Squats are a go-to exercise for anyone looking to strengthen their legs, but how many calories do you burn while doing a set of squats?
To find out, we asked personal trainer and health blogger JC Deen from Suppversity to share some squat facts with us. “In general squats are a great lower body strength training exercise,” says Deen. He continues by saying squats recruit muscle fibers all the way from your back to your kneecaps. Doing squats also helps you avoid injury in the long run because it builds stability in your core, hips, knees, and ankles. If you’re looking for an intense leg workout, squats are definitely the best possible option for you!
The average person burns anywhere from 10-200 calories with each set of squats. This depends on your body weight and age, as well as other factors such as intensity and duration of the workout. From a strength perspective, squats will help you build muscle mass in your upper leg muscles (quadriceps) while also strengthening your core muscles. Squats also enhance coordination between different muscle groups which can help improve athletic performance!
How to Burn the Most Calories while Squatting
The best squats for weight loss are squats with good form, done at a slow and controlled pace (about five seconds up and five seconds down). This can burn anywhere from 10-50 calories per minute. For anyone 40+ years old, they may only burn 8-15 calories per minute. So if you’re not near your target weight or fitness goal yet, squats alone won’t be enough to start seeing results.
“If you want to burn more than 50 calories in a single squats workout”, says Deen, “add some resistance such as barbells or dumbbells.” He also cautions beginners that doing squats with weights is an advanced move and should not be attempted without the supervision of a personal trainer or coach.
To figure out how many calories you’ll burn doing squats at the gym, you need to take into consideration your body weight and the number of minutes you spend exercising, along with the level of effort (intensity)
The intensity is also known as the metabolic equivalent (MET) value. For example, resting in a seated position has a value of 1.
Calories burned per minute = .0175 x MET x weight (in kilograms) x time (in hours)
For squats, you’ll use the MET value of 5.8, which is an estimation for squats done at 45-degree angles with heavy weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs, your calories burned squats will be:
0.0175 x 5.8 x 100 x 1 hour = 41 calories per minute.
That means you would burn around 870 calories doing squats for one hour.
A common mistake people make is not taking into consideration their body weight or the intensity level when estimating how many squats they can do in one hour. This underestimates the total number of squats and significantly decreases your results.