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Burn Twice as Many Calories With These Strength Training Habits

Torch double the calories and reach your fat loss goal with these key steps.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Look no further than these strength training habits if you're on board with losing fat. Strength training is king when it comes to sculpting lean muscle, torching even more calories than cardio, and boosting your metabolism. That's why we've rounded up the best strength habits to follow in order to burn twice as many calories. Keep reading to find out more.

I recommend getting in at least two to three strength training sessions each week for most individuals. If you're already on a regular strength regimen, you can still learn several amazing habits to incorporate into your routine that'll help you reach your fat loss goal. Get ready to start your journey and burn twice as many calories with these three key steps.

Keep a log book, and improve your performance each time you log it.

concept logging fitness

Many individuals who are training don't realize the importance of keeping a journal. Tracking your personal data—including how much weight you use, in addition to the sets and reps you're performing—is totally advantageous to your overall plan. It's an easy way to ensure you're not constantly doing the same amount of work. If you don't up your game, you'll burn the same amount of calories and not stimulate your muscles to their fullest potential.

So to help you burn twice as many calories and build more muscle, start tracking your workout performance and use the information to try to improve each workout. Each session, consider going heavier on your lifts, performing more reps, or doing both.

Related: The Strength Training Habits That Slow Aging, According to Science

Perform activation exercises.

resistance band pull-apart exercise

A lot of people don't always feel the effect of certain muscle groups during their exercises. One way to improve your mind-muscle connection is by performing moves that isolate them. This will allow you to recruit these muscle groups more efficiently, which in turn will increase your calorie burn.

The great thing about these exercises is that you can also perform them before your general daily movements, which will allow you to engage your muscles in everyday life. Here are two examples:

Band Lateral Walks

trainer performing band lateral walks
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

For Band Lateral Walks, start by putting a loop band with medium tension above your knees. With your hips pushed back and knees soft, begin stepping out to the left. As you step, lead with your heel, and don't let your knee cave in. Go out for at least 20 to 30 steps, then move to the right for 20 to 30 steps.

Band Pullaparts

trainer performing band pull-aparts, exercise to burn twice the calories
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Grab a light or medium resistance band for your Band Pullaparts. Hold it with both hands just about shoulder-width distance apart. Keeping your hands completely straight, begin pulling the band apart until your arms are fully outstretched. As you're pulling the band, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold the end of the movement for one to two seconds before returning to the starting position. Complete 20 reps.

Related: The #1 Floor Workout To Lose Belly Fat and Slow Down Aging, Says Trainer

Incorporate compound sets.

mature man performing dumbbell lateral raise

A great way to burn more calories and recruit more muscle fibers during your training sessions is by doing compound sets. This is also a technique to get your body moving and really feel your muscles that you may not normally during regular workouts. Compound sets are basically performing two movements that use the same muscles back to back.

A great plan is selecting an isolation exercise, then following it up with a compound movement (pre-fatigue), or performing a compound movement followed by an isolation exercise (post-fatigue). Below are examples of both.


  • Leg Extensions: For your Leg Extensions, sit down on the machine with your legs underneath the pad. Kick the weight up, and squeeze your quads hard at the top for at least one to two seconds. Lower the weight all the way down before performing another rep. Complete 10 to 12 reps.
  • … followed by Barbell Back Squats: To perform Barbell Back Squats, begin the movement by placing the barbell comfortably on your upper back (not your neck). Grab the bar with both of your arms outside shoulder-width, making sure the bar is absolutely secure. Un-rack the bar, take two steps back, and stand tall. Tighten your core, push your hips back, and squat straight down until your hips are parallel to the floor before coming back up. Complete 6 to 8 reps.


  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: For the Dumbbell Shoulder Press, position the dumbbells next to your shoulders. Your palms should be facing each other. Keep your core tight and glutes squeezed, and press the dumbbells up, flexing your shoulders and triceps at the top of the movement. Lower the weight under control before performing another rep. Complete 10 reps.
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise: Grab a pair of dumbbells for your Dumbbell Lateral Raise. Stand with your chest tall and your head slightly tilted back. Begin the motion by raising both dumbbells out to your side just right where your arms are parallel to the floor. Flex the sides of your shoulders at the top, then lower the weight under control. As you lower the dumbbells, maintain tension in your shoulders the entire time. Perform 15 reps.
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim
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