What Exercise Burns the Most Calories? To achieve any fitness objective, it appears that there are innumerable workout options. There is a plan to increase your cardio endurance, develop defined muscles, run a half marathon, and enhance mobility, to name just a few of the goals. If you want to lose weight, you should know which exercises burn the most calories. Yes, some workouts burn more calories than others.
While some swear by strength training, others claim that cardio is the ultimate fat burner. But the truth is that the number on your watch or machine at the end of a workout or the size of the puddle of sweat on your mat doesn’t always tell the whole story.
According to Laura Miranda, CSCS, DPT, a physical therapist, and fitness coach, doing cardio activities like running or jumping rope tends to burn more calories than lifting weights. However, “our excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or post-workout calorie-burn, keeps going from hours to days with anaerobic workouts (think weight training).”
Get to know the pros: Laura Miranda, CSCS, DPT, is the founder of Pursuit and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Jennifer Jacobs, CPT, is an ensured fitness coach, maker of Beachbody’s Work 1, and organizer behind the J Strategy. Registered dietitian and certified personal trainer Gabbi Berkow, CPT, RD TS Fitness was founded by Noam Tamir, CSCS, a certified strength, and conditioning specialist.
What causes weight training to have such a long-lasting effect on calorie burning? According to Miranda, working at that higher intensity causes your body to require more oxygen to recover and repair muscles. She says, “you get more bang for your buck in the long term” by choosing exercises that increase that afterburn effect. Since muscle is the most metabolically active tissue, the more muscle we have, the more efficiently we burn calories throughout the day.
Also, remember that calories aren’t the only thing that can help you lose weight. According to Jennifer Jacobs, CPT, founder of the J METHOD and creator of Beachbody’s Job 1, “the amount of strength you gain, your progress, or your improved endurance and stamina will not be measured by calories.” Be mindful of your goals, success, and self-esteem because the total number of calories burned does not take into account your health. In addition, instead of always focusing on a numerical metric, celebrate how you physically feel.
The following is information about the workouts that burn the most calories and how to increase that number in any session, according to trainers, keeping in mind that calorie burn is only one component of weight loss.
1. What Exercise Burns the Most Calories?
In general, some workouts burn more calories than others. This list ranks the top nine trainer-supported weight loss exercises by the number of calories burned. FYI: The American Council on Exercise estimates the calorie burn for a person weighing 125 pounds and 185 pounds, respectively.)
1.1. Jumping Rope
The burn: 667–990 calories per hour(jumping at 120 skips per minute)
Yes, this relic from your childhood is a complete torcher. Additionally, according to Gabbi Berkow, CPT, a personal trainer, and nutritionist, “jumping rope is great for developing coordination, calf and ankle strength, core strength, posture, and cardiovascular endurance.” Additionally, it aids in the development of bone density, which prevents bone loss, osteoporosis, and bone loss.
Berkow suggests that starting with slow, 20- to 30-second bursts of jumping rope is ideal. Whenever you’ve dominated that flick-of-the-wrist and your timing, work on speeding up and span to consume more calories.
Try Carrie Underwood’s trainer’s calorie-burning jump rope workout for a full-body workout challenge. It assisted her in acquiring those iconic legs!
Burn bonus: To further engage your arms and shoulders, use a weighted jump rope.
The burn: 582–864 calories per hour
According to Berkow, kickboxing is great if you can’t jump or have knee pain while jumping because it works your upper body and core without putting a lot of stress on your legs. According to research that was published in the Muscles, Ligaments, and Tendons Journal, kickboxing has also been shown to improve cardio, strength, agility, balance, coordination, upper body fitness, and aerobic power.
Also, let’s be honest: It is extremely stress-reducing to hit something. You should be prepared to incorporate squats, lunges, and ducks as well as learn common boxing moves like jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks to get started. Pro tip: Reduce the amount of time spent resting between sets and learn the handwork before beginning the footwork.
Burn bonus: To kick up the intensity, take your runs up a slope or up steps and you likewise battle against gravity, which builds the force much more.
