It is often assumed that the CNS controls movements in a manner that minimizes energetic cost. While empirical evidence for actual metabolic minimization exists in locomotion, actual metabolic cost has yet to be measured during motor learning and/or arm reaching. Here, we measured metabolic power consumption using expired gas analysis, as humans learned novel arm reaching dynamics. We hypothesized that (1) metabolic power would decrease with motor learning and (2) muscle activity and coactivation would parallel changes in metabolic power. Seated subjects made horizontal planar reaching movements toward a target using a robotic arm. The novel dynamics involved compensating for a viscous curl force field that perturbed reaching movements. Metabolic power was measured continuously throughout the protocol. Subjects decreased movement error and learned the novel dynamics. By the end of learning, net metabolic power decreased by ∼20% (∼0.1 W/kg) from initial learning. Muscle activity and coactivation also decreased with motor learning. Interestingly, distinct and significant reductions in metabolic power occurred even after muscle activity and coactivation had stabilized and movement changes were small. These results provide the first evidence of actual metabolic reduction during motor learning and for a reaching task. Further, they suggest that muscle activity may not explain changes in metabolic cost as completely as previously thought. Additional mechanisms such as more subtle features of arm muscle activity, changes in activity of other muscles, and/or more efficient neural processes may also underlie the reduction in metabolic cost during motor learning.