How Many Calories Do Squats Burn?

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A female fitness enthusiast is perfoming squats in a room on an exercise mat

Calories burnt with squats | MET formula | Factors | Burn 100 calories

Squats are the most effective way to burn calories. It is a compound exercise that burns calories and helps tone your legs and buttocks. Adding squats to your workout routine can improve your overall muscle strength. However, how many calories these exercises burn depends upon various factors.

How many calories do squats burn?

Multiple factors are involved in calculating how many calories you can burn while performing squats. However, on average, one squat at moderate intensity can burn around 0.2 to 0.3 calories. Thus, for every 1-minute normal-intensity squats, you will burn around five to seven calories.

What is MET’s role in calculating calories burned?

To calculate the calories squats burn, you need to consider your body weight and the intensity of your squats. The intensity of your exercise is also known as metabolic equivalents of Task (MET) [1]National Academy of Sports Medicine: METABOLIC EQUIVALENTS FOR WEIGHT LOSS: WHAT ARE THEY & HOW TO CALCULATE THEM.

MET value will give you an idea of how much energy your body uses during the squats. The more complex the exercise, the higher the MET value. For instance, the MET value of a normal seated position is 1. 

Formula: Calories burned per minute = (MET Value x bodyweight in kg x 3.5)/200

Calculating calories burned in squats using the MET formula

Using the MET formula will give you a good estimate of your calorie expenditure. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds will burn approximately 250 to 571 calories per hour, depending on squat intensity. 

Low intensity

MET value for low-intensity squats is 3.5. Low intensity is typically considered as a warm-up, where you perform the lightweight exercise with longer rest time between sets or moderate weight exercise with shorter rest time between sets.

  • Calories burned per minute = (68 x 3.5 x 3.5)/200 = 4.16
  • Calories burned per hour = 4.16 x 60 = 250

Normal intensity

MET value for normal intensity squats is 5. This is when you use heavyweight and perform each exercise with a short rest time between sets.

  • Calories burned per minute = (68 x 5 x 3.5)/200 = 5.95
  • Calories burned per hour = 5.95 x 60 = 357

High intensity

MET value of high-intensity squats is 8. High-intensity training is a moderate exercise where you use heavyweight and perform the exercise as quickly and intensely as possible, with very little or no rest time between sets. Jump squats are an excellent example of a high-intensity squat.

  • Calories burned per minute =(68 x 8 x 3.5)/200 = 9.52
  • Calories burned per hour= 9.52 x 60 = 571.2

To help you understand better, here is a range of calories burned for a person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kgs). 

Squat workout timeLow intensity (3.5 MET)Normal intensity (5 MET)High intensity (8 MET)
5 minutes21  3048
15 minutes6289 143 
30 minutes125 179 286 
45 minutes187268 428
1 hour250360571

Factors influencing calorie burn during squats

Besides the intensity of the workout, there are other factors that influence calorie burn during squats.

Body fat percentage

Muscles burn more calories than fat, so having less muscle mass and more body fat results in fewer calories burnt.

Age and sex

Age is a primary factor that decides the number of calories burnt. This is because younger people have a higher metabolic rate than older people.

Similarly, the metabolic rate in males is higher than in females resulting in more calories burned in males.

The efficiency of movement

When you perform squats with the proper form and technique, you will be able to target more muscle groups. This will result in more calories burnt.

Geographic conditions like high altitude

When you exercise at a higher altitude, your body has to work harder. This means that you will burn more calories.

Are squats a good way to burn calories?

Whether you are trying to build muscular strength or burn calories, squats can be great additions to your routine. Although the primary goal of squats is to target lower body muscles, they also engage abdominal muscles and hip flexors.

There are a number of squat variations you can try, like bodyweight squats and weighted squats. Bodyweight squats included the basic squat, wall squat, split squat, half squat, jump squat, etc. Weighted squats include back squats, front squats, overhead squats, dumbbell squats, goblet squats, etc.

The correct form of squats remains standard across all its variations.  Focus on the following:

  1. Standing your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Keeping the knees in line with the toes
  3. Maintaining a neutral spine
  4. Keeping your chest up and hips backward. 

How many squats burn 100 calories?

It is quite easy to calculate the caloric expenditure of 100 squats. Let us assume that a man weighing 150 pounds can perform 20 half squats with normal/moderate intensity per minute. At this rate, he can perform 100 half squats in 5 minutes. 

If a single squat burns 0.3 calories(as mentioned above), the same man burns 30 calories for every 100 squats he executes.

Here is a chart for calories burned in moderate-intensity workouts (20 squats per minute). 

No. of Squats130 lbs (58.9 kgs)140 lbs (63.5 kgs)150 lbs (68 kgs)160 lbs (72.5 kgs)170 lbs (77.1 kgs)180 lbs (81.6 kgs)190 lbs (86.1 kgs)200 lbs (90.7 kgs)
1 squat0.250.270.29 0.310.330.350.370.39
10 squats2.52.72.9 3.13.33.53.73.9
20 squats55.45.8 6.26.677.47.8
30 squats7.58.18.79.39.910.511.111.7
50 squats12.513.514.515.516.517.518.519.5
75 squats18.7520.2521.75 23.2524.7526.2527.7529.25
100 squats2527293133353739

Post-workout calorie burn from squat workouts

Interestingly , your body continues to burn calories post-workout. This is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)[2]American Council on Exercise: 7 Things to Know About Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). EPOC occurs after an intense workout. This happens when your body tries to get your muscles back to their regular state.

However, how many calories you burn through EPOC differs depending on your workout intensity. The higher the intensity [3]Harvard T.H. Chan: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) of your workout, the more calories you can burn post-workout.

Conclusion

Squats are an excellent way to burn calories. Additionally, squats trigger metabolic responses conducive to weight loss. Squats not only help you lose fat by burning calories but also aids in muscle growth.

The number of calories you burn during squats depends on various factors. Nevertheless, incorporating squats into your workout routine is guaranteed to help you achieve many of your fitness goals.

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