post Best Calorie Burning Exercises (Must-Try Routines)

Best Calorie Burning Exercises (Must-Try Routines)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: January 27, 2024
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Many calorie-burning workouts include HIIT, swimming, jumping rope, and running. However, some exercises will get you more calorie burn for your buck than others.

As a certified fitness trainer, I researched extensively to know which exercises burn more calories. Together with my clients, we put the workouts to the test.

In this article, I will detail my findings and expertise on the best exercises for more calorie burn, how to burn more calories in your workouts, and the factors that affect the amount of calories burned.

Quick Summary

  • The best calorie-burning workouts include jumping rope, indoor cycling, sprints, swimming, squats, kickboxing, kettlebell circuits, rowing, high-intensity interval, and strength training.
  • Various factors, including the duration of your activity, pace, intensity, and weight and height, determine the number of calories you burn.
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can increase calorie burn significantly, with some sessions burning up to 420 calories per hour.
  • In my experience, finding a workout that you enjoy and can maintain consistently is key to successful calorie burning and overall fitness.

The Best Exercises for Burning Calories

A woman doing cardio at the gym to burn calories

Jumping Rope

I found that jumping rope is a great way to improve coordination, ankle and calf strength, core power, posture, and aerobic endurance.

It also aids in developing bone density, which protects against loss of bones and osteoporosis.

The ideal technique to begin jumping rope is to proceed slowly and in 20- to 35-second bursts.

Once you've mastered the wrist flick and timing, increase your speed and length to burn calories.

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Indoor Cycling

Cycling is excellent for low-impact cardio and training the knees and hamstrings.

This is one exercise I use most frequently with clients suffering from knee discomfort from jogging or who have recuperating from knee problems.

Interval training on a workout bike has been demonstrated to be particularly beneficial for decreasing body fat and increasing both anaerobic and aerobic performance [1].

When cycling, maintain appropriate posture (shoulders down and back, flat back, and chest up) for the greatest outcomes.

Adding sprint intervals at rapid speeds, resting intervals, and moderate pace, will burn calories and provide a bigger after-burn compared to a steady state cycle.

Related: Does Cycling Burn Belly Fat

Sprints

A person doing sprints outside

Sprinting is a high-intensity action that needs a lot of glutes and hamstring force.

You develop cardiovascular fitness and promote fat-burning by switching between maximal efforts and recuperation intervals.

Here's how I maximize my efforts: sprint at a speed I can sustain for about 20 seconds. Then do a recovery run at half the difficulty level but double the time.

Boost the intensity of your sprints by running them up a hill or climbing stairs. You will also be combating gravity, which will boost the intensity further.

Begin by ascending ten to fifteen stairs at a time. Once you've gotten into a rhythm, you may take two steps at a time to increase the power necessary for each stride.

Related: Is Sprinting Good for Fat Loss

Swimming

Swimming is a low-impact activity that increases muscular strength, blood circulation, and lung and heart capacity.

Thirty minutes of light swimming burns around the same calories as thirty minutes of jogging.

Swimming, however, is less taxing on the body. This may be a good workout if you have joint difficulties or restricted mobility.

Do laps and water aerobics to improve your calorie burn while swimming.

Related: Swimming for Weight Loss

Air Squats

A woman doing air squats

Squats strengthen the glutes and inner thighs. They also help enhance your posture and balance as your butts strengthen.

They also help prevent knee and ankle problems by developing the ligaments, tendons, and bones surrounding the leg muscles.

Squats also burn three to six times more calories than cardiovascular activity, which may aid in weight loss.

In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, various workouts were examined and they were shown to expend the most calories per minute, with a standard of thirty-five calories burned every minute [2].

Related: How to do Bodyweight Squats

Kickboxing

Kickboxing trains the upper body and abs without much stress on your legs, making it ideal if you can't leap or have knee problems when jumping.

Furthermore, research has revealed that kickboxing improves cardio, agility, strength, coordination, balance, aerobic power, and upper-body fitness.

First, study basic boxing motions (such as jabs, hooks, crosses, and uppercuts) and be prepared to integrate lunges, squats, and ducks.

You may increase the intensity by resting for thirty seconds after every ninety seconds of sparring.

Related: Kickboxing vs Muay Thai

Kettlebell Circuits

A woman doing kettlebell workouts

Kettlebell circuits and complexes (a series of actions performed without lowering your weight) are excellent calorie-burning exercises since they train strength and cardio.

You're lifting weights in such a way that your heart rate remains elevated throughout, allowing you to develop muscle and burn fat.

According to a Pubmed study, regular kettlebell weight training has been demonstrated to increase overall strength and metabolism [3].

The secret to kettlebell success is incorporating a squat, pull, swing, core, and push motion to engage your complete body, changing between lower- and upper-body movements to allow you to go for longer periods before becoming fatigued.

Related: Kettlebell Benefits

Rowing

I recommend rowing to my clients looking to lose weight because it engages the entire body, including the glutes, hamstrings, hips, back, arms, and core.

It's excellent for developing your posterior chain (your back).

Rowing keeps your heart beating and helps you gain muscle since it activates all your muscles. Rowing can therefore help you lose body fat and boost your metabolism.

Proper form is essential (and easily overlooked). The legs push back, your torso falls back to approximately 45°, and the arms pull into your chest.

To reverse the exercise, extend your arms past your knees, bend your body forward, and return your legs to the beginning position.

