Welcome to my article, “How many calories does 100 squats burn?”
This is the next installment in my “How many calories does…” series, and you can access the other articles I have written in this series further down the page.
I guess if I had to pick one exercise, and one exercise alone, in terms of overall fitness, i.e. weight loss, fat burning, strength enhancement, muscle building, etc. then it would have to be the squat.
The benefits of squatting, whether you’re using your own bodyweight or with added resistance, is amazing.
Every time you perform a squat you target your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
Plus there is a secondary effect on your abs, calves, and shins.
Furthermore, lower body exercises (such as squats) use more energy than upper body exercise, and therefore they burn more calories.
I will reveal how many calories 100 squats burn, whether you choose to do them with your own bodyweight or with added resistance.
Plus, I’d also like to introduce you to 3 of my favourite squat workouts (as well as looking at how many calories one of these specific workouts will burn).
How Many Calories Does 100 Squats Burn?
As I’ve mentioned in my various “How Many Calories” articles the answer to a question such as this is subjective.
In terms of 100 squats we would have to consider factors such as your weight, the speed at which you’re performing them, whether you complete them all in one go or in sets, bodyweight or weighted, and in truth the list could go onto include age, fitness levels, etc.
So, in order to answer the question immediately I’m going to give you an example, and then I’ll provide you with a formula so you can calculate your own calories burned from doing 100 squats.
A person weighing 70kg (154lbs) performing bodyweight squats at moderate intensity (20 squats per minute) would burn approximately 23.5 calories per 100 squats.
The same person performing bodyweight squats at a vigorous intensity (40 squats per minute) would burn approximately 24.5 calories per 100 squats (but remember this is achieved in half the time).
The same person performing bodyweight squats at a low intensity (10 squats per minute) would burn approximately 34.3 calories per 100 squats.
Initially, it may look as though you burn more calories with low-intensity squats, but we have to consider the time taken to perform these (5 minutes, 2.5 minutes, and 10 minutes respectively).
If the same person performed 10 minutes of squats they would burn:
- 34.3 calories with low-intensity
- 47 calories with moderate-intensity
- 98 calories with vigorous-intensity
Just so you’re aware this same person weighing 70kg would burn approximately 1.23 calories per minute while sitting down doing nothing.
Yes, we burn calories while at rest too through simple things like breathing, processing of nutrients, circulation, cell production, etc.
Let me guess, you’re a little disappointed by the calories burned for 100 squats and were hoping for much more.
The formula required to calculate how many calories YOU are burning while performing 100 squats is:
- Low-intensity – 2.8 x 3.5 x (weight in kg) / 200 = calories burned per minute
- Moderate-intensity – 3.8 x 3.5 x (weight in kg) / 200 = calories burned per minute
- Vigorous-intensity – 8.0 x 3.5 x (weight in kg) / 200 = calories burned per minute
The above formulas will give you the calories burned per minute from doing bodyweight squats.
Then simply multiply by 10, 5, or 2.5 depending on low, moderate, vigorous intensity levels respectively to ascertain how many calories you are burning per 100 squats.
These figures are based against the metabolic equivalent (MET) of performing an activity, such as squats.
What is the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET)?
A metabolic equivalent or MET is the ratio of your metabolic rate while performing an activity relative to your resting metabolic rate.
Metabolic rate is the rate at which you expend energy per unit of time.
So, using the examples above, sitting has a value of 1 MET, low-intensity bodyweight exercise has a value of 2.8 METs (this means that you are using 2.8 times more energy to perform low-intensity bodyweight exercises than you do when sitting down).
Moderate-intensity bodyweight exercise is 3.8 METS (which is about the same as brisk walking at 4mph), and vigorous bodyweight exercise has a MET value of 8 (which is about the same as cycling at 13mph).
MET calculations are based on how the body uses energy.
In order to move your muscles, the cells within the muscles require oxygen in order to create energy.
The body needs to consume 3.5 millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (hence the use of the figure 3.5 in the above formulas).
So, the same example as above, a person weighing 70kg (154lbs) would consume 70 x 3.5 = 245 millilitres of oxygen every minute while a rest.
With that said, a person’s energy expenditure will typically differ due to a variety of factors including, age, fitness levels, etc.
You can check this list of MET values for 800 activities.
How Many Calories Does 100 Squats Burn When Weight Lifting?
