Knowing which exercises burns the most calories and choosing the right exercises will help you lose more weight and burn up to 100% MORE calories.
Any exercise is indeed better than none at all, but some workouts are much better than others. While there isn’t ONE specific exercise that burns the most total calories, there are certain types of movements that can be far more effective than others.
Let’s take a look at the top 18 exercises that burn calories, and then we’ll tell you how to get even more out of it.
This is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world today. And rightfully so, because there are very few activities that can burn more calories than running.
The average male runner can expect to burn around 760 calories in 60 minutes of jogging, whereas the average female runner will burn about 590 calories.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Make sure you’re pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone—if you’re not sweating and breathing hard, you’re probably not doing it right. Jogging should be an intense exercise.
This is one of the best forms of cardio exercises for beginners, but that doesn’t mean you can slack off—you still have to push yourself if you want to get the most out of your workout. You will burn more calories in the water than on dry land, simply because you weigh less.
Swimming is a great exercise to minimize stress on your joints and ligaments, making it a safe choice for people who are obese or overweight. It also requires very little equipment (just swimming trunks/swimsuits and goggles).
How do I get the most out of this exercise? You’re going to need a swimming pool, but once you have one all you really need to do is just put in the work.
Make sure you’re working hard and not holding back—if you don’t make it uncomfortable, then your body will never be forced out of its comfort zone and progress will be extremely slow.
3. Hiking/Trail Running
This is one of the best exercises for beginners because it’s easy enough to do anywhere, and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to do it properly.
All you really need are hiking shoes (which can often double as running shoes if needed), and some extra clothes to change into after the run.
Hiking or trail running can burn close to 1000 calories an hour if you’re going at a fast pace, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants more of a challenge than just jogging or running on the road.
You’ll build up more muscle while also burning incredible amounts of calories—and you can do it almost anywhere.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? If you’re not used to outdoor running, then make sure you break yourself into it gradually and learn how to run on uneven terrain. Start slow and build up the intensity as your body adjusts.
4. Rowing Machines
Rowing machines are basically just a more modern version of the old-fashioned rowing machine where you use your own bodyweight to power yourself.
You can row on the water, but some great rowing machines simulate this experience using air or magnetic resistance.
If you’re new to exercise, then rowing is a really good choice because it allows you to work both the upper and lower body, and it doesn’t require any balance.
Some rowing machines also allow you to use your own body weight as resistance if needed, which can be a great way to get started without needing anyone else.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? The main rule with rowing machines is to make sure you don’t hold back. If you can physically push any harder, then do it—it will pay off in the long run.
5. Jump Rope or Box Jumps (Cross-Training Method)
If you’re looking for a great way to burn calories while also developing explosive upper body and leg strength, then jump rope is the way to go.
It comes with a very small learning curve (it’s one of the most basic exercises ever), and you only need a little bit of space.
Jumping also helps develop powerful leg muscles which can translate into better overall fitness.
Fifteen minutes of jumping rope every day for a month has been shown in multiple studies to increase muscular endurance, lower-body flexibility, and aerobic fitness.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Don’t just jump rope—make sure you’re also doing some high jumps (jump as high as possible) between every two or three minutes of regular jumping. This will help build strong leg muscles while also increasing your overall speed.
6. Wheelbarrow Pushing
The wheelbarrow is one of the oldest and most basic human strength training exercises, but it’s also one of the most effective for rapid weight loss.
While you’re pushing a person or object on wheels up and down as hard as possible, all of your major muscle groups will be working and you’ll burn tons of calories without even realizing it.
You can also do this on a stationary object, but the workout is more intense when you’re pushing or pulling someone’s body weight as hard and fast as possible.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Make sure that your partner is pushing or pulling you as hard and fast as possible. You don’t want to be holding back—this isn’t a leisurely stroll (unless that’s what you’re going for).
7. Curls, Lunges, Squats, and More (Cross-Training Method)
Another great way to burn some serious calories while also building muscle is to grab a pair of dumbbells and do a mix of curls, lunges, squats, and other exercises.
You should be able to find this at any gym, or if you have some weights lying around the house and want to get fit fast then simply follow the same principles.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Make sure you’re working for each muscle group hard—if it’s possible to push yourself any harder, then do it.
This is a cardio workout that will help you build muscles and lose weight at the same time, so if you want results then make every rep count.
8. Resistance Band Training
Resistance bands are one of the most portable and effective methods for getting fit on the go. While you might not be able to burn as many calories with resistance bands compared to free weights, they’re a great way to keep active in your hotel room or at any other time when it’s hard to get to a gym.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? While you’ll be limited by the length of the resistance bands, make sure you’re doing full-body movements whenever possible.
If you want to maximize caloric burn then make sure that your heart rate is high throughout every rep.
9. Walking or Running as Fast as Possible (Cross-Training Method)
Walking and running are both popular forms of cardio, but have you ever tried to run as fast as possible? If not then this is your chance.
