Skip to main content

Exercises That Burn the Most Calories per Minute

I can still fit into clothes I wore 20 years ago. If my clothes get too tight or I can't fit into my summer clothes I quickly lose the fat.

Group of people running.

Group of people running.

Burning Calories

When you exercise the number of calories you burn mostly depends on a number of factors:

  • Type of exercise
  • Body weight
  • Intensity
  • Duration

Start with the duration of the exercise. Short workouts can be more intense allowing you to burn calories faster. You should be able to get a good workout in 10 minutes.

Some exercises can burn calories a lot faster than others. You may be burning 40 calories or less in 10 minutes when you could have burned over 100 with the same amount of effort. So picking the right exercise is very important.

Burning 10 calories a minute is pretty good for someone that is around 130 pounds. For a 150 pound person, 12 calories per minute is good. It is fairly easy to pick good exercises when you want to increase the size of your bicep muscles or increase your endurance so you can bike long distances. It is not as easy to pick out good exercises when your goal is to burn calories.

Having a list of exercises that can burn at least 9 calories per minute helps. Another way is to use the characteristics of the exercise. Exercises that can burn over 9 calories per minute have things in common.

Some Great Calorie Burning Excercises

Multiply the energy expenditure by your weight to calculate the approximate number of calories you can burn per minute with vigorous exercise. Add extra weight to burn more. The figures are approximate estimates.

ExerciseEnergy ExpenditureCalories Per Minute(130 lbs)Calories Per Minute(160 lbs)





Exercise Bike




Mountain Climbers




Step Ups




Jump Rope








Jumping Jacks








Rowing Machine




Push Ups








Common Traits

All the exercises in the list work all or most of your large muscles. The largest muscles include your glutes quads, calves, back, chest, and abs. Exercises that work a bunch of different muscles are referred to as compound exercises. Another thing they have in common is that they are cardio exercises. They get your heart rate up and cause you to breath heavy.

High intensity cardio requires a combination of strength and speed. Strength and speed equals power. Exercises like push ups become cardio exercises when they are done at a fast pace. One more thing they have in common is that they are continuous. There is no rest until the set is over.

To pick a good cardio burning exercise for a short workout start by making sure the exercise can be done as a cardio exercise and that it works most or all of the larger muscles. Make sure you can do each rep quickly with very little thought and that there is always some resistance. Then try it out yourself.

The plank exercise works a lot of muscles but it lacks the fast movement. So it does not burn as many calories as push ups. Shadow boxing is not continuous so it does not burn as many calories as jumping rope.

10 Minute Workout

When doing an intense workout 10 minutes can feel like a long time. You could do one exercise for 10 minutes but frequently changing the exercise makes it easier to keep the intensity up. I recommend doing circuits most of the time.

Make a list of exercises and switch from one exercise to the next. One to two minutes per exercise is a good time interval. When switching from one exercise to the next do it as quickly as possible. To burn more calories I did a 10 minute workout in the morning, before supper and after supper.

There are two good reasons to do short workouts more than once a day. The first is that the number of calories you can burning during a 10 minute workout is very limited. The second reason is that intense cardio workouts speed up your metabolism causing you to burn calories at a faster rate for hours after you stopped exercising.

Short workouts should be mixed with longer more relaxing workouts. It is easier to burn a lot of calories with a long workout and long workouts can be more enjoyable. Also less intense workouts are not as hard on your body. I can burn calories going for a relaxing bike ride, walking in the woods, playing games or jogging while I watch TV.

Mountain Climbers

To do mountain climbers, get into the raised push-up position and bring your right foot towards your right hand. Your hands should be slightly ahead of you and your right knee should be near your chest. Jump back with your right leg and straighten it while bringing your left leg forward. Then jump back with your left leg while bringing your right leg forward.

Continue alternating legs at a fast pace. Both feet should be off the floor at the same time. If I do 30 reps I burn around 30 calories.

Step Ups

When you walk up a set of stairs or step onto a chair you are stepping up. For the step up exercises you take one step forward and one step back. Step up onto the step leading with your right foot. Briefly stand on step then step down leading with your left foot. You are pulling yourself up and pulling yourself back down using your leg muscles. Continue to lead with your right leg for half the set then switch to leading with your left.

