100 Squats: How Many Calories Does This Squat Challenge Really Burn?

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Calories burned from squats will generally come down to how much you weigh and the intensity with which you train. So, as an example, a person weighing 160lbs performing 100 bodyweight squats at moderate-intensity will burn 19.3 calories. However, this same person performing 100 bodyweight squats at high-intensity can expect to burn 40.7 calories.

Calories Burned From 100 Bodyweight Squats Based on Weight & Intensity

Weight (lbs)Moderate Intensity (Calories Burned)High Intensity (Calories Burned)

There is NO “One-Size-Fits-All” For Calories Burned

“Squats are one of the most effective exercises for building lower body muscle and increasing overall strength. This increased muscle mass translates to a higher metabolism, which means you burn more calories at rest.”

Bret Contreras, Strongman competitor and Powerlifter

I’ll be honest and say that the number of calories you burn from squats, or any other exercise for that matter, isn’t quite as cut-and-dried as the table above suggests.

In fact, in researching the number of calories that 100 squats burns I’m slightly perturbed to find numerous articles online quoting an EXACT figure.

If only things were that easy, but unfortunately they’re not.

Firstly, and most obviously, as I’ve mentioned, the number of calories a person will burn will largely depend on their weight, and the intensity with which they perform squats.

Plus, you can clearly see from the table above that the least number of calories burned is 12.1 and the most is 63.5.

Quite a difference, I’m sure you’ll agree.

However, both these figures are based on the “standard” number of bodyweight squats you perform per minute.

This is average out to 25 reps.

Therefore, it would take 4 minutes to complete 100 squats, and this is how the calorie-burned figure is determined.

That said, when performing bodyweight squats at a higher intensity, this would mean that you’re either performing them faster, with less rest between sets, or even all in one go.

Therefore, it is highly likely that performing 100 bodyweight squats at a high intensity will actually take less than 4 minutes to complete.

This in itself will alter some of the stats in the table above.

So, always be wary of anyone quoting an exact number of calories burned without first mentioning weight and intensity.

Using METs to Calculate Calories Burned Through Exercise

Okay, so I’ve said that in order to calculate calories burned by doing squats (or any other exercise) the main factors are your weight and the intensity at which you perform the exercise.

“While squats do burn calories during the exercise itself, their true fat-burning power comes from the muscle-building effect. More muscle tissue leads to a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body burns at rest.”

Layne Norton, PhD., Bodybuilder and Researcher

And one of the best ways to calculate this is through metabolic equivalents, or simply METs.

This is basically the ratio of your working metabolic rate compared to your resting metabolic rate.

And literally every physical activity that you can think of has a MET value attached to it.

As an example, sitting in a char and not moving will have a MET value of 1.

However, performing heavy, high-intensity barbell squats has a MET value of 8.

Then again, performing jump rope at a high intensity has a MET value of 12.3

You can check out for MET values for over 800 activities according to the American Council on Exercise.

Now, the cells in your body require oxygen in order to perform a certain activity.

And one MET requires approximately 3.5 millitres of oxygen consumption per kilogram of body weight.

Therefore, a 200lbs person (91kg) will consume 318.5 millilitres of oxygen (91 x 3.5) for an activity that is measured as one MET, e.g. sitting down in a chair.

And it is through the MET value of an activity, your oxygen consumption, and your body weight (in kg) that we can calculate how many calories an activity burns per minute.

Calories Burned From 100 Barbell Squats Based on Weight & Intensity

Weight (lbs)Moderate Intensity (Calories Burned)High Intensity (Calories Burned)

Okay, with barbell squats I’ve tried to be much more accurate in terms of the number of calories burned.

What I mean by this is that I have changed the number of reps performed based on moderate-intensity or high-intensity.

So, for moderate-intensity squats I have assumed that you will perform 15 reps per minute.

Therefore, using the MET formula as above to calculate calories burned per minute, I have multiplied this figure by 7, i.e. it will take 7 minutes to perform 100 squats. 

However, for high-intensity squats I have assumed that the reps will decrease to 10 per minute (heavier squats will be harder to perform reps at speed, while still making your heart race).

And these are the figures provided in the table above.

So, these figures are based on performing 100 reps of barbell squats in either 7 or 10 minutes.

“Squats, when done correctly, can be a fantastic way to challenge your metabolism. They force your body to work hard, which translates to increased calorie burning not just during the exercise, but for hours afterward.”

