The number of calories burned doing the bench press depends on how intensely you are lifting and your body weight. While the weight you are benching contributes to the intensity of your workout, what is light and easy for you may be heavy and intense for someone else and vice versa.
You will burn an estimated 180 to 532 calories per hour of weight lifting, including the bench press. The more you weigh and the more intense your workout, the more calories you burn.
Bench Press Technique
The bench press primarily targets the sternal head of the pectoralis major muscle in your chest, says ExRx.net. The clavicular head of the pectoralis major, the anterior deltoid and the triceps brachii work as synergists to help support the movement. The biceps brachii are also involved as a stabilizer muscle during the bench press.
To perform the bench press, start on your back on the bench with the barbell racked. Be sure to select a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level. You want the reps to be challenging, but not so heavy you cannot maintain proper form. Make sure you have a partner with you to spot you, especially if you are lifting a heavy weight.
- Grasp the bar with an overhand grip and remove it from the rack.
- Lower the barbell to your chest. When you're in the "down" position, your hands should be right above your elbows.
- Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
You can also do a bench press using dumbbells. To perform this modification, sit on the bench holding your dumbbells resting on your knees.
Lift the weights to your shoulder as you lie back on the bench. Then, with your arms bent, position the weights to the side of your chest directly over your arms. Press the dumbbells up until your elbows are extended. Lower the weights to the starting position.
Bench Press: Calories Per Rep
The number of calories burned doing bench press varies depending on how intensely you are working and your body weight. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 125-pound individual burns between 180 and 360 calories for every hour of weight lifting. A 185-pound individual burns between 266 and 532 calories per hour.
To estimate the number of calories you burn in a given session, try the exercise calories burned calculator from ExRx.net. Simply enter your weight, the length of your workout and select the activity performed.
Weightlifting not only burns calories during your workout. Your body continues to burn calories after your workout ends, says the American Council on Exercise. Although you may feel like your body has returned to a normal state, your body is still working to recover from the drain of your workout.
This can add to your calorie burn per workout, especially if you have an intense strength training workout that targets both the upper and lower body. Even if you only fit in a short workout, you still benefit from this after-burn effect if your training is high intensity.
- Harvard Health Publications: "Calories Burned In 30 Minutes For People Of Three Different Weights"
- ExRx.net: "Exercise Calories Burned Calculator"
- American Council on Exercise: "7 Things to Know About Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)"
- ExRx.net: "Dumbbell Bench Press"
- ExRx.net: "Barbell Bench Press"