Calories Burned Deadlifting

Counting calories is one method of weight loss, which you can track using a calorie calculator app. However, it is difficult to know exactly how many calories you burn doing a certain activity. The number of calories you burn performing deadlifts depends on many factors, including the type of deadlift, your weight, your metabolism and the intensity of your workout.

A woman deadlifting in a cross fit gym.
Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Deadlift Type

The type of deadlift you do will partially determine how many calories you burn. A straight-leg deadlift is a single-joint exercise; you move at the hip joint. A standard deadlift is a multijoint exercise; you move at the hip and knee joints. Because you use more muscle groups during a standard deadlift, you can use more weight. Lifting more weight and using more muscle groups mean you burn more calories doing the standard deadlift than a straight-leg deadlift.

Body Weight

Although the logic may seem counterintuitive, you burn more calories the more you weigh. If you weigh 220 pounds, do a strength workout and then do the same workout when you weigh 180, with all other factors staying the same, you would burn more calories the first time because you are moving more weight through space. Your body weight and metabolism are important factors for the number of calories you burn with the deadlift.

Intensity and Duration

The more intense your workout, the more calories you burn. Using more weight for the deadlift and reducing your rest time between sets increases intensity. Duration only figures in the equation for the time you actually work out. For example, if you spend 20 minutes deadlifting, but 15 minutes is downtime between sets and socializing, you cannot calculate your calorie expenditure based on a 20-minute deadlifting session.


The amount of calories you expend during a deadlifting session is not the total number of calories you burn as a result of your deadlifting session. EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, is the amount of calories your body burns after a strength-training workout to return your body to its previous state. Your body has to restore oxygen levels, remove lactic acid buildup and create new energy stores among other processes. EPOC is not easy to measure. If you use an online calculator or calorie chart to estimate the number of calories you burn while deadlifting, the result will only be a guess. Charts and an online calorie calculator cannot factor in your metabolism or EPOC.

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