Calories Burned Doing Squats – Introduction
You want to know the calories burned doing squats for a good reason.
While cardiovascular training is vital for your heart health, it is not the only game in town when it comes to burning calories.
When done consistently, squats are a high-intensity demanding full-body workout that can change your body and life.
For example, squats helped turn Saquon Barkley into the most electrifying running back in the NFL.
Squats create elite athletes, but squats can also transform the average person like me and you 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 great way to improve your mental and physical health.
And to build your total body strength.
The bottom line, besides the deadlift, few compound exercises can target the number of muscle groups worked by squats.
Whether you do bodyweight squats or barbell squats, they are an incredibly effective exercise that targets the major muscle groups of your entire body:
- leg muscles (which is why squats are a leg day staple)
- core muscles
- back muscles
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 in 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, bench presses, and deadlifts 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), powerlifting, which includes the squat, bench press and the deadlift, bodybuilding, 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 like deadlifting) = METs x weight in kg x time in hours.
A proper squat workout with a suitable warmup will take at least 30 minutes, if not 45 minutes.
By the way, 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 = MET value 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
It is so important; it is worth mentioning again:
If you don’t have time to warm up, you do not have time to train!
You can prevent injury by warming up your body before weightlifting, especially the big compound lifts like squats and deadlifts.
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 farmer walks with two kettlebells for one minute with a challenging enough weight.
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 workout 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.
You are working more on muscular endurance if you shorten your rest period.
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.
The 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 to dramatically change your body.
That might sound like heresy in our calorie counting culture, but it is true.
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 adding weight as muscle mass.
For example, if you are preparing for powerlifting, wrestling, or athletic competition, that 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 you eat, using proper 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, including beginner and long-term fitness goals.
Squats are a tremendous asset when you aim to get leaner and more muscular and even rebuild your life.
Squats may not burn as many calories per hour as running.
Still, squats and all intense compound strength training have a significant long-term effect on the number of calories burned.
Because squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and other resistance exercises increase your lean muscle tissue.
When you build muscle mass, you increase your metabolism.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy.
Further, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the calorie burn or energy expenditure necessary to keep your body functioning when at rest.
The BMR of the average person is approximately ten calories per pound of weight.
So, if you are a 200-pound man, you will need 2000 calories per day to maintain that body weight.
And similarly, a 160-pound woman requires roughly 1600 calories daily to maintain her weight.
On the other hand, TDEE is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, a number that can be significantly higher than your BMR if you are not sedentary.
There are a number of factors besides your basal metabolic rate necessary to calculate your TDEE, such as your activity level throughout the day.
See TDEE Calculator: Learn How To Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Therefore, a higher metabolism translates to a lot of calories burned, even when you are not in the gym.
Knowing this piece of information, it should come as no surprise to you that instead of eating less to lose weight, you need to start moving more!
When you eat less, your body will compensate and lower its metabolic rate to account for your lower calorie intake.
That is not what you want.
Instead of eating less, the best option is to increase the number of calories you burn through exercise.
Whether your go-to activity is 30-minutes of brisk walking or you want to begin learning one of the best compound exercises on the planet (squats) – you must start moving more – daily.
For example, use this weightlifting for weight loss program, and watch how quickly that results in a body transformation that might shock you.
Learn How To Squat
Squats Calories Burned – Final Thoughts
You now know how to calculate the number of calories 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 of your squats session.
While you learned that the METs of squats are 6.0, the METs of circuit training are 8.0.
You have to reduce your rest time between sets to up the intensity to a METs of 8.0.
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.
Use this simple squat workout routine as part of a 3×5 workout program that will take you about an hour.
This squat workout will enable you to burn up to 500 calories in an hour.
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¹ Energy cost of isolated resistance exercises across low- to high-intensities