The step can be low like a stair step or as high like a chair. For fat loss I recommend using a step that is at least as high as the second step on a set of stairs. Depending on what you are using you can also step sideways or backwards. I hold onto a pair of dumbbells or wear a heavy backpack while doing step ups for a better workout.


Burpees combine squats, push ups and jumping. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down, place your hands on the floor and jump your feet out behind you to get into the push up position. Do one push up. Jump your feet forward so they are back in the starting position. Then jump up raising your arms over your head to complete one rep. This exercise can be done while holding onto a pair of dumbbells or while wearing a weight belt or backpack.

60 Minute Workouts

People can run, bike, row, paddle or use an elliptical trainer for hours. I biked 37 miles. Start with an intense 10 minutes workout. Then focus on increasing your endurance. Go a little farther or last a little longer every time.

Do it as a weekly exercise. After 8 to 10 workouts you will be able to do a long workout at fairly fast pace. Sprint some of the time or go at a steady pace. Longer workouts are more addictive and more practical than short workouts. When you increase your endurance you can go for a hike, row across a lake or bike to a park.

You should only need to do an intense 60 minute workout once or twice a week. Easy exercises like playing Wii golf for an hour can be done as a daily exercise. Do long workouts when you have more time. When you are in a hurry do short workouts.

If you increase the duration of the workouts you could burn over 1,000 calories.

If you increase the duration of the workouts you could burn over 1,000 calories.

Building Lean Muscle

Exercises that build the most muscle work most of the larger muscles. Just like the exercises that burn the most calories. For me the exercise that built the most muscle was riding a bike to slim down for beach season. Cyclists tend to be lean, but they also have large leg muscles and strong abs.

If you focus on increasing the speed, resistance or duration then your body is going to adapt by building muscle. You exercise to burn calories. Your body adapts by building muscle. Then you can burn more calories and lose more fat. That is how I was able to burn 1,400 calories in one workout.

Exercising to burn calories can build muscle.

Exercising to burn calories can build muscle.

Will I Lose Weight?

Intense cardio burns calories and builds muscle. It can also increase your appetite. You only lose weight if your fat weight decreases more than your muscle weight increases. While exercising to burn as many calories as possible I gained 15 pounds, but it looked like I lost weight.

The exercise routines that burn the most calories per minute are great for losing inches of fat. If you are only 20–30 pounds overweight then your bodyweight may increase or stay the same. You could be building muscle and losing fat at the same time.

Expect to get fit. Don't expect to lose a lot of weight while you are improving your strength and endurance. For me the best exercises for losing fat were the best for building muscle. If you don't want to be lean, strong, and muscular like an athlete, avoid intense cardio workouts.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Are jumping jacks and mountain climbers enough to lose weight?

Answer: Jumping jacks and mountain climbers might be enough to lose weight. I don't know if they will be enough because I don't have enough information. The best way to find out is to do the exercises. I know that biking to the beach was enough to lose a lot of fat because I biked to the beach. If you lose weight then it was enough. If it does not work then I recommend adding some more exercises. You would probably need to do cardio for at least 3 hours a week to lose weight.

When your workout routine is enough to lose weight you should be losing weight every week. A good goal is 1 pound a week.

© 2013 Michael H


Give Up on December 17, 2017:

So many pages say so many different exercises. I think nobody holds credibility. Best thing experiment all of them and see what gives you the best outcome. All these webpages should not be taken as fact. Maybe a point in a direction but definitely not fact. I welcome the negative comments but when you start training, you will get my point.

frason on February 07, 2017:

Thanks for update the nice information. Today many of them are not interested to doing the exercise and they don't know the right method. You are simply mention the exercise and how it burning the calories in our body. My suggestion is doing simple exercise is giving the good results to our body. Early morning walking is really good for our body health. It is really reduce my body weight and also increase my body health conditions.

Kathy Henderson from Pa on November 05, 2013:

Love your hub well put together ~ thanks

Dil Vil from India on November 05, 2013:

Great hub. It is useful and informative. Thank you for sharing.