How Many Calories Do Sit-ups Burn?

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Moving more intensely burns calories but some exercises are better than others. Find out estimations of how many calories sit-ups burn.

While your actual results can vary, the average person will burn around 28 to 47 calories while doing sit-ups for 10 minutes.

For people who are not familiar with calorie counts, it is worth mentioning that these are very low amounts. Sit-ups are not that good for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

That aside, I will also go over more in-depth estimations for people of different body weights, how to burn more calories with sit-ups, and how long it would theoretically take to see results in terms of weight loss.

Biggest factors in calories burned with sit-ups

Before going into the rough estimations, it is important to note that predicting how many calories a person burns with sit-ups is very hard to do accurately.

Taking the details below into account can help make your estimations somewhat more accurate. However, even then, you should not take the amounts of calories burned with sit-ups too precisely.

Something else you can use the factors that influence your calorie burning with sit-ups for is modifying your workouts to make them more effective in this area.

That being said, here are a few details that influence how many calories you actually burn with sit-ups:

  • Body weight: The human body needs energy to function and move around. Heavier bodies tend to require more energy to do these things.
  • Sit-up speed: While it is likely not great for your ab workouts, doing sit-ups faster would burn more calories.
  • Body composition: Your ratios of tissues like muscle mass and body fat influence your results with sit-ups. More specifically, an amount of body fat tends to burn fewer calories than the same weight in muscle mass.

Chart of sit-up calorie-burning estimations

A cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention mentions you can burn between 3.5-7 calories per minute of light calisthenics exercises like sit-ups (1).

Luckily, you can also get more precise estimations of calories burned with sit-ups for different body weights and time intervals.

One way to do this is by using MET values. These are numbers that estimate (or measure if there are studies) how physically intense certain workouts are.

In turn, you can use these MET values in the formula below to get an idea of how many calories sit-ups and other activities burn.

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

The MET estimations for sit-ups can vary from source to source. In one example sit-ups get an MET of 2.8 (2).

After applying this MET to the formula in combination with different body weights and durations, you get the calorie-burning estimations below.

It is worth quickly mentioning again that these are very rough predictions. You should not take the numbers too precisely.

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
(83 kg)
4 calories20 calories61 calories122 calories245 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
5 calories24 calories71 calories142 calories284 calories
Chart of calories burned with sit-ups

How many calories do 100 sit-ups burn?

It is typical to do resistance training exercises like sit-ups in sets of certain amounts of repetitions. You may wonder how many calories these burn.

If someone does 24 sit-ups per minute, the average person can expect to burn around 11 to 20 calories per 100 sit-ups during the workout itself.

Besides that, you may also wonder how many sit-ups you should do to burn certain amounts of energy.

As an example, you would have to do around 5060 to 8710 sit-ups to burn 1000 calories during the exercise session.

In combination with that a medium chocolate chip cookie (30 grams) contains around 148 calories, it becomes clear that something like 100 sit-ups a day is not that great in the bigger calorie-burning picture (3).

Ways to burn more calories with sit-ups

It is worth mentioning that you do not necessarily only burn the amounts of calories above with sit-ups.

Your results will still not be impressive but you can increase your results to a small extent.

The first way to make this happen is by doing weighted sit-ups where you hold some type of resistance against your chest.

Having to move more weight in a movement typically requires more calories from your body.

Another way to make this effect happen is by building extra muscle with other exercises outside of your sit-up workouts.

Lastly, you could theoretically do your sit-ups faster to burn more calories per minute.

However, this is typically not recommended since it tends to reduce the quality of your ab workouts.

How long does it take to see results from sit-ups?

Burning calories may sound nice but you are likely interested in what results you can expect from sit-ups in terms of fat loss.

Sit-ups help weight loss to a small extent by increasing your energy usage but keep in mind that your habits in areas like the things you eat will influence your results a lot.

That aside, you can temporarily assume that all the extra calories you burn with sit-ups come from body fat to get some rough estimations. In reality, this will likely not be the case.

A 155-pound (70 kg) person would burn an extra 153 calories or about 0.04 pounds (0.02 kg) of body fat by doing 15 minutes of sit-ups three times a week.

If this person keeps up the same sit-up routine for a month (four weeks), they would burn an extra 612 calories or about 0.18 pounds (0.08 kg) of body fat.

As these numbers imply, most people will need to implement more positive changes than a sit-up routine to hit their weight loss goals.

Are sit-ups good for burning calories?

While they offer some small effects, it is fair to say that sit-ups are not good for burning calories at all.

You should see this area more as a nice bonus on top of the other benefits of sit-ups instead of the main purpose of this exercise.

Even if you want an at-home-friendly exercise that does not require any equipment, there are many options that will help you burn more calories than sit-ups in a shorter amount of time.

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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.