There are many pieces of cardio equipment to move more intensely. Find out roughly how many calories the ski machine burns.
Your actual results may vary but the average person will burn around 134 to 230 calories while using a ski machine for 20 minutes at a moderate pace.
Of course, details like how fast you go, your weight, your body composition, etc. will influence what results ski machines offers.
The numbers above are mostly there to give you a rough idea.
That being said, this article also includes more specific estimations for different body weights and time intervals, how ski machines compare to real cross-country skiing and a treadmill, how to burn more calories, and more.
Biggest influences on calories burned with ski machines
Something important to know is that correctly estimating (and measuring) how many calories you will burn while using a ski machine is hard to do.
This makes it even more challenging to figure out what amounts of food can get you to your goals.
That being said, even making your estimations somewhat less bad can be helpful.
You can do this by considering details that influence the number of calories burned with ski machines a lot. A few of these are:
- Weight: Your body needs calories to move. The heavier your body, the more calories movements tend to burn. This applies to using a ski machine too.
- Ski machine intensity: Another detail that makes your movements burn more calories is doing them faster. In simpler words, using the ski machine at a faster speed tends to burn more calories.
- Body composition: Two people can weigh the same but have different ratios of muscle mass. This matters since an amount of muscle mass tends to burn more calories while using a ski machine than the same weight in body fat.
- Ski machine resistance setting: You can typically adjust how hard it is to move the ski machine handles. More challenging movements tend to burn more calories.
Hidden calorie burning from using a ski machine
If the details above were not complicated above, there are other factors that make it harder to estimate your results from ski machine workouts.
More specifically, there is something called afterburn. If you use the ski machine intensely enough, you can even burn more calories than usual after you stop working out.
This will typically not last longer than 72 hours and will likely not make the biggest difference after one workout.
The estimations for calories burned with ski machines typically don’t take this afterburn effect into account. However, small amounts do add up.
Additionally, exercising can have a positive influence on hormones that in turn, influence the number of calories you burn.
Estimations of calories burned with ski machines
A sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention mentions you can burn more than 7 calories per minute while cross-country skiing (1).
Luckily, you can also make more precise estimations for ski machines and different body weights specifically.
This is possible by finding the MET for ski machines and using it in the formula below. METs are rough estimations of how challenging certain activities are.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
It should be clear that this formula is far from perfect. The results you get from it are just rough estimations that you should not take too precisely.
One source mentions an MET of 6.8 for using a ski machine (2). In reality, your intensity will make a big difference.
The first table below includes calorie-burning estimations for this MET for different body weights and time intervals.
After that, there is a table that compares the estimations for ski machines, moderate effort cross-country skiing, and running on the treadmill.
Calories burned with a ski machine
How many calories you burn in certain time frames of using a ski machine is typically the preferred way to keep track of this detail.
Again, how fast you use this machine will influence your actual results a lot.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|7 calories||100 calories||201 calories||301 calories||402 calories|
|8 calories||125 calories||249 calories||374 calories||498 calories|
|10 calories||149 calories||297 calories||446 calories||594 calories|
|12 calories||173 calories||345 calories||518 calories||691 calories|
Calories burned with ski machines vs other sports
Ski machines are made to simulate cross-country skiing. You may wonder how the two actually compare in terms of burning calories.
Additionally, treadmills are another popular piece of cardio workout equipment. You may consider both and wonder which one of the two burns more calories.
Below, you can find estimations of calories burned with the ski machine, different intensities of cross-country skiing, and different intensities of using the treadmill when doing the activities for 30 minutes.
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||185 Pounds (83 kg)||215 Pounds (97 kg)|
(3 mph/4.8 kmh)
|128 calories||153 calories||178 calories|
|Cross Country Skiing|
|176 calories||210 calories||244 calories|
|Ski machine||249 calories||297 calories||345 calories|
|Cross Country Skiing|
|330 calories||393 calories||457 calories|
(5 mph/8.1 kmh)
|366 calories||437 calories||508 calories|
|Cross Country Skiing|
|458 calories||546 calories||635 calories|
(9 mph/14.5 kmh)
|469 calories||559 calories||650 calories|
|Cross Country Skiing|
|549 calories||656 calories||762 calories|
How to burn more calories with a ski machine
Being able to influence how many calories you burn with a ski machine is good news. This means you can get more results in shorter amounts of time.
The first way to do this is really using the ski machine at a fast pace. If you do this well enough, you could even reach the afterburn effect point and really increase this.
Secondly, you can make individual ski machine movements harder (but not too hard) to do. This will burn more calories per pull.
The most straightforward way to do this is to increase the resistance setting of the ski machine.
You can also build extra muscle mass with resistance training exercises outside of your cardio workouts.
Lastly, you can also consider using the ski machine for longer amounts of time anyway. As long as your body can deal with this, you can burn more calories.
Can you lose weight using a ski machine?
Hitting your calorie-burning goals of the day feels nice but you likely also want to lose weight.
Weight loss is included in the benefits of ski machines but keep in mind that there are conditions. Your habits in areas like your diet need to be good enough too.
That being said, let’s say that there is a 185-pound (84 kg) person who is at a weight loss plateau. The only thing they change is doing more ski machine workouts.
In that case, this 185-pound person would burn about 594 calories or about 0.17 pounds (0.07 kg) while doing three 20-minute ski machine sessions in a week.
After doing this ski machine routine for a month (four weeks), this person would have burned an extra 2376 calories or about 0.68 pounds (0.3 kg) during the workouts.
Something to keep in mind is that as this person (and you) lose weight with ski machines, the same workouts will start to burn fewer calories.
What muscles does a ski machine work?
Using a ski machine mainly works muscles like your latissimus dorsi, triceps, and forearm muscles. Additionally, you work your glutes, quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings to some extent.
Unless you are a resistance training beginner and really turn up the resistance, the ski machine will likely not actually grow any of the muscles above.
Working your muscles can still offer benefits in other areas anyway but in terms of extra calorie-burning, you should not expect too much.
Is a ski machine good for burning calories?
While there are more effective options too, it is fair to say that ski machines can be very good for burning calories.
Especially if you pick up the pace, increase the resistance, and build some muscle mass with resistance training workouts.
An additional benefit of ski machines is that they are low-impact. This could make them better than workouts like running for exercise beginners.
Keep in mind that personal preference matters too. If you like one of the many ski machine alternatives more, these can be great choices for burning calories too.
As you can see from the numbers above, consistency matters if you are trying to burn more calories. Enjoying the cardiovascular exercise equipment you use or workouts you do can help with this.