Running as fast as you can for ten minutes every day burns more calories than walking at a slower pace, plus it will develop stronger leg muscles which will improve your overall fitness in the long term.
Simply put on some running shoes and then go for it—make sure you’re walking or running as fast as possible, without stopping. This may be hard at first, but with practice, you’ll get better.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Start off by doing fast walking intervals between every two minutes of running.
Over time you can increase the amount of time that you’re running by a few seconds every session until you eventually reach ten minutes without stopping.
10. Bodyweight Squats
The bodyweight squat is the king of exercises. It’s simple, effective, and easy to do anywhere—all you need are some free weights to help balance your weight if needed.
Burpees are another great exercise that you can do anywhere to get in shape. A standard burpee consists of placing your hands on the floor, squatting up, jumping as high as possible, and then standing back up again—you’ll be doing many repetitions while also increasing your heart rate as high as possible.
If you’re looking to burn calories and get fit then this is the exercise for you. These videos can walk you through the best method of burpee training, and show how much energy they use (1:04 mark) so that you can do them correctly in the future.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Do as many burpees as possible in thirty seconds during your first workout, and then increase the amount that you do by a small fraction every time—you’ll be burning plenty of calories before you know it!
12. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are an amazing exercise that’ll give you a killer glute workout while also developing back and shoulder muscles.
While it’s easy to do this at the gym, there are plenty of kettlebells for sale online if you’re looking to get fit but don’t want to pay a gym membership fee.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Focus on doing between 15 and 25 repetitions per workout, which should take you around two minutes.
If that’s too hard then try to focus on a five or ten-minute session instead—you’ll still burn plenty of calories before your next meal.
13. Punching a Heavy Bag
While you may not usually associate punching with getting in shape, it’s actually a great way to burn calories and improve hand-eye coordination.
Boxing is often called the king of all exercises and there are many reasons for this—it’ll challenge your cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal systems, allowing you to stay in shape regardless of your age.
All you need is a punching bag and the ability to follow a few basic instructions, then you’re ready to go! Here’s an example of how it should be done.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Whenever possible focus on doing between fifteen and thirty minutes of intense punching per session.
As you go on you’ll notice that your endurance strength and speed will increase, making the entire workout much easier to finish.
If punching a bag isn’t for you then weights are another great way to get fit—these can be anything from dumbbells to kettlebells or even heavy medicine balls.
As a bonus, weight training is also one of the best ways to lose weight and tone your body so that you’re in shape even if you want to build more muscle mass.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? It’s important to have good form before you start getting too strong—anyone can learn to squat or bench press, but it’s another story when you need to do dozens of repetitions.
Try to keep the amount that you lift at a steady rate for as long as possible, and always use good posture so that your form isn’t broken.
15. Arm Raises
These are great for targeting your upper body, but they’re also great at increasing heart rate so that you can burn even more calories before your next meal.
Using weights is also preferable since it’ll make the process simpler—you’ll just need to wear some comfortable clothing and get ready to lift!
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Try to focus on 20 repetitions per session whenever possible, but if you’re just starting out then try doing around seven.
If that’s too easy then add more weight so that your arms are burning by the time that you’ve finished—the results will be worth it!
If you want to get really strong then another great exercise is pushups. While they won’t help you deal with the same amount of weight as doing bench presses, they will teach your body to handle much more force than a regular workout would—this makes it easier for you to build muscle mass and burn calories before your next meal.
How do I get the most out of this exercise? If you’re just starting out then try doing between 15 and 25 pushups per workout, but once that becomes really easy then it’s time to add more weights—even a dumbbell will help!
This is a favorite among fitness experts because it’s easy to perform and gives you an intense workout. The best part? It doesn’t even require any weights!
All you need are comfortable clothes, good shoes, and enough room that you can comfortably step forward with your back leg. If you want something simpler then you can also do lunges while holding weights or a bar—whatever you prefer!
How do I get the most out of this exercise? Try to focus on doing between 15 and thirty repetitions per workout, but if that becomes easy then add more weight so that your body is working hard to support it.
You’ll also get a great lower body workout and can even try doing lunges while carrying your groceries or other everyday items.
18. Bicep Curls
This is another one of the best exercises for beginners—all you need are dumbbells and a place to sit down. All you have to do is lift your arm and then you lower it again—when one side gets too easy then simply switch to the other!
How do I get the most out of this exercise? When starting out you should try to focus on doing between 15 and 30 repetitions, but like before don’t be afraid to add more weight if that becomes too easy.
If you can’t afford weights then you can always do this exercise at home while watching TV!
I hope you have knowledge about which exercises burns the most calories. No matter what your workout consists of, these are great exercises that will help you get the most out of your body.
With so many different options to choose from it’s easy to see why they’re some of the favorites among fitness experts and health enthusiasts—and once you give them a try then you’ll know exactly why too!
If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about how to lose more pounds, you’ll be happy to know that I have other articles just like it.