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Strength athletes burn more calories than normal for days after a training session thanks to the EPOC effect. Italian researchers at the University of Padova have discovered that a training method they call high-intensity interval resistance training boosts post-workout calorie burning even more than traditional strength training.

Strength athletes burn more calories than normal for days after a training session thanks to the EPOC effect. Italian researchers at the University of Padova have discovered that a training method they call high-intensity interval resistance training boosts post-workout calorie burning even more than traditional strength training.

EPOC is short for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. In the 20th century physiologists discovered that after a high-intensity cardio training session or a strength-training workout the level of oxygen burned by the body remains elevated, and that the body is thus burning extra calories. After intensive exertion the body needs to repair all sorts of things and recover, both of which cost extra energy.

The EPOC effect is also referred to as the after-burn effect.

Brandt got 16 untrained women to do abductions on a machine [below left] and with an elastic band [below right]. The women used TheraBand exercise bands. Brandt placed electrodes on the women’s legs, glutes and core muscles so he could measure the electrical activity in their muscles, which gave an indication of how intensively the women were using their muscles.

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Interval training raises EPOC, as does strength training, so the researchers surmised that a combination of these two types of training might result in an extra strong EPOC effect. They published a study in the Journal of Translational Medicine in 2012 in which they described how they had tested this theory in an experiment involving 17 well-trained male strength athletes.

The researchers got their subjects to do strength training on two occasions, and measured how many calories the men burned in the first 22 hours after each session.

On one occasion the men trained in a traditional manner: they performed eight exercises, covering the largest muscle groups. They did 4 sets of each exercise using a weight with which they could manage a maximum of 12 reps. Between sets they rested for 1-2 minutes.

On the other occasion the men did high-intensity interval resistance training: they trained using weights with which they could just manage 6 reps. First they performed 1 set at failure, rested 20 seconds and then performed another set at failure. Most only managed 2 reps in the second set. The subjects then rested for another 20 seconds and then performed another set at failure.

For each of the upper-body exercises the men did two of these series. For the leg-muscle exercises they did three.

The men did just 3 exercises: the leg-press, chest-press and lat-row.

The figure below shows that the traditional form of strength training raised the men’s calorie burning by 98 calories in the 22 hours after the workout. The high-intensity interval resistance training boosted the men’s calorie burning by a whopping 452 calories.

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The men’s respiratory ratio [RR] was reduced after the high-intensity interval training, which would indicate that their fat burning increased.

Including the warming up the high-intensity interval training lasted 32 minutes. The Italians conclude that the short time required and the strong effect on fat burning opens up interesting perspectives.

“Our results suggest that high-intensity interval resistance training increases excess post exercise energy consumption to a significantly greater extent than traditional resistance training”, the researchers write. “This exercise methodology allows subjects to improve metabolism and, at the same time, muscle mass and strength all of which are promoted as beneficial by many guidelines. In Western society leisure time is lacking and motivation to perform daily exercise is uncommon resulting in low overall levels of daily lifestyle related physical activity.”

High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIRT) influences resting energy expenditure and respiratory ratio in non-dieting individuals.

Paoli A1, Moro T, Marcolin G, Neri M, Bianco A, Palma A, Grimaldi K.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The benefits of exercise are well established but one major barrier for many is time. It has been proposed that short period resistance training (RT) could play a role in weight control by increasing resting energy expenditure (REE) but the effects of different kinds of RT has not been widely reported.

METHODS:

We tested the acute effects of high-intensity interval resistance training (HIRT) vs. traditional resistance training (TT) on REE and respiratory ratio (RR) at 22?hours post-exercise. In two separate sessions, seventeen trained males carried out HIRT and TT protocols. The HIRT technique consists of: 6 repetitions, 20?seconds rest, 2/3 repetitions, 20 secs rest, 2/3 repetitions with 2’30? rest between sets, three exercises for a total of 7 sets. TT consisted of eight exercises of 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions with one/two minutes rest with a total amount of 32 sets. We measured basal REE and RR (TT0 and HIRT0) and 22?hours after the training session (TT22 and HIRT22).

RESULTS:

HIRT showed a greater significant increase (p?< ?0.001) in REE at 22?hours compared to TT (HIRT22 2362?±?118 Kcal/d vs TT22 1999?±?88 Kcal/d). RR at HIRT22 was significantly lower (0.798?±?0.010) compared to both HIRT0 (0.827?±?0.006) and TT22 (0.822?±?0.008).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data suggest that shorter HIRT sessions may increase REE after exercise to a greater extent than TT and may reduce RR hence improving fat oxidation. The shorter exercise time commitment may help to reduce one major barrier to exercise.

PMID: 23176325 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC3551736

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23176325

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