Calories Used From a Seated Leg Press

Seated leg presses strengthen your quads, but don't burn many calories.
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If you're turning to seated leg presses to help trim down and build leg muscle, you're on the right track -- these exercises can be an effective addition to a total fitness program. On their own, however, leg presses burn a trivial number of calories. For successful weight loss, include them a in full-body muscle-strengthening routine, and also perform cardio exercise such as jogging most days of the week.

About Seated Leg Presses

You have two types of seated leg presses to choose from. The lever seated leg press involves sitting in a selectorized weight machine with your knees bent and your feet resting on a platform. After setting a resistance level, you straighten your knees to push the platform away from your body. Sled seated leg presses begin the same way, but your seat moves while the foot platform stays still; when you straighten your knees, your body slides upward. Both of these machines target the quadriceps on the fronts of your thighs, and also engage your calves, hips and the hamstrings on the backs of your thighs.

Calories Burned

With both types of leg presses, the number of calories you burn depends on your weight load as well as the duration of the activity. During a 30-minute weight training session, a 125-pound person burns 90 calories, a 155-pound person burns 112 calories and a 185-pound person burns 133 calories. You'll likely spend just a few minutes performing leg presses, which will have you burn just a fraction of these calories. For example, in three minutes you might burn 9 to 18.5 calories, depending on your weight.

Leg Presses and Metabolism

Beyond immediate calorie burning, performing leg presses may help you expend more calories all day long by increasing your basal metabolic rate slightly. Muscle tissue requires maintenance, even at rest, which in turn requires energy from calories. In a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2010, researchers found that each kilogram of muscle uses about 13 calories per day. (ref 5) One kilogram is about 2.2 pounds, so that works out to about 6 calories per pound of muscle, per day. WIth regular strength-training exercise, the average previously untrained person builds 2 to 4 pounds of muscle with 2 months, according to the Dixie State University Fitness Center, after which muscle development slows. (ref 5, "Physical Capaticy" section)

Calories in Context

On their own, calorie counts don't mean very much, so estimate the number of calories you burn during the day for perspective. Harvard Medical School recommends that moderately active people multiply their weight by 15 to calculate daily burn. So at 150 pounds, you likely burn 2,250 calories per day. You lose a pound for every 3,500 calories that you burn and don't replace with food; likewise, you gain a pound for every 3,500 calories that you consume but don't burn.

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