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EPOC stands for "Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption." It is the amount of oxygen consumed by the body after exercise, and it is important because it represents the amount of energy the body uses to return to its pre-exercise state (homeostasis). This process, also known as the "afterburn effect," can continue for hours after exercise and can result in additional calories being burned.

Weightlifting is known to produce a significant EPOC effect compared to steady-state exercise such as walking, which is one of the reasons resistance training is often recommended as part of a weight loss program.

Exercises that cause the greatest amount of EPOC are typically high-intensity and involve multiple muscle groups. These types of exercises require a greater amount of energy to perform and also create a greater demand for oxygen during and after the workout.

Examples of weightlifting exercises that may cause a significant EPOC effect include:

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) with weights: This type of training involves performing exercises at a high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a rest period, and repeating the cycle several times.

  • Compound exercises: These are exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once, such as the squat, deadlift, and bench press.

  • Supersets: This is a method of weightlifting that involves doing two or more exercises back-to-back without rest.

  • Hypertrophy training: Due to the increased time under tension (TUT) when training for hypertrophy, an increased level of stress and damage is imposed on the body resulting in increased post-exercise oxygen consumption while the body repairs itself.

EPOC is directly related to the intensity of a workout so you may not be surprised to hear that the exercise that elicits the greatest EPOC effect is sprint intervals.

What is important to remember is that EPOC alone will not have a significant effect on body composition. Body recomposition requires getting a handle on your diet, increasing lean muscle mass, and staying consistent in your training schedule.

But you can make small adjustments to your training to maximize EPOC, like performing compound lifts using hypertrophy rep schemes. Not only do they serve as necessary variability within your training, but they also help you burn excess fat after you have completed training for the day.

A great example of combining compound movements with hypertrophy rep schemes to increase EPOC within a powerbuilding program would be the Push Pull Legs. Give it a try and see how your body reacts over the course of the 4-week program.


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