Stu McGill, PhD., Spine Biomechanist and Fitness Professional

But, in truth, whether you’re performing squats with moderate or high intensity, it is highly unlikely that you’d get 100 reps completed within these allotted times.

For anyone that has performed 10-15 reps of barbell back squats you’ll know that you’ll need to rest in-between sets.

And while you’re resting you’re still burning calories, and as your heart rate is elevated, you’ll be burning more calories than usual while at rest.

It is these factors that most people don’t take into consideration.

We burn calories all the time, throughout the day, even while sleeping or doing nothing.

Plus, if your heart rate and metabolic rate is increased, i.e. during and after performing squats, you will obviously be burning more calories than when you’re sleeping or at rest.

So, while the figures quoted in the table above provide calories burned in 7 minutes or 10 minutes, it’s unlikely that you’ll perform 100 barbell squats within that time frame.

Key Takeaways

  • The number of calories burned performing 100 squats will vary depending on your weight, the intensity, and whether they are weighted or with your own body weight.
  • Bodyweight squats are performed at an “average” of 25 reps per minute.
  • Barbell squats are performed at 15 reps per minute for moderate-intensity and 10 reps per minute for high-intensity.
  • All figures for calories burned are calculated using the MET formula.
  • The “additional” calories you burn while at rest with an elevated heart rate have not been taken into consideration.

Squats are typically viewed as one of the main compound movements for muscle and strength. However, I have been experimenting with an alternative. See what I have to say about potentially using Bulgarian Split Squats as your main lift.

23 thoughts on “100 Squats: How Many Calories Does This Squat Challenge Really Burn?”

  1. There are people out there that do 500 squats in one set????? And lesser numbers while lifting heavy weights? Do any of them enjoy it?
    Man, just the thought of it makes me tired! And I’m pretty sure, as you say that they are still going to be breathing really hard towards the end or inbetween sets while trying to recover.

    I’m supprised to learn that you say squats are your number one go to exercise for overall fitness.
    I used to have large muscley legs from doing Tae Kwon Do for ten years. So much kicking was involved that we couldn’t help but build muscle.
    However, five years ago (after not training for ten years) I became semi serious with yoga and my legs lost a massive amount of weight. It didn’t worry me as it’s easier to do many of the poses in yoga with longer lean muscles instead of short bulky ones, and my strength hasn’t diminished either.

    Now after reading this, you have made me realize how lazy I have been, so I have decided that I am going to work my way up to 100 squats in one set, and then add some resistance.
    I have been told in the past no to lower my bum below my knee when lifting weights, because the pressure of coming back up is too much for the knees to handle. Obviously there is no truth to this because of what you and other guys are doing.
    What are your thoughts?

    • Yes Andrew, there are even people who have done more squats in one set, LOL.

      I was always impressed by the training of The Great Gama. Performing 5,000 hundi squats (which involves coming up onto the toes), as well a few thousand hindu push ups too. Check the link, and you can see that his diet was pretty insane too.

      Yes, if I had a choice of only one exercise ever it would be between the squat and the deadlift, as you’re getting the most bang for your buck, which includes firing up the metabolism and central nervious system too.

      I’m pretty sure during your Tae Kwon Do years you were probably performing hundreds, if not thousands, of kicks every day, and as you say this will lead to some very impressive leg development.

      In fact, it reminds of a time when a lot of my training was focused around sprinting and plyometrics (different types of jumps basically). This also led to some great leg development, so there’s a lot to be said for kicking, jumping, and straight-out power training. I also tend to notice that any type of leg training does a great deal for the abs and core as well.

      Okay, as for how you should squat, you can check this section of my squatting with knee pain article, but in truth the answer is NO – squatting below 90 degrees will not cause knee (or back) pain.

      As I’ve alluded to in my article above, it’s not the exercise that is the issue, but rather how the squats are performed. I’ve seen it many times in the gym, especially with us guys, the ego plays a huge part in injury.

      It’s usually because there’s far too much weight packed onto the bar. Often this will cause the heels to come up off the floor, which immediately puts a high amount of pressure and weight onto the knee joint, thus potentially leading to injury.

      The hip is a far bigger joint than the knee, so when squatting with heavy weights, it’s better that the “pressure” is put on the bigger joint.