Okay, I’m going to try to keep this section as simple as possible, as I know many of you will want to know EXACT calorie values, so unfortunately it does get a little technical when calculating these.
What may surprise you is that the MET values for weight lifting, or resistance training if you prefer, are fairly similar to bodyweight training, if not lower when compared to vigorous bodyweight training.
All the following figures and calculations are based on performing the barbell back squat.
Squatting with light weights has a MET value of 3.5, training with moderate weights is 5 METs, whereas heavy weight lifting has a value of 6 METs.
I’m going to base the following on our person weighing 70kg and taking 10 minutes to perform 100 weighted squats.
This of course is just for comparison purposes, because I can tell you right now that it is pretty much impossible for anyone to perform 100 heavy weighted squats in 10 minutes.
The calories burned for 100 weighted squats are:
- 42.9 calories with light weights
- 61.35 calories with moderate weights
- 73.5 calories with heavy weights
If only it were that simple.
One of the workouts I’m going to introduce you to in a moment is German Volume Training (GVT).
I would consider this heavy weight lifting, so a MET value of 6.
This involves completing 10 reps for 10 sets with exactly one minute’s rest in between sets, thus giving you a total of 100 reps.
Now what you have to take into consideration is that your oxygen consumption and energy expenditure while “resting” is going to be a lot higher than if you were just sitting down at rest.
Basically, you’re still going to be breathing hard in between sets while you try to recover.
In fact, in most cases you won’t be fully recovered in just one minute, and your oxygen consumption and energy expenditure is going to increase as you get further into your workout.
In layman’s terms, you will be breathing a lot heavier after your 8th set of 10 reps than you will be after your first set.
Okay, just for calculation purposes I’m going to say that each set of 10 squats is going to take you 40 seconds, and each minute of rest you will be expending energy and consuming oxygen at the same rate as moderate-intensity exercise.
Stay with me, I’m doing the calculations, you just have to read.
So, this means that 100 squats (10 x 10) will take 40 seconds x 10 = 400 seconds or 6 minutes 40 seconds.
Therefore, 6 minutes and 40 seconds of this squat workout will be performed at a MET value of 6.
You will then be resting for 1 minute x 10 times = 10 minutes of rest, but I’ve already said that this “rest” will be valued at 3.5 METs (due to a higher than normal heart rate, breathing heavily, and the requirement for additional oxygen consumption).
Based on these values (and our 70kg person) performing 100 heavy weighted squats burns 49 calories.
The “rest” taken between sets will burn 42.9 calories (yes, it’s entirely possible to burn almost as many calories while at rest during a weight-training session).
So, this entire workout which will take 16 minutes and 40 seconds (and is probably one of the best workouts you will EVER perform in under 20 minutes) burns a total 91.9 calories.
Now, hopefully you caught sight of the fact that I talked about burning calories while at rest.
This is extremely important in terms of weight training and burning calories in general.
My regular readers will have heard me talk of the after-burn effect many times before.
This is basically when your body continues to burn a higher than usual amount of calories even while you are at rest.
This is typically achieved by performing exercises that boost your metabolic rate, e.g. lifting weights, circuit training, HIIT.
In fact, it was estimated that a person would typically burn an additional 150-200 calories for the next 10 hours AFTER they have stopped exercising, and were at rest, due to the additional metabolic boost (plus when I say “additional” calories burned, this is on top of what you would normally burn anyway while at rest).
My regular readers will also know that I’m not a fan of moderate-intensity, steady state cardio (can’t stand it), e.g. jogging, treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical trainer, etc.
There are many reasons for my “hatred” and I won’t go into them all again, but the main important factor about this type of exercise is that it DOES NOT produce the after-burn effect.
So, whatever calories you burn while exercising, well that’s it.
However, the reasons many people are “fooled” by the effectiveness of this type of exercise is because of the number of calories burned during exercise.
Our 70kg person running a 10-minute mile on a treadmill would burn approximately 104 calories (using the MET calculations), so 208 calories for a 20-minute 2-mile jog.
When you compare these figures to our 91.9 calories it seems as though there is no competition.
However, once we factor in the after-burn effect from weight-training (up to 200 calories over the next 10 hours and this still continues, but at a lower rate for 24-48 hours), we are now looking 291.9 calories burned with weight training (and more to come) compared to 208 calories for jogging.
