How many calories do squats burn? Why do many people consider it the ultimate calorie-burning exercise? Find out in today’s article.
In this article:
- How Many Calories Do Squats Burn?
- What Is the Way to Estimate MET While Doing Squats?
- How Many Calories Do 50 Squats Burn?
- How Many Calories Per Squat Can One Burn?
- What’s the Proper Way to Do Squats?
How Many Calories Do Squats Burn and Other Related Questions
How Many Calories Do Squats Burn?
The number of calories a person can burn by doing squats depends on several factors. These include body weight, intensity, and duration.
One can estimate how many calories he or she burns while performing squats using the formula:
Calories Burned Per Minute = .0175 x MET x weight (in kilograms)
What is MET? It stands for metabolic equivalent, which is a unit of measurement used to quantify effort exerted during physical activity. MET is a ratio of how energy is used in performing a specific activity compared to energy expenditure at rest, e.g., an activity with a MET of 3 means it burns three times the amount of energy used while resting.
The intensity at which a person squats also affects how many calories he/she can burn through squatting. The higher the intensity, as measured by the MET, the more calories a squatting person will be able to burn.
A heavy person burns more calories through squatting compared to a lighter one. Assuming equal bodyweights and intensities, a person who does squats longer burns more calories, too.
What Is the Way to Estimate MET While Doing Squats?
Based on the MET table, performing squats (a form of resistance training) at a moderate intensity level has a MET value of 3.5. Based on the same table, doing squats (heavy, vigorous effort) at high intensity has a MET value of 8.
How can one find out the intensity level at which he or she is doing squats? A simple but fairly reliable technique is the talk test.
If a person can carry a conversation normally but with some breathing strain while squatting, the exercise intensity is moderate. If that person can hardly talk and is running out of breath, that’s high intensity.
How Many Calories Do 50 Squats Burn?
The calories a person can burn doing 50 squats may vary among different people. As mentioned, body weight, intensity, and duration are all factors to consider.
Let’s compare two people, John and Jane. John weighs 90 kg while Jane weighs 60 kg. Let’s assume they both perform squats at high intensity, with a MET of 8, and it’ll take both of them to complete 50 squats in 2 minutes.
Using the formula discussed earlier:
Calories Burned Per Minute (John) = 0.0175 x MET x weight (in kilograms) = 0.0175 x 8 x 90 kg
Calories Burned Per Minute (John) = 12.6 calories
If John finishes 50 high-intensity bodyweight squats in 2 minutes, he’ll burn 25.20 calories.
How about Jane?
Calories Burned Per Minute (Jane) = 0.0175 x MET x weight (in kilograms) =0.0175 x 8 x 60 kg
Calories Burned Per Minute (Jane) = 8.40 calories
If Jane finishes 50 high-intensity squats in 2 minutes, she’ll burn 16.80 calories.
How Many Calories Per Squat Can One Burn?
To estimate how many calories a person can burn per squat, divide the total calories burned by squats performed.
Going back to John and Jane, dividing total calories burned by the total number of squats performed would yield:
- Calories Burned Per Squat (John) = 25.20 calories ÷ 50 squats = 0.5040 calories per squat
- Calories Burned Per Squat (Jane) = 16.80 calories ÷ 50 squats = 0.3360 calories per squat
If John and Jane decreased their intensity level to moderate (MET of 3.5) by slowing down their repetition speed and performing only 40 repetitions, they’d burn fewer calories in 2 minutes of squatting.
- John – Calories Burned Per Minute = 0.0175 x MET x weight (in kilograms) = 0.0175 x 3.5 x 90 kg = 5.513 calories
- John – Calories Burned from 2-Minutes of Squatting = 5.513 calories X 2 minutes = 11.025 calories
- Jane – Calories Burned Per Minute = 0.0175 x MET x weight (in kilograms) = 0.0175 x 3.5 x 60 kg = 3.675 calories
- Jane – Calories Burned from 2-Minutes of Squatting = 3.675 calories X 2 minutes = 7.350 calories
Dividing total calories burned from 2 minutes of squatting at moderate intensity only:
- John – Calories Burned Per Squat = 11.025 calories ÷ 40 squats = 0.276 calories per squat
- Jane – Calories Burned Per Squat = 7.350 calories ÷ 40 squats = 0.184 calories per squat
What’s the Proper Way to Do Squats?
When done properly, squats are a very safe exercise that can help a person burn a lot of calories. This is because it involves the biggest muscle group in the body — the legs.
Squats primarily work out the thigh muscles (quads), the butt muscles (glutes), and hip flexor muscles. It also recruits the hamstrings, core (abs and lower back), and calf muscles for balance and stability.
With so many muscles involved and the biggest ones at that, no wonder it’s the exercise that burns the most calories. And here’s how to properly execute squats for optimal calorie burning:
- Begin by standing straight with feet at shoulder-width apart. Let the arms hang at the sides.
- Squat by bending at the knees and bringing back the hips. Breathe in and bring the hands together in front of the chest while bringing the body down.
- Stop once the hips are at knee-level and the thighs and hamstrings are parallel to the ground.
- Press the heels to the ground and return to the starting position, exhaling while doing so. Stop short of locking out the knees to maintain continuous tension and avoid shifting weight to them.
- Return the arms to the sides.
- That’s one repetition. Perform the desired number of reps per set.
- It’s important to keep the knees from going past the toes during the squatting phase. This prevents excessive strain on the knee joints and minimizes knee injury risks.
- It’s also important to keep the lower back straight at all times to keep back injuries at bay.
- Push up with the heels instead of the toes to ensure the right muscle groups are engaged and to maximize calorie burning.
- To ensure high-intensity squatting during workouts, take pre-workout supplements for a natural energy boost.
Watch Kalsey Lee do the squat challenge to burn 100 calories in this video from XHIT Daily:
Knowing how many calories squats burn is important information for anyone who is looking to shed a few pounds. People find comfort and motivation in knowing if their efforts will equate to results.
Numbers don’t lie and if you stick to the formula above, you can have a better idea of how many calories can be burned when performing squatting exercises. It can also help you plan your workout routines better, too!
Do you have other questions regarding how many calories do squats burn? Let us know in the comments section below.