How Many Calories Are Burned Doing Squats?
Squats are a high intensity demanding full-body workout. And, the results of consistently doing squats can change your life.
For example, squats helped turn Saquon Barkley into the most electrifying running back in the NFL. Squats not only create elite athletes, but squats can also transform the average person from fat to fit.
Because of the transformative potential of the squat, it is often called the king of all exercises.
While there is a question as to if the deadlift is the king, there is no question that the squat is a powerful way to improve your physical and mental health. And to build your total body strength.
The bottom line, few exercises can target the number of muscle groups worked by squats. You target the major muscle groups of your entire body with the squat.
In 2017 researchers compared lower body vs. upper body resistance exercises. They concluded that lower body exercises have a higher energy cost, meaning that they burn more calories.
And of all lower body exercises, squats burn the most, up to 11 calories a minute for squats vs. three calories per minute for biceps curls.¹
Learn to squat | The Starting Strength method
To calculate the number of calories you burn is a squat workout, use these three easy steps: *Note that this article is for informational purposes only and not for medical advice diagnosis or treatment.
Calories Burned Squats Calculator
Step 1. What are the METs of squats?
MET is an acronym that stands for Metabolic Equivalent of a Task (MET) and represents the calories used per 60 minutes of exercise per one kilogram of body weight. According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, the MET for vigorous free weight training like squats is 6.0.
|1993 Compendium||2000 Compendium||2011 Compendium||Conditioning Exercise|
|02050||6.0||02050||6.0||02050||6.0||resistance training (weight lifting – free weights, nautilus or universal-type), power lifting, which includes the squat, bench press and the deadlift, body building, vigorous effort (Taylor Code 210|
Step 2. Find Your Body Weight in Kilograms
Use a body composition scale to find your weight in kilograms. Or if you do not have a kilogram scale, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to find your weight in kilograms.
For example, if you weigh 195.7 pounds, the average weight of a man in the US, divide this number by 2.2, which equals 88.95 kilograms.
Step 3. The Mets Formula for Squats Calories Burned
The METs formula is:
- Amount of calories burned during squats (or any other physical activity) = METs x weight in kg x time in hours.
A proper squat workout with at some warmup will take at least 30 minutes, if not 45 minutes. If you do not have time to warm up, you do not have time to train. So, your workout time will include the time you use to warm up. Using the example of a 195.7 pound (88.95kg) average man in the USA, you can plug in your numbers to the formula.
- Calories burned = METs of 6.0 for squats x 88.95kg x time
- 1.0 for 60 minutes
- .75 for 45 minutes
- .50 for 30 minutes
- .25 for 15 minutes
- 6.0 x 88.95 x 1 = 533.7 calories burned squats (assuming an hour long squat workout).
- Or, do a 30-minute squat workout, then your formula is 6.0 x 88.95 x .5 = 266.85 calories burned doing squats.
A Sample 533 Calorie Burning Squat Workout
If you do not have time to warm up, you do not have time to train. You can prevent injury by warming up your body before doing any weight lifting, especially squats.
- Walk on an elliptical trainer or treadmill for 5 to 10 minutes at 3.5 to 4 mph.
- This walk will warm up your legs and entire body.
- Next, do farmers walk with two kettlebells between 30 and 40 pounds for one minute.
- Squeeze your lats when you are holding the kettlebells.
- Holding one 30 pound kettlebell, do knee-high steps in place for one minute.
- Next, put on a hip circle beneath your knees and do ten side steps in each direction.
- After each side step, squat while wearing the hip circle, pushing your knees out against the hip circle.
- You will feel how much this helps your squat depth once you remove the hip circle.
- Repeat the above one more time.
- This warmup sequence alone can take 20 minutes or more.
- And it is worth it because this warmup will reduce the risk of injury during your squat workout.
Squat training session
- Set yourself up in a power rack for safety.
- Do two sets of 5 air squats before doing weighted squats with a barbell.
- Put on a powerlifting belt to help you brace (tighten your core) during the squat, and protect your back
- Perform squats with a 45-pound Olympic barbell with no weights x 5 squats x 2 sets (45 x 5 x 2 )
- 65 x 2 x 1 (1 set of 2 reps with 65lbs)
- 85 x 2 x 1 (1 set of 3 reps with 85lbs)
- 105 x 2 x 1 (1 set of 2 reps with 105lbs)
- 125 x 1 x 1 ( 1 set of 1 rep with 125 lbs)
Now you are ready for your work sets. Since you are training to get stronger, you need to keep a journal to record the weight you lift every training session. The goal is to increase your weight to get stronger, even by a pound or 2.5 pounds every time you workout. Fractional plates are perfect for gradually increasing the load and triggering the overload principle, the heart of progressive resistance training. If you shorten your rest period, you are working more on muscular endurance. Rest as much as you need, typically between 3 and 5 minutes to recover from your previous set.
- 135 x 5 x 3 (3 sets of 5 reps with 135lbs)
In the above squat workout pattern, you should rest 3 to 5 minutes between sets to regain your energy.
Number of calories burned doing squats is not essential to fat loss
Do you need to track the number of calories burned squats for weight loss?
The answer is no; you do not need to know how many calories you eat for body transformation. That might sound like heresy in our calorie counting culture, but it is the truth.
You do not need a calorie calculator to get fit.
Yes, counting calories is a good start when you have no clue why you are fat, even if you think you do not eat that much. And counting calories comes into play if you are working on adding weight as muscle mass. For example, if you are preparing for powerlifting, wrestling, or athletic competition, which uses a weight class.
But the secret to body transformation is not just about calculating calories. The key is the consistency of your meals, the quality food that you eat, learning great form, and sticking to your strength training workouts.
If you want to lose weight and get fit, you need a plan. Every significant goal starts with a plan.
Squats are a tremendous asset when you want to get leaner and stronger and even rebuild your life. Squats may not burn as many calories per hour as running.
Still, squats, as well as all intense compound strength training, have a significant long-term effect on the number of calories burned. Because squats, deadlifts, and bench press, and other resistance exercises increase your lean muscle tissue.
When you build more lean muscle tissue, you increase your metabolism, which translates to lots of calories burned, even when you are not in the gym.
Learning how to squat is more important than calories burned doing squats
Squats Calories Burned – Final Thoughts
You now know how to calculate the number of calories that you burn doing squats. As well as the calories consumed in any other physical activity that has a Metabolic Equivalent Task (METs).
The number of calories burned depends on your body weight, the time spent strength training, and the intensity. While you learned that the METs of squats is 6.0, the METs of circuit training are 8.0. All you have to do is reduce your rest time between sets to up the intensity.
Use this knowledge of the calories burned squats to motivate yourself to plan and stick to your squat workouts, week in, and week out. Sticking to your plan is how you will see results in building your overall strength and fitness.
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