Burn Calories with Bench Press: Find Out How Many You Lose

Often overshadowed by cardio in the calorie-burning conversation, the bench press is a key player in muscle building and metabolic rate enhancement. This guide aims to demystify the calorie-burning aspect of bench pressing, offering insights into how this popular exercise not only shapes your muscles but also impacts your energy expenditure.

Whether you’re a regular at the bench or just considering adding it to your routine, this guide will provide you with a new perspective on how lifting weights can be an integral part of your fitness journey.

Overview of Calorie Burn in Weightlifting

When delving into the world of weightlifting for calorie burn, it’s essential to understand the dynamics and how different exercises contribute to your fitness goals. Let’s explore the role of bench press in calorie expenditure and compare it with other weightlifting exercises to give you a clearer picture.

The Role of Bench Press in Caloric Expenditure

I’ve always found bench pressing to be more than just an exercise for building chest muscles. It’s a calorie-burning activity that often doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Bench press, a compound exercise, engages multiple muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, triceps, and even the legs to some extent. This multi-muscle engagement means the body works harder, leading to higher calorie expenditure than isolation exercises targeting a single muscle group.

Important Fact: The total calories burned during a bench press session can vary. For instance, a person weighing 160 pounds burns approximately 365 calories per hour during a moderate-intensity weightlifting workout. Remember, these numbers can fluctuate based on several factors, such as body weight, intensity of the workout, and individual metabolism.

Comparing Bench Press to Other Weightlifting Exercises

When comparing the bench press to other weightlifting exercises, it’s crucial to understand the concept of compound versus isolation exercises. Compound exercises like bench press involve multiple muscle groups, which in turn can lead to greater calorie burn.

Here are some comparisons:

  • Squats vs. Bench Press: Squats engage the core and lower body, making them incredibly effective for calorie burning. While bench presses primarily target the upper body, both exercises are efficient at burning calories due to their compound nature.
  • Isolation Exercises: Exercises like dumbbell flies or bicep curls typically burn fewer calories than bench presses because they target fewer muscle groups.

It’s not all about the calories, though. Integrating a variety of exercises, including both compound and isolation movements, into your routine ensures a well-rounded fitness regimen. But for those focusing on calorie burn, incorporating bench presses and other compound exercises can be particularly beneficial.

Factors Influencing Calorie Burn in Bench Press

When tackling the bench press, it’s essential to understand that the number of calories burned isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Several factors come into play, significantly impacting how much energy our bodies expend during these sessions. Let’s dive into some of the key elements that can either rev up or dial down your calorie-burning potential while bench pressing.

Impact of Body Weight on Caloric Burn

First up, let’s talk about body weight. It’s a well-known fact that the more you weigh, the more calories you tend to burn during exercise. This phenomenon is due to the increased energy required to move a heavier body. To put it simply, heavier individuals often exert more effort during physical activities, leading to higher caloric burn. Therefore, two people doing the exact same bench press workout might see different results on the calorie counter simply because of their body weight differences.

Effect of Workout Intensity and Duration

Next, the intensity and duration of your workout play pivotal roles. The logic here is straightforward – the harder and longer you work, the more calories you burn. By adding more weight to your bench press or incorporating more reps, you effectively increase the workout’s intensity. This ramp-up not only challenges your muscles but also pushes your body to burn more calories to keep up with the increased demand.

Similarly, extending the duration of your bench press session can lead to a higher caloric expenditure. It’s a game of balance, though, as it’s crucial to listen to your body to avoid overexertion and potential injury. Always emphasize proper form and gradually increase your workout length as your strength and endurance improve.

Variation in Caloric Burn Based on Gender and Age

Another intriguing aspect is how caloric burn varies based on gender and age. Generally speaking, men tend to have a higher muscle mass compared to women, leading to an increased calorie burn during strength training exercises like the bench press. However, this doesn’t mean women can’t maximize their calorie burn; intensity and workout design play significant roles here as well.

As for age, it’s been observed that younger individuals might have a slight edge in calorie burning due to higher muscle mass and metabolic rates. Nevertheless, optimizing workout intensity and duration can help individuals across all age groups maximize their caloric expenditure.

In sum, while the bench press is a classic strength training exercise known primarily for building upper body strength, its potential for calorie burn shouldn’t be underestimated.

