bonus points: it’s a real mood lifter, slashing stress and pumping up confidence.

Key Takeaway: 

Weight lifting rocks for torching calories and leveling up your fitness game. When you get how different things affect how many calories you burn, you can tweak your workouts to nail your goals. It’s all about keeping it real and pushing yourself a bit more each time. Stay on track and listen to what your body’s telling you, so you can lift smart and stay safe while crushing your goals.


The number of calories you burn during an hour of weight lifting depends on factors like your body weight, workout intensity, and the type of exercises you do. Using fitness trackers or manual calculations can help you keep track of your calorie burn. Weight lifting not only helps with calorie expenditure but also offers numerous other health benefits, making it an essential part of any balanced fitness plan.


1. How does muscle mass affect calorie burn during weight lifting?

Having more muscle boosts your resting metabolic rate, so you’re burning more calories even when you’re chilling out, not just when you’re hitting the gym. Basically, the more muscle you’ve got, the more calories you burn, especially when you’re lifting weights.

2. Lifting heavy weights with fewer reps or lighter weights with more reps—which one burns more calories?

Lifting heavier weights with fewer reps usually burns more calories because of the higher intensity. But mixing both methods can give you a balanced approach to strength and endurance.

3. How accurate are fitness trackers in measuring calorie burn during weight lifting?

Fitness trackers provide estimates that can vary in accuracy. They’re great for tracking trends and progress but might not always give precise calorie counts.

4. Can weight lifting help with weight loss?

Absolutely. Weight lifting helps with weight loss by building muscle and boosting metabolism. It burns calories during workouts and helps maintain muscle during calorie deficits.

5. What are the benefits of combining weight lifting with cardio exercises?

Combining weight lifting with cardio can boost overall fitness, improve cardiovascular health, and increase calorie burn. It gives you a well-rounded workout that benefits both strength and endurance.

Resource List:

  1. “How Many Calories Are Burned Lifting Weights?” –
  2. “How Many Calories Are Burned During Weight Lifting?” –
  3. “How Many Calories Do You Burn Lifting Weights?” –,body%20that%20you’re%20challenging.

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