      I ALWAYS squat below 90 degrees and I’ve never had a knee injury in my life.

      Andrew, thanks ever so much for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments, and I love how they make me think more, and delve a little a further into the knowledge bank.


      • Wow, the great Gama is serously impressive. A career spanning 52 years in any sport is to be greatly admired!
        Thanks for clarifying that squatting below 90% is ok. I’m not sure where I picked up the idea that it is not good for us.
        As you say, it’s how the exercise is performed that will determine our level of success, or injury.


        • Hi Andrew,

          Indeed the Great Gama was an extremely impressive man, and let’s not forget that he remained undefeated for those 52 years.

          Unfortunately, the “squatting below 90 dgerees” is a fairly common myth, expressed by all-and-sundry, so it is quite easy to become confused.

          When you have practically a 50/50 split of people telling you it’s good/bad the natural reaction is, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”.

          However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with squatting below 90 degrees. In fact, it’s probably better for your overall health and wellbeing, in terms of core and lower body strength, which of course has a knock-on effect for the rest of the body.

          The main reasons that many of these “myths” about squatting are made is simply because people either try to lift too heavy or they just aren’t performing the exercise correctly.

          I know from a male point-of-view I often find myself wincing when watching guys in the gym squat.

          Typically the bar is packed with double the weight it should be, they perform no more than a quarter squat, which probably isn’t doing much for them in terms of strength and muscular activation.

          They generally lean to one side (more often than not, their stronger side) which places undue pressure on the spine, their heels come off the ground putting further pressure on the knees, it’s just horrible to watch.

          Anyone who squats with this type of technique should not only avoid squatting below 90 degrees, they should probably avoid squatting altogether, because they will end up getting injured at some stage.

          I see nothing wrong with learning the perfect squat through bodyweight squatting first.

          Then moving onto goblet squats, which requires you to stabilise the core properly as you hold the weight in front of you (and 8-10kg is more than enough to learn proper technique). Once you are able to perform goblet squats with perfect form with around 30-40% of your own body weight, you are then ready to move onto the barbell squat.

          However, once again I see nothing wrong with squatting with an empty barbell for a week or two to hone that perfect technique.

          As I always say, it isn’t the exercise or even the weights that cause injury, it’s the technique.


  2. I was wondering where my hatred for the squat derives from. Maybe If I do them (yes, guilty, I hardly do, even though I keep on promising you I will) the wrong way. You should make videos of yourself, Partha, because I am sure I would like to see squats. And since you explained I would burn calories while sitting as well, it sounds pretty good in my ears. ?

    Last summer I mainly swam. And intended to keep on doing that. After all, in the Netherlands are people that swim in the sea every morning, so I should be able to swim in warmer Spain too, shouldn’t I. But I couldn’t, I’ll try again next year.

    But not swimming made room to take up my exercises again. And your articles do inspire to give more attention to what I am actually doing.
    Renewed promise to try the squat!! 😀

    • Haha Hannie, I’m pleased to hear that all my talk of “squats” is finally making you take notice, and that you’re thinking about doing them.

      One of the main reasons I talk about squats a lot is because they are one of the primary human-movement functions and therefore it’s important not only for fitness, but overall health, to be squatting regularly.

      A prime exacmple is if you watch a young child – they often sink into a perfect squat when doimg something on the floor, and yet as we get older we somehow manage to lose this ability to perform a basic human function.

      In fact, there are many countries around the world where people sink into a squat rather than sitting.

      Coming from an Indian background, this is something I see regularly whenever I visit India. People will “squat” and hold conversations for hours, just the same as we do while sitting in a chair in the western world.

      Trust me when I say the squat has many benefits and good squatting capabilities in generally a sign of good overall health.

      Lovely to hear from as always Hannie.


  3. Thank you so much for this very informative article.  These kinds of articles help me a lot because I am in the military, and  we have to maintain a certain body weight and fat percentage to stay in the Army.  What is interesting to me is that altogether, weight training can burn more muscles than jogging.  I am the type of person who loves to job and run, so this is a shocker for me.

    • Hey Jessie,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Well, being part of the military you certainly know all about staying fit and in great shape I’m sure.

      I think it’s important to look at the difference in calories burned from jogging and weight training more in terms of the overall impact they have on the body.

      With jogging, you may even burn more calories at the time, but the body stops burning calories as soon as you stop moving.

