How Many Calories Do Crunches Burn?

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Crunches burn around 14 to 24 calories over 5 minutes for the average person but results can vary.

This may sound and is not a lot and this is not only because of the short duration (which is reasonable for a resistance training exercise).

Even weighted crunches are just not that effective for burning calories since the movements are relatively limited and only involve small muscles.

This article will also go over more in-depth estimations for different body weights and time intervals, what other details influence the number of calories burned with crunches, and more.

Biggest factors in calories burned with crunches

Unfortunately, it is hard to make accurate predictions about the number of calories burned with crunches. This can make things like getting an idea of what amounts of food align with your health goals harder.

At the same time, you can still make your predictions somewhat better. One way to do this is to pay attention to some of the most important influences on how many calories crunches burn.

You can also use these influences to make your crunch workouts burn just a few extra calories. Some examples of these details include:

  • Weight: Your body burns calories by moving around. Generally, heavier people burn more calories with the same movements, including crunches.
  • Body composition: You can describe body composition as the ratios of different tissues in your body. The number of calories an amount of muscle burns during crunches is typically higher than the same weight in body fat.
  • Crunch speed: Doing your crunches faster may not always be good for growing and strengthening your abs but it would burn more calories.

Chart of crunches calorie-burning estimations

Weight Person
1 Minute5 Minutes15 Minutes30 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
3 calories14 calories41 calories83 calories165 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
3 calories17 calories51 calories103 calories205 calories
185 Pounds
(84 kg)
4 calories20 calories61 calories122 calories245 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
5 calories24 calories71 calories142 calories284 calories
Calories burned by doing crunches

A cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention simplifies how many calories you burn with crunches into around 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).

Luckily, you can also use something like MET values to get more useful estimations. These are numbers that indicate how physically intense certain activities are.

You can use these MET values in the formula below to get an idea of how many calories activities like crunches burn for people of different body weights.

Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

One MET estimation for a light calisthenics exercise like crunches is 2.8 (2).

You can find the results of using this crunch exercise MET for different body weights and durations in the formula above.

It is worth mentioning again that the estimations of the number of calories burned with crunches will likely vary in your situation. The MET formula does not include all relevant details.

Calories burned while doing 100 crunches

Let’s say the average person does about 30 crunches per minute. In that case, a 185-pound (84 kg) person would burn around 14 calories per 100 crunches.

Many people consider a routine like 100 crunches a day. You may wonder what this does in terms of burning calories.

You can definitely say this is a low amount. Especially compared to powerful workouts like running.

To burn 100 calories, which is still a relatively low amount, a 185-pound person would have to do about 735 crunches.

Since one medium chocolate chip cookie (30 grams) already contains around 148 calories, you definitely want to consider making your workout routine more intense than 100 crunches (3).

Ways to burn more calories with crunches

Some ways to burn more calories with crunches are using extra weights, building muscle with other workouts, and doing crunches faster.

While the results will still be rather lacking, it is worth mentioning that there are ways to burn more calories with crunches.

The main way to do this without messing up your workouts is by doing crunches with extra weights. Your body will have to use more energy to fuel heavier movements.

Another reasonable method is building a lot of muscle mass with resistance training exercises. This will make your crunches burn just a few extra calories.

Next, you could consider doing crunches faster to burn more calories per minute. However, this will likely interfere with your abs workout.

In that case, it would be smarter to choose other exercises instead.

How long does it take to see results from crunches?

It would take around a week of doing 15 minutes of crunches every day for a 155-pound person to burn about 0.1 pounds of body fat. This is assuming all the burned calories actually come from body fat.

You may wonder if the small amounts of calorie burning from crunches offer any weight loss results and if so, what you can expect in this area.

It is possible to say that crunches help weight loss but almost not enough to make it worth mentioning.

For example, a 155-pound (70 kg) person would burn an extra 357 calories by doing 15 minutes of crunches every day for a week.

This number of calories is only about 0.1 pounds (0.05 kg) of body fat and that is assuming all of these actually come from this type of energy source.

In simpler words, while the results are better than nothing, you should not really expect too much from crunches in terms of weight loss progress.

Are crunches good for burning calories?

No, crunches are not good for burning calories at all. Even if you would do them very fast or use a lot of resistance.

On top of that, targeting fat loss in areas like your stomach is generally not possible in significant amounts.

One of the benefits of crunches is that they don’t require any equipment or location to do.

However, even in the bodyweight exercise category, alternatives like squats, jumping jacks, and high knees tend to be more effective than crunches for burning calories.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.