An examination of the differences between two methods of estimating energy expenditure in resistance training activities

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):1026-31. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000375.


To date, few studies have looked at the energy expenditure (EE) of individual resistance training (RT) exercises. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the EE of 4 modes of RT (push-ups, curl-ups, pull-ups, and lunges) using 2 different calculation methods for estimating EE. Twelve healthy men with a minimum of 1 year of RT experience were randomly assigned to an RT circuit. Each circuit contained the 4 RT exercises in a specified order. The participants completed 3 trials of their assigned circuit during one visit to the laboratory. Oxygen consumption was measured continuously throughout the trial using indirect calorimetry. Two different calculation methods were applied to estimate EE. Using the traditional method (TEC), we estimated EE by calculating the average oxygen consumption recorded during each activity. Using the second, nontraditional method (NEC), we estimated EE by calculating the average oxygen consumption recorded during the recovery period. Independent T-tests were used to evaluate mean EE differences between the 2 methods. Estimates of EE obtained from the NEC were significantly higher for all the 4 activities (p < 0.001). Using the NEC, 3 of the 4 activities were classified as vigorous intensity (push-ups: 6.91 metabolic equivalents (METs); lunges: 7.52 METs; and pull-ups: 8.03 METs), whereas none were classified as vigorous using the TEC. Findings suggest that the methods we use to calculate the EE of anaerobic activities significantly affect EE estimates. Using the TEC may underestimate actual EE of anaerobic activities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Equivalent*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Young Adult