Squats are an effective way to strengthen your legs at your home or gym. Squats work several large muscle groups, making them a great lower-body workout. The number of calories burned doing squats will vary based on several factors. But you'd have to do a lot of squats to burn 3,500 calories.
Read more: Is This the World's Greatest Exercise?
What Calories Do Squats Burn?
Squats are an effective lower-body workout. They give you added strength in your legs that increases your power when jumping, sprinting or running. The number of calories burned doing squats will vary from person to person based on several factors.
Squats are a form of resistance training. This means you will typically do sets of squats with breaks in between. Squats involve slow movements that will only slightly raise your heart rate, unless you do them at a faster pace during high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Though squats will burn some calories, it is not likely you will burn 3,500 calories during a single session of squats. Harvard Health Publishing breaks down the number of calories you are likely to burn doing various exercises for 30 minutes based on your weight. They indicate that if you do 30 minutes of general weight resistance, you will burn the following calories, based on your weight:
- 125 pounds: 90 calories
- 155 pounds: 112 calories
- 185 pounds: 133 calories
However, it is unlikely you will do 30 full minutes of squats at a time. Instead, your lifting routine will probably involve a few sets of squats and other lower-body exercises.
If you were to do nothing but squats to burn 3,500 calories, you would need to do approximately 15.5 hours of squats, if you weigh 155 pounds. Of course, this number is approximate, as factors like your weight, intensity and whether or not you use weight during your squats will add or subtract calories from your total.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, if you do vigorous weight lifting, you can burn more calories per 30 minute exercise session. You can burn the following, based on your weight, doing 30 minutes of vigorous weight lifting:
- 125 pounds: 180 calories
- 155 pounds: 223 calories
- 185 pounds: 266 calories
If you weigh 155 pounds and do vigorous squats until you've burned 3,500 calories, you would need to do continuous squads for approximately eight hours.
High-intensity interval training can help increase your calorie burn. HIIT workouts keep your heart rate elevated, which can help you burn more calories per hour.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT routines involve periods of high-intensity work for about 30 seconds, followed by a period of rest. Some HIIT routines include higher-speed squats and jumps from a squatting position.
Read more: 12 Essential Squat Variations to Try
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research in March 2015, HIIT exercises burn more calories than cardio routines that have you working out at a steady effort. If you are interested in scorching calories during your workouts, then you should consider adding HIIT to your fitness routine. The calories you burn doing a HIIT routine will be more than the calories burned doing squats alone.
Because of this, adding HIIT to your squat workouts can also help you shed unwanted pounds and fat faster than doing squats alone. This is especially true if you follow a healthy diet in addition to following a regular exercise routine.
Post-Workout Burn From Squats
Any time you work out, you will continue to burn calories following the workout. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) occurs after an intense workout. According to the American Council on Exercise, EPOC occurs when your body attempts to restore your muscles to their normal resting state.
How much you burn during the EPOC period varies based on how intense you work out. The higher the intensity of your workout, the more calories you will burn following the workout.
Squats use the buttocks, hamstrings and quads, which are the largest muscles in the legs. This means that if you do squats, in addition to burning calories during the exercise, you will burn further calories as your body recovers. If you add weight to your squats, you can increase the after-exercise burn.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- American College of Sports Medicine: "HigH-Intensity Interval Training"
- Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: "Caloric Expenditure of Aerobic, Resistance, or Combined High-Intensity Interval Training Using a Hydraulic Resistance System in Healthy Men"
- American Council on Exercise: " 7 Things to Know About Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)"