Will there be exercises that burn more calories or will this always depend on a number of factors?

It is normal that we want the best for our training, the most effective and the fastest. The tendency is to look for what “works”, or at least what we think works, the best training, the best exercises, the ones that tone the most, the ones that make you lose the belly, the ones that burn the most calories. And it is on this last topic that I intend to address, CALORIES!

I must warn anyone who is reading, that if you are looking to find in this article a guide, or a recipe for more suitable exercises, it will not be here that you will discover them. It would be incorrect and even unfair to be indicating something as a “solution” when most likely it may not be. It is not enough to choose. It is necessary to take into account the factors that define this choice and in this way I took the liberty to identify them:

1. Person

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Physical capacity, training experience and / or possible limitations, can and should have an influence on our choices. People with more capacity, experience and healthier, at the outset will be able to do more complex exercises, more technical and with this obtain a greater energy expenditure. On the contrary, less resistant people, more sedentary and with physical limitations, should take special care, approach simpler, controlled exercises, with greater rest and naturally with less caloric expenditure.

2. Execution

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It is a fact, and scientific evidence supports it, that the greater the intensity placed by an exercise, the greater the energy demand caused by it. The variables responsible for this intensity are:

2.1 – Load: this can be defined by external loads, whether machines, bars, dumbbells … and / or by the body weight itself. Taking this last example, equal exercises for different people and with different weights, generate different responses in terms of energy recruitment, since the effort required to perform the exercise is not the same (need to move different weights).

2.2 – Cadence: for cadence we consider the execution time of each repetition. Exercises with different rhythms naturally present different efforts.

2.3 – Range of movement: translated by the degree of movement performed. The greater the amplitude, the greater the amount of muscle fibers used and, consequently, the greater energy requirement.

3. Exercise

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Isolated exercises (recruiting a muscle group) are different from global exercises (recruiting more than one muscle group). Large muscle exercises (eg, leg) are different from small muscle exercises (eg, biceps). The larger and larger the muscle groups, the greater the energy needs to recruit them.

Conclusion

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It is undeniable that the selection of exercises is relevant when the intention is to look for those that allow more calories to be expended. However, identifying exercises, without considering WHO does them and HOW they are done, is probably to underestimate the basis of the whole process. We must not forget that exercises are a means to achieve certain ends, so the quality and quantity of their execution define whether they will be beneficial or, on the contrary, harmful.

Finally, I leave here a topic that, who knows, may serve as a motto for a next article. Caloric expenditure IS NOT ALWAYS synonymous with quality, so it should not be the main factor in selecting the exercises that make up the training.

Vasco Barbosa

Regional Master Trainer Holmes Place Portugal

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