Rowing Related Articles:

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

A person at the gym doing intense workout

If you need intensity, HIIT activities are the way to go.

These exercises involve exercising hard in intervals followed by rest.

There are different HIIT variations, but my preferred method consists of pushing yourself for thirty seconds and resting for ten for eight sets or four minutes.

Since your heart rate will remain elevated, it will improve how many calories you burn in fewer hours.

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Strength Training

Strength training is among the most effective methods for increasing calorie burn.

An hour of weight training may burn 310 to 420 calories on average; however, the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) impact will improve how many calories throughout the day.

The EPOC effect is a rise in metabolism after strength exercise and is connected to the consumption of oxygen needed to help recover the muscles [4].

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How To Burn More Calories in Your Workout

A person doing HIIT workouts

The most effective approach to burn extra calories is to stay active.

The longer you work out and the more intensely your session, the higher the process of burning calories.

However, you should not train for long periods.

Activity extending beyond 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or more at the gym is more important. Concentrate on training effectively and incorporating movement into other aspects of your day.

"It's also worth noting that the length of time you spend training is a small percentage of the overall calories you burn in a day."

- Jennifer Jacobs, Certified Personal Trainer

Regarding caloric burn, non-exercise movement thermogenesis (the energy used for everything we perform that is not resting, eating, or sports-like activity) accounts for ten to twenty percent of your regular energy consumption [5].

Your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories the body burns while carrying out basic life-sustaining activities like breathing and digesting food) accounts for sixty to seventy percent [6].

Factors Impacting the Number of Calories Burned

A woman doing fat loss workouts

Weight

Individuals who weigh more burn more calories because moving takes more energy.

Because calories indicate energy, the more weight you have, the more power you require to move your body.

According to some studies, bigger people have larger organs that require more energy to operate, resulting in a higher caloric burn [7].

Age

The older you become, the less muscular mass you have [8]

As an outcome, you burn fewer calories when exercising, and your basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases.

To compensate for this, include weekly strength exercises to increase muscle mass, burn extra calories, and raise your BMR.

Workout Intensity

A person doing intense workout with kettlebells

The more intensive the exercise, the more calories burned.

HIIT exercises, for instance, are naturally intense (hence the term High-Intensity Interval Training); therefore, you may expect a significant calorie burn.

If you want to increase the intensity of your rowing or spin bike workout, attempt bursts of strong, powerful pushes to simulate the HIIT style.

When your body expends more energy, it burns calories.

Body Composition

Muscle demands more energy to preserve than fat, so when you work out, you burn more calories.

This is where your BMR plays since the more muscular tissue you have, the greater your BMR and, therefore, the more calories you'll burn during the day.

The more your muscle mass, the more calories burned [9].

Workout Duration

The longer your physical activity, the more calories burned. However, keep in mind that longer doesn't always imply better.

"Implement an excellent training program and concentrate on other times of the day where you may be physically active by moving frequently."

- Gabbi Berkow, Certified Personal Trainer

Set objectives and work effectively during your workout to maximize your time.

Exercises for Different Age Groups

Here's which exercises are best for different age groups for burning calories.

Children and Adolescents (Ages 6-17)

For young individuals, it's important to create a fun and active environment to promote weight loss without putting excessive pressure on them. Activities like outdoor play, engaging in games such as tag, hide and seek, or soccer, can help burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.

Dance and aerobics classes designed for kids and teenagers provide an enjoyable way to get moving and improve cardiovascular fitness.

Young Adults (Ages 18-35)

In this age group, more intense and structured exercises can aid in weight loss. Cardiovascular workouts, such as high-intensity activities like running, cycling, or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), are highly effective for burning calories and promoting weight loss.

Incorporating strength training, either through weight lifting or bodyweight exercises, helps build muscle mass, which, in turn, boosts metabolism and contributes to fat loss.

Adults (Ages 36-65)

Combining workouts that include both aerobic exercises like jogging and strength training routines can be highly effective for burning calories and preserving muscle mass.

Low-impact cardio activities like swimming or using an elliptical machine reduce joint stress while promoting weight loss.

Additionally, practices like yoga and Pilates, which improve flexibility, core strength, and body awareness, can complement weight loss efforts and contribute to overall fitness.

Seniors (Ages 65+)

Low-impact activities such as walking, tai chi, or water aerobics are gentle on the joints while still promoting weight loss. Strength and resistance training become even more critical as they help maintain muscle mass, which tends to decline with age.

These exercises boost metabolism and improve balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

FAQs

What Exercise Burns the Most Calories in 30 Minutes?

The exercise that burns the most calories in 30 minutes is running. Running at any speed burns more calories in 30 minutes. Running burns between 11 and 17 calories per minute on average, placing it at the apex of the list of calorie-burning activities.

How Can I Burn 1000 Calories in a Few Minutes?

You can burn 1000 calories in a few minutes by performing exercises such as running, CrossFit, high-intensity interval training, rowing, and cycling, individually or in conjunction.

What Burns Fat the Fastest?

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, burns fat the fastest. It is among the most popular types of workout and is characterized as any activity that causes your heart rate to rise. One of the best ways to increase fat burning may be to incorporate cardio into your exercise routine.


References:

  1. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1174469.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524349/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22580981/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8439678/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218769/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21818376/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28223244/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315740/
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