      However, with weight training (and many other forms of high-intensity training) you actually produce a metabolic effect.

      So, basically this type of training typically revs up the metabolic system, thus meaning that you’re burning more calories (and body fat) for many hours after you’ve stopped exercising.

      There are even certain high-intensity types of training that could see your body still burning calories over 48 hours later.

      Additionally, the more lean muscle that the body carries, the more calories it burns while at rest.

      And weight training will always build more lean muscle than jogging.

      In fact, excess jogging without proper nutrition may even catabolize muscle (basically burn muscle), which can lead to a slower metabolic rate.

      Unfortunately, a slower metabolic rate will mean that you’re burning fewer calories during the day.

      So, definitely for me, weight training always wins.


  4. Hi Partha

    So this has been an eye opener. For all my fat burning attempts I always jump on the treadmill or hit the road but the fact that I can burn so many calories with squats is impressive because Im also working so many muscle groups at  the same time. Maybe you can post a video of yourself doing the various types of squats it will also be helpful? Thanks again for all the pointers!

    • Hey Janine,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Oh don’t worry, I think it’s a very natural thing for people to “jump on a treadmill or hit the road” in search of burning calories.

      While “jogging” does burn calories, there is unfortunately no metabolic effect to it.

      By this I mean that certain exercises and workout protocols raise the metabolism in such a way that the body continues to burn calories for many hours after you’ve stopped exercising.

      Additionally, as you’ve mentioned, the squat happens to work a huge number of muscles in the body, which in turn increases this metabolic effect.

      Further, you’re more likely to build muscle through squats than “conventional” running.

      And guess what? The more lean muscle the body has, the more calories it burns while at rest.

      So, in my mind squatting provides a WIN-WIN-WIN when compared to something like treadmill and outdoor jogging.

      Plus, you may have a point Janine – I think there could possibly be a few more videos of various squat techniques added to this article.

      Watch this space.


  5. Thanks for this great insight. I always thought that squat doesn’t burn that many calories but it can help to build up our leg muscle. I am planning to back into my exercise after a long hiatus in the gym. Do you think it’s good to do 100 squats every day even if it’s not your exercise day? 

    • Hi Alexander,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I think many of us have had a long break from the gym over the past year or so.

      I for one am definitely looking to get back in.

      As for you question, I have previously written about the Benefits of Squatting Daily.

      However, as I mention in my article I don’t think it’s a good idea to use the exact same squat with the same intensity on a daily basis.

      I often go through a long period of squatting every single day, but this will involve many different types of squat, with resistance and without resistance, and with differing reps and sets.

      I will also say is does depend on your strength and fitness abilities too.

      For me, this may typically involve one day of heavy 5×5 squats.

      The next day would be 100-200 bodyweight squats.

      Then perhaps 3 sets of 15 reps of goblet squats the next day.

      The following day 2 sets of 8 reps of Bulgarian Split Squats, and so it goes on.

      There are some fantastic benefits to doing this, but as I say, it will depend on your current abilities.


  6. Thank you very much for your post. I have been researching what kind of squats are most effective? And from what I have read, the humble squat might just be the most effective exercise we can do. Imay not be able to train as Ken Shamrock, but I’ll sure give these squats a try!

    • Hey Paolo,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Yes indeed, the humble squat is often referred to as the “King of Exercises”.

      Working out the lower body certainly packs a punch, and the squat typically works all the largest muscles of the lower body.

      I would say if your goal is to build strength, pack on muscle, lose weight, burn body fat, or simply to get fitter, the squat is one the best places to start.

      So, it doesn’t get much better than that.

      I have tried the Ken Shamrock workout a few times, and I can tell you from experience it’s horrible, LOL. But it certainly does the job.


  7. Thank you for breaking this all down for us.  It is definitely quite technical and affected by many factors.

    While I certainly would not want to undermine your hard work, I think that the best message to take from this is to work as hard and as long as you can to get the maximum benefit from your exercise and don’t get hung up on the calories!  Sorry!

    It is also good to know that your body will continue to burn additional calories for up to 10 hours after you have stopped exercising.  

    Keep up the good work of motivating us to exercise.

    • Hey Geoff,

      I guess for me personally I don’t tend to get too hung up on calories.

      However, through years of trial and error, and “perfecting” my exercise and nutrition “techniques”, I now know how my body reacts.

