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How Many Calories Do Lunges Burn?

Lunges are a popular type of bodyweight exercise. They are certainly convenient to do but how many calories do lunges burn?

Lunges are a type of calisthenics, also known as bodyweight, exercise. They are a convenient way to work out a wide variety of muscles at home without any equipment. You can also do them while carrying external weight but this article will focus on bodyweight lunges.

To do a lunge you basically take a big step forward with one leg until the knee of this leg can reach a 90-degree angle. Depending on where you do your lunges the next step varies. You can either take the next step forward in a similar way or go back to starting position and do the movement with the other leg.

While the exact number of calories burned with lunges varies from individual to individual, the average person can expect to burn around 89-152 calories per 15 minutes of heavy and vigorous bodyweight lunges during the workout.

While this is not a lot during the workout lunges can help you build a good amount of muscle mass. This in turn benefits long-term calorie burning. Exactly how much is unfortunately hard to measure.

This article will also show you a more detailed chart that takes multiple factors into account and ways to increase the number of calories burned with bodyweight lunges.

Biggest factors in calories burned with lunges

A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like lunges is hard to predict correctly. This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game.

Even so, good estimations can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.

Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn with lunges include:

  • Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy you need to fuel movement.
  • Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
  • Intensity: If you’re looking at calories per lunge this can vary by doing fast vs slow lunges. If you’re looking at calories burned while doing lunges for a minute, how many lunges you do in that minute can vary.
  • External weight: Lunges are an exercise that is done both with just bodyweight and external weights. These external weights can make it so you are doing lunges with twice the weight compared to without external weights. The external weight has a big influence on calories burned.

Hidden calorie burning from lunges

There is something else that makes it even harder to put how many calories you burn with lunges into an exact number. The calorie-burning effects of lunges are not limited to during the workout.

As mentioned, how much you weigh plays a relatively big role in how many calories you burn. This doesn’t just apply to your workout, this is also the case during everyday activities.

Chances are that by doing lunges you also build a good amount of muscle mass, especially since your legs are one of the biggest muscle groups you have. This extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out. It is however extremely hard to put this amount into a number.

Doing a heavy weight lifting workout can also cause something called “afterburn”. This is basically having an increased metabolism for a while after you stop doing the exercise.

Estimations for calories burned from lunges usually don’t take into account these long-term effects. So if you see that a more cardio-focused exercise is estimated to burn as many calories as lunges you can presume that doing lunges will be better for long-term calorie burning.

Chart of lunges calorie-burning estimations

The centers for disease control and prevention simplifies the number of calories burned with lunges into either between 3.5-7 calories per minute or more than 7 calories per minute depending on the workout intensity (1). In reality there are tools to make more precise estimations.

To calculate calories burned during certain exercises more specifically you can use a formula with MET values. A MET value is an exercise-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of workout is.

You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

Estimations for METs while doing lunges are 4.5 for moderate-intensity lunges, and 6 for heavy and vigorous lunges (2). The below chart will show you estimations for heavy and vigorous lunges.

Again keep in mind that these are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain factors that do influence calories burned with lunges.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds (56 kg)6 calories89 calories177 calories266 calories354 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)7 calories110 calories220 calories330 calories439 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)9 calories131 calories262 calories393 calories524 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)10 calories152 calories305 calories457 calories610 calories
Chart of calories burned with heavy and vigorous lunges

How many calories do 50 lunges burn?

Let’s say the average person does about 20 individual lunges per minute (so 10 pairs). In that case you can expect to burn around 17.5 calories per 50 lunges during the workout. This is not a lot compared to other workouts like running.

With the same intensity, you have to do about 286 lunges to burn 100 calories during the workout.

To put this more into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).

The long-term increase in calorie burning from muscle gain is hard to put into an exact amount. This is unfortunate since that is the area where lunges really stand out. To build the most muscle mass you want to do about 4 sets of 10-40 lunges with each leg (20-80 total) depending on how advanced you are.

Ways to burn more calories with lunges

The number of calories burned with lunges is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per minute of lunges or per lunge.

The challenge for most people is fitting in workouts in their busy schedule. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time. If that’s your goal you want to burn more calories in for example one minute of lunges.

A straightforward way to do this is increasing the number of repetitions you do in that minute by simply doing your lunges faster.

On the other hand, if you want to burn more calories per lunge, you would do the lunges slowly.

In both per minute and per lunge you can increase the weight on your muscles by carrying extra external weight. For example by doing weighted lunges or even better by building extra muscle mass.

Man doing lunges to burn calories

How long does it take to see results from lunges?

One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000). How long it takes to see weight loss results from lunges will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.

One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intense to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.

15 minutes of lunges a day could help you burn an extra 1100 calories in 10 days which is about 0.31 pounds of body fat. 30 days 3300 calories and so on…

Keep in mind that losing weight too fast can be harmful. In general, a 500 calorie deficit per day is considered to be a healthy weight loss rate.

Because of the muscle you may gain from lunges your weight might not move that much. That does not mean you are not losing fat. If you lose inches but not weight when you start doing lunges you are most likely gaining some muscle weight and losing body fat weight.

Should you do lunges for calorie burning?

The calorie-burning during the workout per minute of lunges is not that impressive. On the other hand, lunges are one of the best bodyweight exercises for building a lot of muscle mass which in turn benefits long-term calorie-burning a lot.

This makes lunges actually a very time-efficient workout to burn calories.

An added benefit of lunges is that they are relatively easy to implement into your daily life. All you need is a few spare minutes.

All in all, lunges are a good, convenient, no-equipment exercise to burn some extra calories at home. It may also be smart to mix in some intense cardio exercises, for example jumping rope, that do burn a lot of calories during the workout.

Keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what exercise routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.