How many calories are burned during elastic band exercises?

25 June, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment


Everyone knows the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight. Diet and exercise remain the gold standard recommendation for those needing to lose weight. Excess calorie consumption leads to increased fat storage, particularly in sedentary individuals. A healthy diet helps limit intake calories, while exercise helps burn excess calories. Maintaining the balance between calories consumed and calories burned help maintain healthy body weights.

An energy expenditure chart (Ainsworth et al. 2011) can be useful in determining the amount of energy burned during various activities like swimming, gardening, or weight lifting.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that apparently healthy adults perform 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, as well as strengthening of major muscle groups at least twice a week. While the energy expenditure chart includes many cardiovascular activities, it is very limited in providing the energy expenditure of strength-training activities. And despite its popularity in fitness programs, elastic resistance exercise is not currently specified in the chart.

Researchers at Wichita State University wanted to determine the caloric expenditure of elastic band exercises. They presented their results at the ACSM Annual Meeting this month in Indianapolis. They had 20 healthy university students complete 15 minutes of upper and lower body exercise using blue and black TheraBandTM resistance bands. The researchers calculated the metabolic expenditure (METs) of the exercises using oxygen consumption measures.


Dr. Mike Rogers (left) and Dr. Nobuo Takeshima present their research at the ACSM Annual Meeting

The researchers found that the blue and black bands on average provided a ‘moderate intensity’ resistance workout, expending 3.27 METS and 3.52 METS, respectively. Lower body exercises produced more METs than upper body exercises, and black band exercises utilized more METS than blue bands:

Blue Band Black Band
Upper Body Exercise 3.1 METS 3.29 METS
Lower Body Exercise 3.66 METS 4 METS

Interestingly, the levels reported by the researchers are similar to the reported MET levels for “resistance training” (3.5) (Ainsworth et al. 2011). Therefore, exercises with TheraBand blue and black bands twice a week would meet the physical activity recommendation for moderate levels of resistance training.

These results are also important in providing caloric expenditure. One MET is roughly equivalent to the expenditure of 1 kcal per kilogram of body weight per hour; therefore, calories burned during an activity can be roughly calculated using the formula (Ainsworth et al. 2011):

Kilocalories = MET x weight in kilograms x duration in hours.

Using the formula above, a 70 kg person performing upper body exercises for 30 minutes with a blue TheraBand resistance band exercises at 3.1 METS would burn 108 kCal (3.1 x 70 x 0.5).

The results of this study have important implications for promotion of physical activity as well as weight loss/management programs.

REFERENCE: Rogers ME, et al. 2014. Caloric expenditure of elastic resistance training in upper and lower body exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 46(5S):244-5 (Abstract).

Disclosure: Performance Health supported this study, but had no influence on its outcome or publication.

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