Calories Burned During Leg Exercises

Your leg muscles are some of the largest ones in the body, so using them certainly burns calories. When you strengthen and tone your quadriceps, glutes, calves and hamstrings, the number of calories you burn depends on a lot of factors. Your size, intensity, exact muscles worked and time spent exercising all affect your energy output. The larger you are, the more intensely you work and the longer you go increases your burn rate.

Calories Burned During Leg Exercises (Image: LuckyBusiness/iStock/GettyImages)

You can work the legs in a number of different ways. Consider a few for their calorie-burning potential.


Depending on the amount of exertion put forth, stair-climbing can be an extremely effective leg exercise, burning more calories than walking on a flat terrain. A 125-pound person can burn about 150 calories after 20 minutes of stair-climbing; a 150-pound person can burn about 180 calories after 20 minutes of stair-climbing; and a 200-pound person can burn about 242 calories after 20 minutes of stair-climbing.


Your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes are all worked during a cycling session. The number of calories burned while cycling depends on the intensity. Cycling uphill or on a rocky terrain burns more calories than cycling on a flat surface. Both light and moderate bicycling are effective at toning the legs. Twenty minutes of cycling at 5.5 mph on a flat surface can burn about 76 calories in a 125-pound person; 91 calories in a 150-pound person, and 121 calories in a 200 pound person. Cycling 12 to 13 mph burns about twice the number of calories as cycling 5.5 mph, and cycling 16 to 19 mph, about three times.


No need to head to a dance studio to get a great workout for your legs. Compile a playlist of your favorite dance tunes and bust a move in your living room. Aerobic dancing will strengthen and tone your glutes and legs and burn a significant amount of calories. A moderately-intense session burns 245 calories in 30 minutes for someone who weighs 125 pounds.


Performing calisthenics, like leg lifts and bodyweight squats, can burn 66 calories in 20 minutes in a 125-pound person, 79 calories in a 150-pound person and 106 calories in a 200-pound person. The number of calories burned while performing leg lifts varies depending on the number of repetitions performed within a minute.

Weight Training

Effective workouts for your legs include resistance training with moves such as squats, deadlifts, leg curls and lunges. An intense 30-minute session burns about 205 calories if you weigh 205 pounds. Intense implies you're using heavy enough weight to fatigue you within eight to 12 repetitions and move relatively quickly between exercises. And, compound exercises that use multiple joints -- such as the squat or step-up -- burn more calories than isolation-style moves such as calf raises.

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