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Body Evolution in the Press - October 2001

The following article from Muscle and Fitness refers to Ken Hedrich's research that was presented at the 2001 American College of Sports Medicine conference on behalf of Northern Illinois University.
Muscle & Fitness Sports Research Update - Fire Up the Afterburners
By Frank Claps, MEd, CSCS    2001 American College of Sports Medicine conference

Weight-Lifting PhotoThe more iron you throw around during high-intensity weight training, the more fat you'll burn afterward.  According to three studies presented at the 2001 American College of Sports Medicine annual conference, weightlifting elicits a significant excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) - which can be a marker for burning calories and, hence, fat loss.

One study presented by researchers at the University of Wisconsin (La Crosse) involved seven male recreational weightlifters who performed an intense 31-minute bout of heavy resistance exercise:  four circuits of bench presses, power cleans and squats.  Each set was performed at the lifter's predetermined 10-rep max and continued until failure.  Two-minute rests were allowed between sets, and oxygen measurements were taken 12 times between 34 hours pre-exercise and 49 hours post-exercise.

The data showed significant elevations in EPOC immediately, 14 hours, 19 hours and 38 hours post-exercise.  "These results suggest that EPOC following heavy resistance exercise may exceed that following moderate aerobic exercise," the researchers wrote.  "Furthermore, the cumulative energy expenditure as a result of EPOC following heavy resistance exercise may exceed the combined total energy expended during and after aerobic exercise."

High intensity may indeed be the way to go for an improved post-exercise burn, agrees another paper presented by researchers from the University of Kansas (Lawrence).  In this study, 11 females performed two separate constant sessions involving two sets of 15 repetitions of nine exercises.  In one session, the women worked at 45% of their 8RM; in the second, 80%.  While energy expenditure was similar in both, a greater EPOC was recorded following the higher-intensity sessions.  "If total energy expenditure is an important consideration during exercise, then high-intensity activities should be considered in the exercise prescription," researchers wrote.

Want to burn even more calories?  Try splitting your workouts to train upper body in the morning and lower body in the afternoon.  That conclusion was drawn by researchers from Northern Illinois University (DeKalb), who had eight male subjects perform 12-15 reps of the bench press, lat pull-down, squat and leg curl in one continuous session.  Seventy-two hours later, subjects performed the same exercises in split a.m./p.m. sessions eight hours apart, during which greater EPOC values were seen.  "These results suggest that when the magnitude of exercise is held constant, split resistance exercise sessions can elicit significantly greater EPOC than can a single continuous session," researchers wrote.  "Split sessions may be of more practical significance for fat-burning."

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