Additionally, muscle burns more calories while you are at rest. Therefore, the more lean muscle you have the more calories you will automatically burn anyway.
Now who’s the “winner”.
You can read more about the after-burn effect in my “strength training” article in the next section.
Okay apologies, no more technical stuff, i promise.
Further Reading in the “How Many Calories…” Series
How To Barbell Back Squat
100-Squat Workouts (Plus a 500-Rep Monster)
The following squat workouts are ones that I perform regularly.
However, I would class these as advanced in nature and therefore you should adjust your weights, rest periods, and even rep schemes, according to your own fitness and strength abilities.
Remember I have been training for many years. I regularly experiment and often push the realms of sanity when it comes to training.
500-Rep Bodyweight Squats
This is something that I discovered from Ken Shamrock’s, Lion’s Den, Warrior Training.
Just in case you’re not aware, Ken was the Ultimate Fighting Champion, a pro-wrestler with the WWE, and lauded as the “world’s most dangerous man”.
To say that Ken is brutal when it comes to training is an understatement.
The aim is to perform 500 bodyweight squats as quickly as possible, preferably all in one set (yes, you read that correctly – one set).
This is beyond the capabilities of most people, so as I’ve mentioned, please try this with caution.
I would suggest that someone with less than 3 months exercise should aim for 100 reps, split into sets of perhaps 20.
Each time you attempt the 100-rep squats try to complete them in less-and-less sets until you can eventually perform 100-reps straight (this will typically take weeks to months to achieve as a beginner).
If you have been exercising for a while, and your fitness levels are fairly good, then aim for 250 squats.
Once again split your 250 squats into manageable sets, and aim to complete them in fewer sets each time, until you can eventually manage 250 in one set (this will take some doing for most people).
Finally, there’s the 500 reps in one set.
I’ll be honest and say this is purely mind-over-matter once you have a high level of fitness.
Even to this day, my legs start to burn at the 100-150-rep mark.
My breathing is extremely heavy by the 250-rep mark.
I am sweating profusely by the 350-rep mark, and pretty much ready to give up.
I have made the 500-rep mark and have also collapsed on the floor afterwards.
Unfortunately, this is only one part of Ken’s Warrior Training (yes, there’s more).
You check out the full workout here.
100 Goblet Squats
The goblet squat, probably my favourite of all squat exercises.
I find you can sink really deep into the squat, and by placing your elbows inside your knees you get to learn “proper” squat technique.
The eventual aim is to perform 4 sets of 25 reps (with one minute’s rest between sets) with a weight equivalent to half your bodyweight.
I understand if you’re over 100kg in weight it’s going to be hard to find dumbbells at your local gym that are over 50kg in weight.
Once again, please perform this workout according to your current physical abilities.
If you can’t currently perform 25 bodyweight squats, you’re definitely not going to be able to do 25 goblet squats.
A good stating point for most people would be to perform 5 sets of 10 reps with at least 8-10kg.
Keep to this rep and set scheme, but keep adding weight each time you perform the workout, until you can eventually perform 10 reps for 5 sets with half your bodyweight (this may again take a number of weeks to a couple of months).
Once you are able to perform goblet squats will a dumbbell/kettlebell equivalent to half your weight you can start adding more reps each time you train.
German Volume Training
As I mentioned above, this is 10 sets of 10 reps of barbell squats with exactly one minute’s rest in between sets.
I am currently performing this workout with 120% of my body weight.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that if you’ve never performed the barbell squat before, or if you’re not currently able to squat with a bar weighing this much, then please don’t attempt this workout.
Once again start out with a lighter weight and with fewer sets, let’s say 4 sets of 10 reps, and then work your way up in sets first, and then start adding weight.
For most people to perform 10 sets of 10 reps with 120% of their body weight will probably take a good 18-24 months of strength training.
How To Goblet Squat
So, there you have it, my guide to how many calories 100 squats burn, whether you use your own bodyweight or added resistance.
My apologies if the figures and calculations got a little complicated, but I understand that many of you just want to read an actual number of calories.
However, as you can see there are various factors to take into consideration.
Therefore, I think it’s important to explain these other factors, as well as mapping out how the calculations are made.
What I will say is that, irrespective of calories, squats are without doubt one of the best exercises ever, and I think they have an important place in helping everyone reach their body composition goals.