It's OK to Rest a Minute During Weight Training
Dec. 13, 1999 (Atlanta) -- When weight training, the length of the interval
between sets does not affect the number of calories burned, according to a
study in the November issue of Medicine and Science inSports and
Exercise. Experts say the findings have important implications for weight
control exercise programs.
Researchers compared circuit weight training protocols with 20- and
60-second intervals between sets in seven healthy men of average height and
build. Participants completed both protocols in two different sessions one week
apart. Each protocol began at the leg press station and included two circuits
for a total of 16 stations.
The data showed that each protocol burned about the same number of calories.
Researchers say that this finding has some practical applications for resistive
exercise programs. "The data suggest that weight training with moderate
intensity burns about the same number of calories as weight training with high
intensity," lead study investigator Ronald Haltom tells WebMD. Haltom, who
is an exercise physiologist at Branch Medical Clinic in Mayport, Fla., says
this means everyone can benefit from weight training regardless of fitness
"This is good news for people trying to lose weight and get back into
shape," Haltom says. "When people begin weight training, they usually
can't handle high exercise intensity. But that does not mean they don't derive
a benefit. Resistive exercise is an important component of any fitness program.
It's not just for bodybuilders. Weight training is for everybody." Doctors
specializing in sports medicine agree.
"The American College of Sports Medicine includes resistive exercise in
its guidelines for overall fitness," says Robert Dimeff, MD, who is the
medical director of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health and assistant clinical
professor of family medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
"Aerobic exercise is recommended three to four times a week in combination
with resistive exercise twice a week." Dimeff tells WebMD that resistive
exercise has a number of benefits, including the prevention of
"Weight training is not just about body sculpting. It maintains muscle
mass, bone mass, and a reasonable body composition of muscle to fat. But it's
got to be combined with aerobic exercise for heart and lung health as a total
program," Dimeff says. "A lot of people enjoy brisk walking and
research shows a speed of about three and a half miles per hour is
optimal." Dimeff says that more research is needed to help guide clinical
"There are lots of ways to build on our findings," says Haltom.
"Studying the effects of different weights and set durations on energy
expenditure would help project weight loss as a program outcome. Another study
with practical application might be to compare the effects of long-term circuit
weight training on metabolic responses in normal and obese
- Recommendations advise that people do weight training exercises twice a
week in order to maintain bone and muscle mass and to establish a reasonable
ratio of muscle to fat.
- A new study shows that the length of time between sets does not affect the
number of total calories burned.
- Even those who have a low fitness level can benefit from a moderate