The burn: 639–946 calories per hour
During a sprint workout, charging ahead at top speeds on a tread, at a track, or on the sidewalk is certain to rev that inner engine.
According to Berkow, sprinting is a “maximum effort” that “requires a lot of power from your glutes and hamstrings.” She goes on to say that burning fat and increasing cardiovascular endurance can be achieved by alternating between maximal efforts and recovery periods.
According to Miranda, “you want to sprint at a pace you can only maintain for about 20 seconds” to get the most out of your efforts. After that, perform a recovery run with twice the time and half the intensity.
Miranda suggests taking 10 to 15 stairs at a time at first. Berkow suggests that once you have settled into your rhythm, you can even increase the amount of power required for each stride by taking two steps at once.
Burn bonus: For every 90 seconds of sparring, rest for just 30 seconds to increase the intensity.
1.4. Indoor Cycling
The burn: 568–841 calories per hour
According to Berkow, “cycling is great for non-impact cardio and for strengthening your knees and hamstrings.” If you have knee pain from running or are recovering from knee issues, this is a great form of cardio. According to research that was published in the Journal of Education and Training Studies, doing intervals on an exercise bike is particularly effective for reducing body fat in addition to improving both aerobic and anaerobic function.
According to Berkow, “as you cycle, make sure you maintain good posture (chest up, shoulders back and down, and a flat back)” for the best results. “Adding sprint intervals at fast paces and recovery intervals and a moderate pace will burn more calories and yield a greater after-burn than a steady state ride” follows from that point.
Burn bonus: Attempt an educator to drive turn class to ensure you’ll hit those spans hard. If you’re cycling alone, alternate 30 seconds of a slower pace with one minute of intense effort.
The burn: 566–839 calories per hour (10-minute mile pace)
Why is running such an effective exercise for losing weight? It has a high impact and works the large muscles in your legs. Berkow asserts, “You have to push your body weight off the ground with every stride.”
If you’re just getting started or if running at a steady pace hurts your knees or ankles, run intervals with light jogging or walking intervals. Use a 1:2 work-to-rest ratio if you’re new to running, or rest twice as long as you run, Berkow suggests. Or, to make those miles count, set a goal of running a half-marathon or full marathon.
Burn bonus: You will continue to burn additional calories throughout the remainder of the day if you run at a vigorous, steady pace (a 7 out of 10 effort).
1.6. Kettlebell Circuits
The burn: 554–822 calories per hour
Have you not yet taken the KB train? Because they combine cardio and strength training, kettlebell circuits or complexes (a series of movements performed without using a kettlebell) are my favourite calorie-burning exercise, according to Berkow. You’re lifting loads such that keep your pulse up the entire time, so you construct muscle and consume fat!
According to research that was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it is true that regularly lifting kettlebells has been shown to both increase metabolic rate and improve overall strength.
The secret to success for KB: To work your entire body, including a squat, swing, push, pull, and core move, says Berkow. Noam Tamir, CSCS, a personal trainer, says to alternate between upper-body and lower-body exercises to keep going longer without getting tired.
Burn bonus: Work your kettlebell magic HIIT-style for one minute, rest for thirty seconds, and then perform it again.
The burn: 481–713 calories per hour (150 watts, which you can check on the machine)
According to Berkow, rowing strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, back, core, hips, and arms. It helps strengthen your posterior chain, also known as, the rear of your body.”
Rowing stimulates muscle growth and gets your heart rate up because it lights up all of your muscles. The outcome: Paddling can assist you with shedding muscle versus fat and fire up your digestion, as per research distributed in the Records of Recovery Medication.
Naturally, proper form is important but easy to forget: As you start each drawing, “your legs push back first, then, at that point, your middle reclines to around 45 degrees, and afterwards, your arms manoeuvre into your chest,” Berkow says. To reverse the motion, hinge your torso forward, extend your arms past your knees, and then return your legs to the starting position.
Burn bonus: Alternate super-fast, one-minute rowing intervals with 30- to 60-second active rest periods of squats, pushups, and planks for maximum torching power.
