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Feel the Burn: How Many Calories Do You Burn on Leg Day?

Feel the Burn: How Many Calories Do You Burn on Leg Day?

Leg day, the workout everyone knows they need to do, but only some do.

In fact, asking someone whether they train their legs regularly or not is a great way to discover who is taking their training seriously, as working the lower body is not only great for building strength but as you’ll see has several other sought after benefits too.

In this article, we’ll explore those benefits then take a look at the number of calories burnt amongst the most common leg day exercises both in and out of the gym.

Before we start, we get that the point of leg day is not to burn a lot of calories but to get stronger over time. However, if you’re trying to maintain a calorie deficit or surplus then it can be useful to get an idea of the number of calories you burn in your workout.

Plus, if you’re training outside and like to include sprints or other cardio as part of your training plan then this becomes a really useful thing to know.

With that said, let’s begin.


The Benefits of Leg Training

As we alluded to before, training your legs has several benefits for your health and your performance in and out of the gym.

  • Improved performance: If you train your lower body regularly you can expect to see a boost in run faster and jump higher. Not to mention it’s your lower body that creates a stable base for a lot of upper body exercises which means you can expect to see an improvement in this area too
  • Core stability: With most leg movements your core regularly gets activated to help stabilise your body. This translates to be better body control and a strong midsection
  • Better balance: One big benefit of strong legs and improved core stability is better balance and control of your body. This is particularly useful for some sports, exercises like lunges or step-ups as well as older adults who are prone to falls
  • Injury prevention: Muscles imbalances and a lack of mobility can lead to injury but by training your lower body with exercises like the squat, deadlift and lunge using great technique you’ll improve your strength and range of motion in your lower body which will help injury-proof you

Now you know how beneficial leg training can be, let’s take a look at the number of calories you can expect to burn per exercise.


Strength Training

When you think of leg day, chances are you immediately picture someone in the rack, under the bar, doing reps of heavy back squats. Head into most gyms and this is likely what you’ll see as the squat is a leg day staple.

However, it’s not the only weighted exercise for building bigger, stronger legs and there are a variety of other movements that can help you build an athletic lower body.

To figure out the calorie burn per exercise you need to know the MET value, this is how hard you are working. For example, if you can still hold a conversation whilst you squat then your MET value is low, probably around 4.

On the other hand, if you’re breathing hard and can no longer maintain a conversation then your MET value is high and probably around 8.

Knowing this you can then use the following calculation to figure out your calorie burn per exercise:

Calories burned per minute = .0175 x MET score x weight in kgs

Using some example weights and time here is how some of our favourite exercises stack up for calorie burn.

  1. Barbell Squats: A 150 lb person squatting for a total of 5 minutes with a MET score of 8 would burn about 48 calories
  2. Lunges: A 130 lb person lunging for a total of 7 minutes with a MET score of 6 would burn about 42 calories
  3. Deadlifts: A 185 lb person deadlifting for 4 minutes with a MET score of 8 would burn about 47 calories

This is all approximate values and will vary largely depending on the intensity and duration of exercises as well as your body weight.



Here at TPW, we respect that everyone is different and although some of you live to pump iron, some of you will prefer getting outside and being active.

We get that and enjoy mixing up our training too with a combination of activities and exercises, which means leg day doesn’t always mean squats and lunges.

Sometimes it means getting out in the fresh air and sunshine to do a 5k, hike a mountain, do some hill sprints or just go for a walk and clear your head.

  1. Walking: Walking at an average pace of 15 mins per mile for 30 minutes will see a 125 lb person burn approximately 135 calories, a 155 lb person burn 167 and a 185 lb person burns 200
  2. Sprints: Doing five 30-second sprint intervals can burn between 40 – 60 calories depending on your weight. The heavier you are and the faster you sprint the more calories you will burn
  3. Cycling: Cycling at a 10-12mph pace (reasonable beginner pace) will burn approximately 240 calories for a 125 lb person, 298 for a 155 lb person and 355 for a 185 lb person
  4. Jogging: Running at a 10min/mile pace (this is equivalent to a 31 min 5k) for 30 minutes will burn approximately 300 calories for a 125 lb person, 372 for a 155 lb person and 444 for a 185 lb person
  5. Hiking: Going for a 30 minutes hike will burn approximately 180 calories for a 125 lb person, 223 for a 155 lb person and 266 for a 185 lb person





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