Estimating Caloric Burn During Bench Press

When we dive into fitness and weightlifting, understanding how our activities impact our calorie burn is crucial. Bench pressing, a staple in many workout regimes, is more than just an exercise to build upper body strength; it’s also a participant in our overall calorie-burning efforts. Let’s unravel the complexity behind estimating the number of calories burned during a bench press session.

Calculating Calories Burned: A Step-by-Step Guide

Calculating caloric expenditure during bench pressing isn’t as straightforward as one might hope. Due to the variables such as body weight, intensity, and the specific dynamics of each session, a one-size-fits-all number remains elusive. However, by leveraging some established formulas, we can get reasonably close to understanding our burn rate.

The calorie calculator hinges on two main variables: workout duration and body weight. The formulas, slightly differing between men and women, provide a baseline for estimation. For men, it goes as Minutes working out x Bodyweight in kg x 0.0713, and for women, it’s Minutes working out x Bodyweight in kg x 0.0637. These formulas reflect both your basal metabolic rate and the extra energy expenditure from the weight training.

To put this into practice, let’s consider a simple scenario. If I, a 180-pound man (which translates to approximately 81.6 kg), engage in 45 minutes of bench pressing, using the equation provided would result in roughly 261 calories burned. This calculation takes into account both my body weight and the time spent working out, offering a tailored estimate of caloric burn.

Bench Press Calorie Calculators and Their Accuracy

While manual calculations provide insight, many turn to online calorie calculators for a more convenient estimate. These calculators operate on similar principles, requiring inputs like weight, exercise duration, and, sometimes, intensity. Yet, it’s important to question: How accurate are these calculators?

Several factors impact a calculator’s accuracy, primarily how closely your workout mirrors the scenarios these tools are based on. For instance, if your session aligns with the test conditions used to derive the formulas (e.g., sets of 8-12 reps with about 90 seconds of rest in between), you’re likely to get more accurate results. Conversely, variations in your workout routine, such as longer rests or heavier weights, could skew these estimates.

It’s also vital to remember that these calculators and formulas offer estimates, not precise values. Differences in metabolism, exact exercise intensity, and even the particular movements performed during a bench press session (like the specific angle of the bench or the type of press) can all influence the actual calories burned.

Maximizing Caloric Burn During Bench Press

When I’m at the gym, burning calories and toning my muscles, especially during a bench press session, I focus not just on the sheer number of reps but on techniques that maximize caloric burn. Let’s dive deep into how you can intensify your workout for the ultimate calorie-torching session.

Techniques for Increasing Workout Intensity

Increasing the intensity of your bench press session is a surefire way to amp up the calories burned. I’ve found that supersets, combining bench presses with a different exercise with no rest in between, drastically increase my heart rate and calorie expenditure. For example, alternating sets of bench presses with push-ups push my body out of its comfort zone, requiring more energy and thus burning more calories. Additionally, implementing drop sets by progressively reducing the weight with each set until muscle fatigue, without rest, can significantly boost intensity and caloric burn.

However, make sure you are not making your workouts too intense so you don’t start experiencing shoulder pain after bench press.

Role of Repetition and Weight Variation

It’s crucial to vary the repetitions and weight to shock the body into burning more calories. I usually start my bench press session with a heavier weight for fewer reps, focusing on muscle strength. As I progress, I switch to lighter weights with higher reps to focus on endurance and sustained energy expenditure. This strategy not only maximizes muscle growth but also increases caloric burn. Here’s a simplified table that outlines my approach:


Varying the intensity and type of stress on the muscles this way ensures that I’m always keeping my body guessing and burning as many calories as possible during each session.

Incorporating Cardio Elements for Enhanced Caloric Burn

I’ve found that integrating cardio elements into a bench press routine significantly ups the calorie-burning game. One efficient method is to perform bench press sets in a circuit, with minimal rest between sets, including cardio exercises like jumping jacks or high knees. This keeps the heart rate elevated, ensuring that I’m not just building strength but also maximizing caloric burn. Moreover, alternating between different types of press movements within the same workout session—such as incline, decline, and flat bench press—combats monotony and engages various muscle groups, further enhancing the workout’s effectiveness.

Long-term Benefits of Bench Press on Metabolism

Engaging in regular bench press exercises doesn’t just provide immediate satisfaction and visible gains; it also offers enduring benefits that affect your body’s metabolic processes. I’ve delved into how this classic exercise can boost your metabolism over time, ensuring that you’re not just building strength but also enhancing your body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.