      Therefore, I will know the days when I need to eat more, the days when I will need additional carbs, the days when I should consume fewer calories, and even the days when it’s okay to “cheat” and have a bit of a binge.

      That being said, when it comes to weight loss, fat loss, and even weight gain, the first place most people will look is calories.

      And in truth, this is the right way to go around things.

      However, I am also of the belief that you can’t out-train a bad diet.

      So, you can do all the squats you want, you could even exercise for hours and hours a day, but if your nutrition isn’t on-point, this will become noticeable in some way.

      Whether this is that you just don’t seem to have the required energy to exercse, or if you find that your putting on weight and body fat irrespective of how much you exercise, or if you’ve ended up in the realms of skinny-fat, where you’ve typically starting to burn lean muscle as opposed to body fat.

      Basically, bad nutrion will always catch up with you somehwere alomg the line.

      So, definitely “word hard” Geoff, but also keep a close eye on how you fuel your body.


  8. That’s incredible! So basically 100 squats cover a lot when comes to calories burned. And once you reach the vigorous-intensity stage you are on a great point and progress. Thanks for calculating the progress. Do you know what’s the progress when you actually do squats as part of the aerobic or intensive exercising with some of the World known trainers? I used to do insanity but never thought about how many squats I actually did during one training. 

    • Hey Sunny,

      Oh yes, squats are typically viewed as one of the best exercises ever, and not just in terms of calories-burned.

      Regardless, of your body composition goals – losing weight, burning fat, building muscle, gaining strength, etc. squats are as good a place to start as any.

      As for squats as part of a workout, this will of course depend on the various factors I’ve mentioned in the article.

      It’s never completely possibly to actually calculate the exact number of calories you burn during a workout.

      This is because you have to also calculate the number of calories you’re burning while at rest, your metabolic rate, the type of exercise, etc.

      I know we have various apps and gadgets nowdays to calculate things like this, but even these can’t be 100% accurate, although some do come very close.

      That being said, I know of people who “cheat” the system in terms of using an app to calculate calories-burned, or even something like, steps taken.

      However, this defeats the object in my mind.

      I will say that Insanity isn’t really my “thing”, but being someone who typically will try anything once, I have given it a go a few times.

      I will agree that your heart rate goes through the roof, you are burning a shedload of calories, and it will have a huge metabolic effect.

      However, I also think that some of the longer-type Insanity workouts can have a negative impact on fat-burning.

      The body is obviously put under huge amounts of stress, and after around 45 minutes or so of this type of Insanity workout, the body may start to produce the stress hormone, cortisol.

      This is actually terrible for fat loss, and will typically force the body to hold onto to stores of fat – not what you want.

      So, my advice, for Insanity, stick to the shorter 30-minute workouts, and mix up your exercise regime during the week with other stuff, and your body will soon become a calorie-burning machine.


  9. Thank you very much for this awesome article, I am a seasoned cyclist, and I work out 3 to 4 times a week. I love squatting and add that to my workout routine throughout the week. I have one question though, If my stance and posture are correct, why do I feel at the time that my lower back hurts after squatting?

  10. Hi Partha. Very interesting article. I couldn’t imagine that there is so much science in simple calculating calories for squats. And yes, numbers are bit disappointing when we compare it to calories pizza has 😉 But nobody promised it will be easy, and now when e spending so much time in home exercises are more important then ever.

  11. I always wonder how many calories I’m burning when I exercise and I know many others do as well.  I certainly had never considered that the number of calories varies depending on the intensity, a persons’ weight or the amount of weight they are lifting.  The fact that I can burn excess calories even when resting and in the hours afterward is an added bonus!  Thank you for posting these eye-opening facts and calculations!

  12. Good day, I’m pleased to meet you. I have read this important information you have provided, in terms of staying fit and healthy. Well, I did not know how many calories 100 squats burn before, and how that could be calculated depending on the intensity. This is a very helpful information for people who may need to lose weight. I have just shared it to my girlfriend so that she can start performing squats to lose weight. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I learnt a few interesting things from this post, including that lower body exercise, like squats, burn more calories than upper body exercise. I started doing squats during lockdown, and have gradually worked up to doing a 100 squats at a time. I would classify the intensity as somewhere between low and moderate intensity, but at the age of 62 I do not feel ready to do them with weights, I intend increasing the intensity now. 


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