We know that weight loss comes down to one thing – burn more calories than we consume. And at one time or another we’ve all wondered: how do I burn more calories. How can we burn the most fat in the least amount of time? Which workout moves are the most efficient? Which exercises burn the most calories? How many calories does jumping jacks burn?
Well, we’ve done the research for you, and pinpointed 7 of the most intense calorie-burners out there! And since not everyone is ready for CrossFit-level intensity in every workout, we’re giving you both beginner and advanced versions of each workout move.
7 Exercises To Burn More Calories
Here are 7 of the best exercises you can try to burn more calories. Where possible, we’ve also included links to video tutorials for each exercise.
1. Squats or Squat Jumps
Did you know that squats burn a crazy amount of calories? Multiply your body weight by 0.096 to find out how many calories you burn per minute of doing squats.
But are you ready to kick it up a notch? Try jump squats to burn more calories. They’re much more difficult, they wear your legs out much faster, and they burn way more calories. Just 30 jump squats–with 30-second rests between sets of ten–can burn 100 calories in almost no time at all.
2. Plank or Plank Walks
This move is difficult to master as you build your upper body and core strength, but it’s so worth it. One day you’ll find it easy to hold a one-minute (or even three-minute!) plank.
Holding a plank burns more calories the longer you do it, as your body starts struggling to support your weight and fires up all of its calorie-burning engines. You can burn significant calories in a plank, but it will take a while… which is why working up to plank walks is a great idea. Instead of a plain old hold, plank walks get you moving, using more muscles, and burning more calories.
Although plank walks aren’t aerobic exercise like squat jumps, they rapidly build your core and upper body strength. Your body will burn more calories maintaining this muscle, but more importantly, you’ll become strong enough to do even harder exercises… like burpees!
3. Walk-Out Burpees or Burpees
If you’ve ever done a boot-camp style exercise class or tried a Tabata class, chances are you’ve done a burpee. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve learned to hate them! They’re tough, they get your heart pounding, and after just a few burpees you’ll be dripping sweat. But we should all learn to love the burpee, not hate it, because it’s one of the fastest calorie-blasters and body-transformers out there.
Walk-out burpees are low-impact: You walk your hands out on the floor into a plank position, then walk your hands back into standing, with or without a final jump before repeating. Regular burpees are high-impact: You go into a plank by jumping your feet out behind you, then jump your feet to your hands, and jump upright before repeating. Whew! Looks simple, feels like… well, like a workout!
If you’re a 140 lb person, you can burn 100 calories from doing 90 burpees. Yes, that is a lot! But think about it: this means that if your average boot camp workout includes 20 burpees, those exercises alone will torch over 20 calories! And the results you’ll see in your abs and shoulders will be so worth it.
This exercise also comes with high-impact and low-impact options. Go for low-impact if your joints are giving you pain or if you’re an exercise newbie. If you’ve been exercising for a while and your knees don’t bother you, start jumping! You’ll burn way more calories that way.
Doing jumping jacks for 10 minutes can burn a whopping 100 calories… but like all of these exercises, don’t expect to be able to do them non-stop long enough to blast through that many calories all at once! Combining these exercises with others for a balanced circuit workout is definitely the way to go. You’ll get all of the benefits without hurting yourself, and your calorie burn will continue long after your workout ends.
Jumping jacks engage all of your muscles at the same time: upper body, abs, legs, and of course your whole cardiovascular system. They can also help you loosen up at the beginning of a workout, like a super dynamic stretch. This makes them the perfect warm-up activity!
5. Walking Lunges or Jumping Lunges
A 140 lb person can burn nearly 80 calories by doing walking lunges for just 10 minutes! And walking lunges aren’t nearly as difficult as an exercise like burpees. If you’re able to balance adequately, you really could complete 10 minutes of walking lunges without struggling too much… and your legs will reap the benefits of this awesome toning exercise. You can even hold dumbbells to add resistance if you find walking lunges a little too easy.
Jumping lunges are even more of a balance challenge, as you can see from the video linked above! And like all jumping exercises, jumping lunges burn more calories because your body is working so hard. Be sure to do jumping lunges on a stable surface with appropriate shoes, and don’t use weights!
Not only are lunges excellent for exercising your balance–which needs practice just like any other skill–they also work your quads, the muscles in your hips, and your glutes, helping to tone all of the most problematic parts of the lower body.
6. Slow Climbs or Mountain Climbers
Like burpees, mountain climbers are often the most hated part of a bootcamp class! Ouch! This exercise is like a plank, but with an aerobic element that will get your heart pounding faster than almost anything else. And just like planks, mountain climbers blast your abs and upper body along with a ton of calories.
A 130 lb person burns more than 10 calories per minute of mountain climbers! But don’t let that surprise you… once you’ve tried to do them for a full minute, you’ll believe it, and so will your entire body. This exercise is meant to be part of a full workout, not an entire workout in itself.
Slow climbs are a low-impact version of mountain climbers. While they won’t get your heart rate up quite as high or quite as quickly as fast climbs, they will work your shoulders and core and burn calories like crazy, even if they won’t burn 12 per minute! Work your way up from slow climbs to fast mountain climbers by practicing in short bursts. Try to begin with 30 seconds of slow climbs.
7. Marching or High Knees
Once you’ve seen the video for high knees, you can do marching: it’s just high knees without hopping so quickly! This exercise might look easy and simple, but it’s challenging and works more muscles than you’d expect. You’ll feel your legs, your arms, and your abs engaging if you’re doing it right. When you lift your leg high in front of you, your abs have to activate to support its weight. So not only is your leg working to move, your whole core is working to help it.
Like jumping jacks, high knees are both a great warm-up and a great cardio burst in a total body workout. One minute of high knees–working your very hardest–will burn about 8 calories. Not as many as mountain climbers, but a pretty good burn for such a simple exercise!
Naturally, marching burns fewer calories, but still more than walking alone, and you’ll get a good abdominal crunch out of marching if you keep good form throughout the workout.