Planks do not look the most impressive but standing in this unusual position burns energy. Find out how many calories planks burn.
The average person can expect to burn around 14 to 24 calories during 5 minutes of planking.
One of the factors that influence these numbers the most is your body weight.
The 14 calories are an estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) person doing the plank. On the other hand, the 24 calories are for a 215-pound (97 kg) person.
Something important to note is that these are just rough estimations. The actual number can look different for you due to differences in body composition, hormone levels, etc.
Additionally, if you do plank sets and reps where you build muscle mass, this can also burn a few extra calories over time.
You will also find a more detailed calories burned chart, ways to increase how many calories you burn with planks, and how long it takes to see results in this article.
Biggest factors in calories burned with planks
Something that makes counting calories more annoying and even less perfect is that it is hard to predict and even measure how many calories you burn with activities.
Add to this that the calories in food do not always have the same effect on weight loss and getting in shape feels even more confusing.
That being said, by knowing what details influence the estimations it becomes easier to find out what you can expect and what you can do to see more results.
The following factors are some of the things that influence the calories burned during planks the most:
- Weight: Your body uses energy measured in calories to function and move throughout the day. Similar to how bigger cars tend to use up more fuel, a heavier body generally requires more energy to function and move.
- Body composition: Body composition means what percentages of your weight come from fat, muscle, and other tissue. This plays a role because some tissues like muscle mass tend to burn more calories per pound present.
- Plank variation: If you’re doing a regular plank there isn’t much to change in terms of intensity. However, in some variations of planks, you move body parts like arms and legs. Whether you do this and how intensely influences how much energy you use.
- External weight used: Individuals who are more experienced with resistance training can do weighted planks where they put some type of weight on their lower backs. This will increase how many calories your body burns.
Hidden calorie burning from planks
There is another thing that makes the full calorie-burning effects of your plank workouts vaguer. The extra calorie burning is not necessarily limited to during the workout.
As mentioned above, your weight influences how many calories you burn. Both during planks and the rest of your day.
Planks can help you get slightly bigger abs aka a bit more weight in muscle. This will not be that much but it does burn a few extra calories throughout the day.
It is unfortunately hard to put a general number on this for many reasons.
First of all, just doing planks may not be enough to build muscle. You also have to implement the right durations, sets, and nutrition.
Even then, the muscle-building results of planks can vary a lot between individuals.
In short, you can expect planks to help you use a tiny amount of extra energy over time on top of the estimations.
Chart of plank calorie-burning estimations
A cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention simplifies how many calories you burn with light calisthenics like planks into between 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).
Luckily, there are also ways to make more precise predictions.
One of these is using an MET formula. MET values are estimations/measurements of how intense certain exercises or workouts are. You can use these values in the following formula:
METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
When there are good studies on the subject, there could be more precise MET estimations for planks. For now, you will have to use an MET for light effort calisthenics exercise of which an example is 2.8 (2).
In the table below, you can find estimations for how many calories people with different body weight burn during different durations of planks.
Keep in mind that these are rough estimations. Many factors that do influence the actual number are not implemented into the formula.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||3 calories||41 calories||83 calories||124 calories||165 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||3 calories||51 calories||103 calories||154 calories||205 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||4 calories||61 calories||122 calories||184 calories||245 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||5 calories||71 calories||142 calories||213 calories||284 calories|
How many calories does a 2-minute plank burn?
Many people also wonder how many calories a 2-minute plank burns specifically.
Similar to the numbers above, your weight plays a big role. That being said, most people will burn around 6-9 calories during a 2-minute plank.
To understand how few calories this is, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain about 87 calories (3).
Even if you consider the tiny amount of extra calorie burning from the small amount of extra ab muscle mass you can build, it becomes clear planks are not that great for burning calories.
Ways to burn more calories with planks
From everything above, you may get the impression that the numbers of calories you burn with planks are absolute. However, there are a few ways you can influence these amounts.
Many people want to save some time because they have busy schedules. In that case, you likely don’t want to do planks for burning calories.
That aside, you could theoretically burn more calories per minute by doing weighted planks.
This is where you put/hold weights like a weight plate, weighted vest, or heavy backpack on your hips or lower back.
Besides that, there are plank variations like plank toe taps where you move other body parts like arms and legs.
These extra movements will increase how many calories you burn per minute of planking. Generally, the faster you do the movements, the larger this effect will be.
How long does it take to see results from planks?
Most people are interested in how many calories certain exercises burn to lose weight.
Something important to note is that while planks can help weight loss to a tiny extent, you likely need to pay enough attention to lifestyle habits like nutrition to see results.
Let’s assume you currently have a routine where you stay at the same weight and only implement planks.
If you would weigh 155 pounds (70kg) and do 15 minutes of planks a day, you would burn an extra 510 calories or about 0.15 pounds (0.06 kg) of body fat in 10 days.
After doing the same plank routine for 30 days, you could burn an extra 1530 calories and potentially lose around 0.44 pounds (0.19 kg) of body fat.
One important thing to note is that as you lose more weight, the same plank workouts will start to burn fewer calories.
Additionally, you should not necessarily expect belly fat loss from planks. Targeting fat loss in significant amounts is generally not possible.
Should you do planks for calorie burning?
Planks do offer benefits but burning a lot of calories is not one of them. There are many exercises and workouts that are more effective in this area.
Even if you want to stick to bodyweight resistance training exercises, other options like lunges, squats, pushups, and even plank alternatives like crunches and sit-ups will be more effective.
Besides that, you want to keep in mind that other lifestyle habits like diet typically play a big role in weight loss. Even if you do exercises that burn a lot of calories.