How Many Calories Do Squats Burn?
Squats can be an effective fat-burning or strength-building exercise. When you do squats using your body weight, they can help with weight loss. Add a kettle ball or dumbbells, and you can work on strengthening your muscles.
But the number of calories you’ll burn will depend on your weight and the length and intensity of your workout. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. The same goes for longer and more intense workout sessions.
Squats can be part of an exercise program. However, the average person would have to do quite a few to burn enough calories for weight loss. Not to mention, exercise alone rarely helps people achieve weight loss. To lose weight, you need to ensure you’re at a calorie deficit, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting regular exercise.
So, how many calories do squats burn? Let’s look at how many calories you can expect to burn with squats and how you can use them alongside other exercises in your workout routine.
Are Squats a Good Exercise for Weight Loss?
Like any exercise, squats can help you burn more calories. You’ll usually lose weight when you consistently burn more calories than you take in. Squats performed without weights are best for burning calories and weight loss. Using your own body’s resistance and weight helps make the exercise more of a cardio-like activity.
Cardiovascular exercises increase your heart rate above its resting rate. Your heart has to pump more blood, and your lungs move more oxygen through them to accommodate the additional strain. While your body burns calories simply by existing, increasing physical activity through cardio exercise makes it burn more.
In addition, cardio exercise can help burn fat and increase muscle tone. The more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate becomes. Muscles, in general, burn more calories than fat cells. However, physical activity can only speed up or accelerate weight loss efforts.
Most people who want to lose weight need to reduce their daily calorie count. Cutting 500 to 700 calories each day will result in modest weight loss. By reducing between 500 and 700 calories a day, you should lose one to 1.5 pounds a week. That said, some people use exercise to create this calorie deficit.
The Role of Exercise and Weight Loss
Say you want to create a 500 daily calorie deficit to lose weight. However, you’re already only eating 2,500 calories a day, and this much of a restriction is impractical. You could burn an extra 250 calories daily through exercise and cut only 250 calories from your diet.
Squats can make up some of the exercises you do to burn off excess calories. However, you usually can’t exercise your way out of a poor diet. If you only need 2,500 calories to maintain your existing weight, you can’t eat more and hope to exercise it away. More than likely, you’ll end up staying the same weight or even gaining.
How Many Calories Do They Burn?
So, how many calories do squats burn? Well, it depends. Luckily, there’s a formula to estimate how many calories you’ll burn doing squats. But first, you have to know the metabolic equivalent or MET value of the squats you’re doing and your existing weight.
The generic formula for calories burned each minute is 0.0175 multiplied by the exercise’s MET. This figure is then multiplied by your weight in kilograms.
You can use a MET table to figure out the metabolic equivalent of different exercises and intensity levels. Low-intensity squats have a MET value of 3.5, while higher-intensity squats with weights have a MET of eight. You can also figure out your weight in kilograms with an online conversion tool or by dividing the number by 2.2.
Say you weigh 150 pounds (that weight in kilograms is 68.18), and you plan on doing low-intensity squats. You would burn 4.18 calories per minute. If you increase the intensity of the squats, you’d burn 9.55 calories per minute.
These calories burned per minute will increase or decrease according to a person’s weight. Say you only weigh 130 pounds. With light-intensity squats, your calories burned per minute will drop to 3.62. Squats done with weights or at a high intensity will burn 8.27 calories per minute.
What Exercises You Can Do Instead of Squats
With squats, you have to take extra care to pay attention to your form. If you don’t, you could end up injuring parts of your body. However, other low-impact exercises like walking don’t require as much mental effort. Walking at a moderate pace of 3.4 miles per hour has around the same MET as low-intensity squats.
It’s also easier to keep walking for 30 minutes or more than it is to do squats for this amount of time. If you want to raise the intensity and burn more calories and fat, you can try jogging or running. You can burn 33 more calories by running on a treadmill for the same time that you walk.
Running (see also ‘Your Guide to the Best Treadmills for Running‘) and jogging are some of the best exercises for weight loss. However, if you can’t run because of your joints or another health issue, walking is a good substitute.
You can also incorporate running, jogging, and walking into high-intensity interval training or HIIT exercises. HIIT exercises can help you burn more calories in less time. That’s because you exercise at a high intensity for a short time followed by less intense or resting exercises. You keep repeating this pattern until your workout is finished. But instead of spending 30 to 45 minutes in the gym, you only spend 20.
But how many calories do squats burn? Low-intensity squats burn about four calories a minute for the average person. High-intensity squats burn about 9.5 calories a minute.
If you only did squats for 30 minutes, the average person would burn between 120 and 285 calories. However, this is far from realistic. It’s better to also incorporate exercises like walking, jogging, and running.