Resistance training exercises like squats are known for their muscle-related benefits. However, they also help you burn more calories.
Before going into the rough estimations, it is important to note that there will be a big difference between bodyweight and weighted squats in terms of calorie burning.
More specifically, the average person will burn around 56 to 97 calories while doing bodyweight squats for 15 minutes.
On the other hand, for doing weighted squats, the estimations for 15 minutes of repetitions look something like 89 to 152 calories.
If you do 12 weighted repetitions per minute, that would mean you would burn around 49 to 85 calories while doing 100 squats.
These estimations for weighted squats are obviously lacking because the exact amount of weight you use will influence things a lot.
On top of that, these amounts of calories burned are only for during the workout. Any effects in this area of the muscle you build are not included.
Besides that, even two people of the same body weight who do the same weighted squats can burn different amounts of calories due to differences in other areas.
In simpler words, the number above can help you get some idea of what you can expect from squats. However, you should not take them too seriously in terms of exact effects.
Biggest factors in calories burned with squats
As may become clear from the intro, accurately estimating how many calories squats will burn is very hard to do. This can make it even harder to get an idea of how exercising will impact your weight.
That being said, even if you are still not able to get perfect estimations, it can be helpful to learn what details influence the amounts of calories burned with squats.
These can help you approach your workouts in a smarter way and predict the results somewhat more accurately.
A few important factors that influence how many calories squats burn include:
- Weight: How much you weigh influences how much energy your body has to expend to keep you alive and move you around. Generally, the more you weigh, the more calories activities like squats burn.
- Body composition: The human body is made up of different tissues. Something like muscle mass tends to require more energy than the same weight in fat. This applies during squats too.
- Intensity: Another factor that influences how many calories squats burn is how fast you do them. A faster speed is not always the safest but would generally require more energy.
- External weight: Resistance training exercises like squats are typically done while holding extra weights. The heavier these are, the more energy the squats will require from your body.
Hidden calorie burning from squats
There is another important point that makes the calorie-burning estimations for squats less accurate. Squats can help you burn extra calories even when you stop working out.
The first reason for this is that doing squats with the right repetitions, sets, and resistance can help you build muscle mass.
As mentioned, how much you weigh plays a big role in how many calories you burn.
By growing the big muscles involved in squats, your daily activities and other workouts will require more energy from your body.
The challenge with this is that different people can build different amounts of muscle mass with squats. Additionally, the exact calorie-burning effects of extra muscle mass are not that clear.
Next, intense exercises like a heavy weighted squat can cause afterburn. This is a concept where you burn more calories for a while (typically not more than 72 hours) after you stop the workout.
The estimations for how many calories squats burn don’t take these longer-term effects into account.
Chart of squats calorie-burning estimations
A simplified cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention just mentions that weight training exercises like squats burn between 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).
Luckily, there are somewhat more precise ways to estimate what results you can expect from squats.
More specifically, there are numbers called MET values which represent how intense certain activities are. You can use these in a formula to estimate how many calories different activities burn.
While there are still no specific MET values for squats (yet), there is an MET of 6 for vigorous weight lifting which should at least somewhat resemble doing this exercise weighted (2).
You can use this number in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
In the chart below, you can find the estimations for people with different body weights and different durations of squats.
After that, you can find rough predictions about how many calories different amounts of squat repetitions will burn.
Again, you should not take these rough estimations too seriously. The MET formula does not include important details like how much weight you use in your weighted squat.
Besides that, knowing that 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain about 87 calories can help you put all the calorie amounts into perspective (3).
Calories burned with squats per time interval
People who don’t have a specific workout plan will find looking at the amount of time they spend doing squats an easy way to estimate calories burned.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||6 calories||89 calories||177 calories||266 calories||354 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||7 calories||110 calories||220 calories||330 calories||439 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||9 calories||131 calories||262 calories||393 calories||524 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||10 calories||152 calories||305 calories||457 calories||610 calories|
Calories burned with squats per repetition amounts
It is also common to do resistance training exercises like squats for a certain number of repetitions and sets. Based on these, you can make rough calorie-burning estimations too.
These numbers assume you do around 12 weighted squats per minute.
|10 Squats||50 Squats||100 Squats||500 Squats||1000 Squats|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||5 calorie||25 calories||49 calories||246 calories||492 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||6 calories||31 calories||61 calories||305 calories||610 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||7 calories||36 calories||73 calories||364 calories||728 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||8 calories||42 calories||85 calories||423 calories||847 calories|
Ways to burn more calories with squats
By now it should be clear that how many calories you burn while doing squats is something you can influence. There are a few ways you can increase these amounts.
First of all, if you can do so safely, you can consider doing squats at a faster speed.
That being said, more people will be more interested in using squat equipment options like a heavy barbell, resistance bands, or dumbbells to burn more calories.
These tools can help you burn more calories per squat repetition but also potentially help you build more muscle mass.
In turn, this extra muscle mass would make your squat workouts and other activities burn more calories.
How long does it take to see results from squats?
All of the amounts of calorie burning may not mean that much to you for now. To resolve this, you can find a few rough estimations of results below.
One important thing to note is that while squats can help you lose weight, doing them is no guarantee for fat loss results either. Your habits in other areas need to be good enough too.
That being said, if you assume that your diet keeps you at the same weight and the only change you make is doing more squats, you get a few interesting estimations.
A 155-pound (70 kg) person doing 20 minutes of squats 3 times a week can burn an extra 438 calories every 7 days. This comes down to about 0.13 pounds (0.06 kg) of body fat.
If the same person keeps up the same routine for 4 weeks, they can burn an extra 1752 calories or about 0.5 pounds (0.22 kg) of body fat (during the workout).
By building extra muscle mass, the numbers will be bigger. However, this does offer some idea of the results squats offer.
Should you do squats for calorie burning?
At first, squats may not look that useful for burning calories based on the estimations for during the workout.
That being said, weighted squats are a great exercise choice for building a lot of muscle mass. This extra muscle mass helps you burn more calories with everything you do.
So to burn the most calories in the next 30 minutes, squats are not the best choice.
On the other hand, if you are interested in more long-term calorie-burning effects, doing weighted squats with the right resistance, repetitions, and sets can be a good idea.
Something you do want to keep in mind is that weighted squats likely require you to go to your local gym. This would take up a bit of extra time.
If that is an issue, something like Bulgarian split squats at home could be a better choice for similar calorie-burning effects.