1.8. Loaded Kettlebell Carries
The burn: 476–705 calories per hour
According to Berkow, kettlebell (or dumbbell) carries are one of the best exercises for improving posture and core strength. Kettlebell carries are a full-body exercise that can help you build serious strength, particularly if you keep increasing the weight over time.
“Your weights should be heavy enough that you feel like you have to lead with your glutes,” Berkow explains, “to burn calories.” With your shoulders back and down, chest open, lats engaged, abs tight, glutes squeezed, and shoulders and hips square, hold the weights at your sides.”
Burn bonus: Try Miranda’s three-in-one carry burner by walking as far as you can with weights raised above your head, then as far as you can with weights resting on your shoulders, and finally as far as you can with weights resting on your sides. After a brief rest, carry on.
The burn: 452–670 calories per hour (77 steps per minute)
You can still burn the calories necessary to support weight loss if sprinting up the stairs doesn’t appeal to you or sounds like a shin splint waiting to happen.
Berkow says, “Stairs work your legs and hips, which are muscles that need to be strengthened after sitting all day.” They also burn a lot of calories. According to research that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, stair-climbing can help lower cholesterol and improve your anaerobic fitness, in addition to promoting fat loss.
In conclusion: Whether you’re working the StairMaster or running strides in and out of town, à la Rough, step climbing compels you to neutralize gravity and reinforce your muscles.
Burn bonus: Holding light dumbbells in each hand will also get your upper body moving. Alternately, begin with two steps at a time.
2. How To Burn More Calories In Your Workout
According to Jacobs, the best way to burn more calories is to keep moving. She continues, “There is no one magic exercise, and if there were, we would all be doing it.” She explains that whether you do cardio or strength training, how long you work out and how hard you work out are important factors in burning calories. Find what makes you feel good and stick with it.
Consider it this way: You burn more calories when you exercise for longer periods and at higher intensities.
Jacobs emphasizes that despite this, you don’t have to train for hours at a time. Having too much of a good thing can cause mental burnout and overtraining if done for too long or at a higher intensity.
It matters more to engage in activity outside of the gym after 30, 60, or more minutes. Jacobs adds that you should focus on training effectively and incorporating movement into other parts of your day. After lunch, go for a walk, take the stairs rather than the elevator, or incorporate yoga into your morning routine.
According to Jacobs, it is also essential to keep in mind that the amount of time spent training is only a small portion of the total calories consumed throughout a day. She explains that when it comes to the number of calories burned, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (the amount of energy burned for everything we do other than sleeping, eating, or engaging in sports-like exercise) accounts for 10 to 20 per cent of your daily energy expenditure, while your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories burned by your body while carrying out essential functions like breathing, growing hair, and digesting food) accounts for 60 to 70 per cent.
3. What Factors Impact the Number of Calories Burned?
3.1. Exercise Intensity
It’s easy. According to Jacobs, the more intense the workout, the more calories burned. For instance, HIIT workouts burn a lot of calories because they are so intense by nature (hence the name “HIIT”). Try performing HIIT-style bursts of hard, intense pushes on a rower or spin bike to increase the intensity. Calories are lost when your body uses more energy.
According to Jacobs, “people who weigh more burn more calories because it takes more energy to move.” To put it another way, calories are a measure of energy, so the more weight you have, the more energy you need to move. Some studies even suggest that people with larger bodies have bigger organs that need more energy to work, burning more calories. Each person is unique, but losing weight causes you to burn fewer calories.
3.3. Body Structure
According to Jacobs, muscle tissue burns more calories when you exercise because it requires more energy to maintain than fat. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) also plays a role in this situation because the more muscle you have, the higher your BMR will be and the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day. Simply put, you burn more calories when you have more muscle.
A 2017 study found that muscle mass decreases as one gets older. When you exercise, you burn fewer calories and lower your BMR as a result. Jacobs suggests incorporating weekly strength training to increase your BMR, burn more calories, and build muscle mass to combat this.
3.5. Time Spent Exercising
The more extended your exercise, the more calories you consume. However, keep in mind that longer is not always better. Jacobs advises, “Concentrate on the other parts of your day where you can be more active by moving more and implementing an effective training program.” Set goals and work efficiently during your workout to get the most out of your time.