How Many Calories Do High Knees Burn?

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Burning calories does not always mean jogging for hours. Find out how calories high knees burn and how you can get more results.

While the actual effects can vary somewhat, the average person will burn around 118 to 203 calories while doing high knees at a vigorous pace for 15 minutes.

How much you weigh will influence your calorie-burning results from doing high knees a lot.

The 118 calories above are the estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) person doing the high knees for 15 minutes. On the other hand, the 203 calories are the estimation for a 215-pound person doing the same workout.

This article will also show a table with more detailed estimations for body weights and time intervals, what details influence this, and how to burn more calories with high knees.

Biggest factors in calories burned with high knees

While it can be annoying, predicting how many calories you burn with high knees (and other activities) is hard to do accurately. This is another reason why calories in calories out can be deceiving.

That being said, you can still make your estimations about this number for high knees more accurate. Knowing the important factors that influence your results can help with this.

Additionally, knowing about these important factors can help you change up your high knee workouts in a way where you get more results. Some examples include:

  • Weight: How much you weigh influences how much energy your body needs to move and function. Heavier individuals tend to burn more calories while doing high knees.
  • Body fat vs muscle mass: Human bodies can be made of different ratios of tissues. This matters because an amount of muscle mass tends to burn more calories than the same weight in body fat.
  • High knee intensity: 15 minutes of doing high knees does not look the exact same for everyone. There are big differences in speeds and in turn, calories burned.

Hidden calorie burning from high knees

On top of the details above, there is another detail that influences what results you get from a high knees session. More specifically, you do not necessarily only burn more calories during the workout itself.

If you do high knees intensely enough for long enough, you may get something called the afterburn effect.

This is where you burn more calories than usual even when you stop working out for a certain amount of time (typically not more than 72 hours).

Getting to this afterburn effect or not will likely not make or break your weight loss journey.

However, it does give you another reason why you should not take the calorie-burning estimations for high knees too precisely. These don’t include longer-term effects.

Chart of high knees calorie-burning estimations

The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention has a cheat list where they simply the number of calories you burn with calisthenics like high knees into between 3.5-7 calories per minute at a light pace or more than 7 calories per minute at a fast pace (1).

Luckily, there are ways to get more useful estimations. One of these ways is using MET values. These are numbers that estimate (and sometimes measure) how intense certain activities are.

You can then use these METs to roughly estimate how many calories something like the high knees exercise burns per minute for different body weights.

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

This will of course still result in rough predictions. The formula does not include every detail that influences the number of calories burned with high knees.

At the same time, this does give you somewhat of an idea of what you can expect.

The MET estimations for high knees can vary between sources. That being said, one source notes an MET of 3.8 for moderate-intensity high knees and an MET of 8 for vigorous high knees (2).

You can find the MET for vigorous high knees applied to different body weights and time intervals in the table below.

Weight Person
1 Minute5 Minutes15 Minutes30 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
8 calories39 calories118 calories236 calories473 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
10 calories49 calories146 calories293 calories586 calories
185 Pounds
(84 kg)
12 calories58 calories175 calories350 calories699 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
14 calories68 calories203 calories406 calories813 calories
Calories burned with vigorous high knees

How many calories do 100 high knees burn?

You may also wonder how many high knees burn what amounts of calories. More specifically, what the effect of 100 high knees will be.

Let’s say a vigorous pace means doing about 120 pairs of high knees (so 240 per leg) per minute.

In that case, 100 high knees would burn around 9 to 16 calories during the actual workout.

To burn something like 3500 calories (more or less a pound of body fat), you would have to do around 31,008 to 53,333 pairs of high knees.

Keep in mind that these amounts do not include any afterburn effect you get from high knees.

Knowing that a medium chocolate chip cookie contains around x calories can help you get an idea of what these numbers mean in food (3).

Ways to burn more calories with high knees

As you can see from the big difference in MET estimations between different speeds of high knees, how many calories you burn with this exercise can vary a lot.

This is good news because that means you can get more results per minute of working out.

First of all, you can burn more calories by implementing these higher speeds. If you really do high knees intensely enough, you get the additional afterburn effect.

Secondly, you can make the weight your body has to move around heavier.

The preferred way of doing this is building some muscle with resistance training exercises outside of your high knees sessions.

You could also consider wearing a good weighted vest or even ankle weights while doing high knees.

Lastly, as long as you avoid overtraining, doing high knees for longer and more often tends to burn more calories.

Woman doing pull-ups to burn calories

How long does it take to lose weight with high knees?

All these amounts of calories sound nice but you likely also want to know how long it takes for high knees to burn belly fat and fat from other areas.

Something important to note about this is that your weight loss results from high knees will also depend a lot on your habits in areas like nutrition.

That aside, if you temporarily assume the extra calorie-burning from high knees comes from body fat you can get some interesting numbers.

A 185- pound (84 kg) person doing 10 minutes of vigorous high knees a day will burn an extra 819 calories or about 0.23 pounds (0.1 kg) of body fat.

If this same 185-pound person implements this high knees routine for 30 days, they will burn an extra 3510 calories or about 1 pound (0.44 kg) of body fat.

Again, whether and how many of these calories you burn with high knees come from body fat or not depends on many other details too.

Are high knees good for burning calories?

While there are more effective options too, high knees can be a good exercise for burning calories if you really pick up the pace.

Two additional benefits of high knees are that you can do them basically anywhere and only need a few minutes to get in a good set.

This makes it relatively easy to implement high knees here and there when you have some spare time.

That aside, building some extra muscle mass with resistance training workouts aside from your high knee sessions tends to be smart too.

This extra weight will help you burn more calories throughout your workouts and the other things you do.

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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.