How Many Calories Do Mountain Climbers Burn?

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Mountain climbers do not only look intense. By moving more intensely you can burn more calories. Find out what you expect in this area.

A rough estimation is that the average person can burn around 118 to 203 calories while doing 15 minutes of vigorous mountain climbers.

Something important to note is that these are very rough predictions. Even two people of the same body weight can burn different amounts of calories due to differences in body composition, hormone levels, and exact intensity.

Additionally, your body weight will influence how many calories you burn with mountain climbers a lot.

The 118 calories burned during 15 minutes of vigorous mountain climbers is the estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) individual.

On the other end of the range, the 203 calories are the estimation for a 215-pound (97 kg) person doing the 15 minutes of vigorous mountain climbers.

This article also includes a chart with more estimations, how to burn more calories with mountain climbers, and what amounts of weight loss this calorie-burning can cause.

Biggest factors in calories burned with mountain climbers

Predicting (and measuring) how many calories someone exactly burns while doing mountain climbers is hard to predict correctly.

This makes it harder to figure out what weight loss results you can expect from mountain climbers and what your diet needs to look like.

That being said, knowing about the things that influence the amounts a lot can help you in a few ways.

First of all, it makes your predictions a bit more accurate. Additionally, this can help you make your mountain climber workouts more effective.

With that in mind, some of the details that influence calorie burning with mountain climbers a lot include:

  • Weight: Your body uses energy measured in calories to keep you alive and move you around. Generally, the heavier you are, the more energy these things will require.
  • Body composition: The human body is made of different tissues like fat and muscle. In what ratio these tissues are present is called body composition. This is relevant because body fat tends to require fewer calories during mountain climbers than the same weight in muscle.
  • Intensity: There is a big difference between a relaxed mountain climber session and really picking up the pace. The closer you get to the second version, the more calories you will generally burn.

Hidden calorie burning from mountain climbers

Something else that makes the estimations less accurate is that mountain climbers can help you burn more calories after your workout too.

There is something called afterburn which comes down to burning some extra calories after you stop exercising.

This will not make the craziest difference and tends to only last up to 72 hours but the calorie-burning estimations for mountain climbers typically don’t take this into account.

So in reality, how many mountain climbers you should do to achieve certain goals could be a bit less than the estimations imply at first.

One thing to note is that your mountain climber has to be intense enough to make this afterburn happen.

Chart of mountain climber calorie-burning estimations

If you want to keep things really simple, you may like this cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (1).

It mentions that you burn more than 7 calories per minute while doing vigorous calisthenics exercises like mountain climbers.

That being said, chances are that you are interested in more precise estimations for different body weights. For this, you can use numbers called MET values.

MET values are estimations (or sometimes measurements) of how physically intense certain activities are.

You can then use these numbers in the formula below to calculate how many calories exercises like mountain climbers burn.

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

Sources can vary but 8 is one MET estimation for vigorous calisthenics exercises like mountain climbers (2).

Keep in mind that these are very rough estimations. The MET formula does not use every factor that influences the actual number of calories you burn.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds (56 kg)8 calories118 calories236 calories354 calories473 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)10 calories146 calories293 calories439 calories586 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)12 calories175 calories350 calories524 calories699 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)14 calories203 calories406 calories610 calories813 calories
Calories burned with vigorous mountain climbers

Ways to burn more calories with mountain climbers

By now you likely understand that the number of calories burned with mountain climbers can change. You are not limited to the numbers in the chart above. There are ways to increase them.

Since many people struggle with fitting in workouts in their busy schedules, you likely want to know how to burn more calories per minute of mountain climbers.

A simple way to do this is doing your mountain climbers at a faster pace aka doing more repetitions per minute. At some intensity, you can get the afterburn effect mentioned.

Additionally, you could make it so your body has to move more weight.

In theory, you could do this by wearing a heavy backpack and/or a pair of ankle weights while doing mountain climbers.

A more realistic option is building extra muscle mass with resistance training exercises.

Lastly, if you have the time, you can make your mountain climber sessions longer (but not too long).

How long does it take to see results from mountain climbers?

All the extra calorie burning from mountain climbers sounds nice but you are likely more interested in the weight loss results this offers.

The first thing to note is that mountain climbers can help with weight loss but that doing them does not always lead to results. Your habits in areas like your nutrition still need to be good enough too.

That being said, if you assume that you’ve hit a plateau and the only change you make is doing more mountain climbers, you can get some interesting results.

A 185-pound (83 kg) person doing 15 minutes of mountain climbers a day for a week can burn an extra 1225 calories or about 0.35 pounds (0.15 kg) of body fat.

If the same person keeps up the same mountain climber routine for four weeks, they can burn an extra 4900 calories or about 1.4 pounds (0.61 kg) of body fat.

Something important to note is that this person (and you) will burn fewer calories with mountain climbers as you lose weight. Over time, you may need more positive changes to see results.

Should you do mountain climbers for calorie burning?

Mountain climbers can help you burn nice amounts of calories. For this purpose, they can be a good exercise choice.

Two extra benefits of mountain climbers are that you can do them basically everywhere and that you only need a few spare minutes to do a few repetitions.

These things make it relatively easy to implement more mountain climbers into your routine.

At the same time, it is also worth mentioning that there are alternatives to mountain climbers that are even more effective for burning calories.

Additionally, no matter what cardiovascular exercise you choose, building some extra muscle mass can make these more effective in terms of burning calories.

Lastly, you want to pay enough attention to areas like nutrition to make it so all these extra calories come from body fat.

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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.