Understanding the After-Burn Effect (EPOC)

EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, is a phenomenon that always catches my interest because it highlights the body’s incredible capability to keep burning calories even after a workout session has ended. This after-burn effect is especially significant after intense workouts like heavy bench press sessions. Studies, including one that reported a surprising 743-calorie afterburn, showcase the power of resistance training in elevating post-exercise calorie expenditure. While most studies show a modest increase in calories burned post-workout, it’s this additional expenditure, no matter how small, that contributes to long-term fitness and metabolic rate improvements.

Bench Press and Its Impact on Basal Metabolic Rate

Let’s talk about the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and how bench pressing can influence it. Your BMR is essentially the number of calories your body needs to maintain basic physiological functions while at rest. Muscle tissue is metabolically more active than fat tissue, which means the more muscle mass you have, the higher your BMR will be. Since bench pressing is an excellent way to build muscle, incorporating it into your routine can lead to a gradually increasing BMR.

Given that lean body mass is a pivotal factor in determining metabolism speed, the equation provided by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights the direct correlation between muscle mass (LBM in kg) and daily caloric needs. Here’s a simplified version of the equation for reference:

BMR (kcal/day)500 + (22 * LBM in kg)

Regular bench pressing not only helps in enhancing your physique but also plays a crucial role in boosting your basal metabolic rate through muscle growth. This, in turn, ensures that your body becomes more efficient at burning calories, even when you’re not actively working out.

Balancing Bench Press with Overall Fitness Goals

When I’m working towards my fitness goals, balancing different types of exercises is crucial. Here’s a deeper dive into how the bench press fits into the grand scheme of fitness objectives, particularly focusing on caloric burn and weight loss versus strength training.

Aligning Caloric Burn with Weight Loss Objectives

When it comes to losing weight, the concept is straightforward: burn more calories than you consume. However, pinpointing the exact number of calories burned during specific exercises like the bench press can be a bit tricky. The bench press, a compound exercise, engages multiple muscle groups, such as the chest, shoulders, and triceps, making it a valuable addition to any weight loss regime.

From my experience, it’s essential to measure the intensity and duration of your bench press sessions. A study highlighted in my article demonstrated that participants burned more calories with heavier weights and fewer reps. This intimates that upping the intensity of your bench press session can align better with weight loss objectives by maximizing calorie burn. Still, it’s important to remember that weightlifting, including bench pressing, should be part of a broader, comprehensive workout plan that ideally includes both cardio and strength training elements.

Bench Press in Strength Training vs. Weight Loss Regimens

Strength building and weight loss are often seen as separate goals, but integrating bench press routines can be effective for both. In strength training, the focus is on increasing muscle mass and improving overall muscular endurance and power. Adding muscle mass boosts your basal metabolic rate (BMR), meaning you’ll burn more calories at rest. This doesn’t just help with weight loss; it’s critical for maintaining a healthy metabolism.

On the flip side, those of us targeting weight loss might be tempted to sideline strength training in favor of cardio exercises known for their high caloric burn. While cardio is important, integrating bench presses and other weightlifting activities promotes muscle growth, which aids weight loss by enhancing your body’s calorie-burning efficiency.

Finding the right balance between strength training and cardio is vital for effective weight management. I’ve found that alternating between bench press sessions and cardio exercises ensures I’m not only burning calories but also building the muscle necessary to keep those calories burning long after my workout has ended.


While bench pressing is a powerhouse for burning calories and toning the upper body, it’s clear that a well-rounded fitness routine is key to achieving optimal results. I’ve learned that integrating a mix of compound and isolation exercises can significantly enhance my workout’s effectiveness, promoting not only strength but also maximizing calorie burn. It’s about striking the perfect balance between strength training and cardio to meet my fitness goals. By diversifying my routine with exercises that complement the bench press, I’m not just building muscle but also ensuring that my body is efficiently burning calories. This approach not only aids in weight loss but also keeps my metabolism firing on all cylinders. Remember, fitness is a journey, and finding the right mix of exercises tailored to your goals is essential for success.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

How can I accurately track calories burned during bench pressing?

Wearable fitness trackers can provide an estimate of calories burned. However, for a more accurate measurement, professional fitness assessments at a gym or clinic may be necessary.

Does age or gender affect the number of calories burned during bench pressing?

Yes, typically, younger individuals and males, who often have higher muscle mass, may burn more calories during strength training exercises like bench pressing compared to older adults or females.

Similar Posts