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Over the years, Men’s Health has sifted through dozens of studies about how many kilojoules you’ll burn with various workouts. But the routine detailed in new research from North Dakota State University is one of the most efficient kilojoule cookers we’ve ever seen.
In just 13 minutes, the study participants fried 1447 kilojoules, according to the research, which was presented yesterday at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.
Compare that to running at a 10-minute mile pace for the same amount of time, which burns 610 kilojoules according to California State University research. Or CrossFit’s notorious Cindy workout, which burns 1092 kilojoules but takes 20 minutes, scientists at Kennesaw State University found.
For the study, men did as many reps of a resistance exercise at 50 percent of their one-rep max as they could bang out in 30 seconds, then rested for 15 seconds.
They followed that protocol for three sets of six different weight-lifting exercises, like bench presses and leg extensions.
The researchers tracked both aerobic and anaerobic energy expenditure during the 13-minute routine, and the average total tallied up to 1447 kilojoules.
That’s 51 more than the guys burned while doing a similar workout that used the same exercises, but with longer rests and heavier weights.
Those results suggest that there’s something about the super-short, 15-second rests that leads to an astronomical kilojoule burn, says study author Jake Erickson, a graduate assistant at North Dakota State University. You use up more energy—a.k.a. kilojoules—when you give your body less time to recover between bouts of intense effort.
Want to try the exact workout used in the study? Here’s how:
Perform as many reps as you can of the first exercise in 30 seconds, using a weight that is 50 percent of your one-rep max. Rest 15 seconds.
That’s 1 set. Do 3. Repeat with exercises 2 through 6.
1. Bench press
2. Bent-over row
3. Bicep curl
4. Lying triceps extension
5. Leg extension
6. Lying leg curl