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The Best Exercises for EPOC

author image Craig Smith
Craig Smith covers weight loss and exercise programming for various online publications. He has been a personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise since 2001. Smith also holds a diploma in exercise physiology and kinesiology from the National Personal Training Institute.
The Best Exercises for EPOC
A woman is sprinting up stairs. Photo Credit: fatchoi/iStock/Getty Images

After performing certain exercises, your body uses a larger amount of oxygen than before your workout to restore the body to normal levels. This enhanced oxygen consumption, known as excess post-oxygen consumption or EPOC, results in a higher overall calorie burn after exercise. According to, EPOC increases your metabolism for up to 48 hours after a workout.

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EPOC Exercise

Movements that recruit multiple large muscle groups initiate the EPOC effect after exercise. Targeting these large muscle groups, which include the chest, quads, hamstrings and entire back, through compound movements cause a higher metabolic demand on the body. Exercises that include the entire body and require heavier amounts of resistance are best to stimulate this metabolic response.

Bench Press

The bench press targets pectoral muscles, triceps, deltoids and the upper back muscles. The bench press uses a flat, incline or decline bench to focus on different areas of the pectoral muscles. Benefits of the bench press include the use of many muscle groups to stabilize the resistance during the movement to stimulate the body into EPOC.


Sprinting provides another training method for initiating EPOC. Sprinting places high demands on the entire body to perform with increased emphasis on the quadriceps, hamstrings, core, and gluteal muscles. A sample sprint exercise involves running as fast as possible for 20 to 30 yards then resting for 30 seconds and repeating.


The deadlift incorporates many muscle groups like the quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, lats, rhomboids, trapezius and forearms. To execute the deadlift, stand behind a barbell with your feet hip-width apart. Bend the knees and grab the bar using a shoulder-width distance. Keep your shoulders back and chest up throughout the movement and lift the bar until you are standing straight.

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