What Exercise Burns the Most Calories?

If you are looking to use exercise to help burn calories, then you have come to the right place. There are many great exercises or sports you can use, but we have done the research for you to help you understand what exercise burns the most calories.

Before we get into the detail, it is important to note that the exact number of calories you burn with any type of exercise depends on a few variables, including:

  • Duration
  • Intensity
  • Your current weight
  • The environment in which you exercise

To give you a fair representation, we look at each exercise and sport from a ‘calories burnt per hour’ perspective and split this out into a range of starting weights so you can consider the calorie burn closest to your personal circumstances.

We also assume the same level of ‘average’ intensity for each sport. If you work yourself harder you will burn more calories, if you are lazy with it you will burn less.


The Exercises that Burn the Most Calories


Table shows estimated number of calories burned per hour for constant exercise.

Exercise Your Bodyweight
60kg (132lbs) 70kg (154lbs) 80kg (176lbs) 90kg (198lbs) 100kg (220lbs)
Cross Fit 738 861 984 1107 1230
High Intensity Training 720 840 960 1080 1200
Running (10 minute mile) 718 838 957 1077 1197
Jump Rope (100 jumps p/m) 712 831 949 1068 1187
Squash (Raquetball) 702 819 936 1053 1170
Soccer (full pitch) 674 786 899 1011 1123
Kickboxing 620 723 827 930 1033
Tennis (singles) 614 716 819 921 1023
American Football 610 712 813 915 1017
Basketball (full court) 580 677 773 870 967
Climbing Stairs (60 p/m) 578 674 771 867 963
Swimming 542 632 723 813 903
Circuit Training 540 630 720 810 900
Jumping Jacks 538 628 717 807 897
Cycling (6 minute mile) 505 589 673 758 842
Calisthenics 502 586 669 753 837
Rowing Machine (150 watts) 480 560 640 720 800
Hiking 476 555 635 714 793
Push Ups 420 490 560 630 700
Jogging (15 minute mile) 404 471 539 606 673
Squats 402 469 536 603 670


Which Exercise Should You Use to Burn Calories?

The answer to this is not as simple as picking the top of the list in the table above. There are a number of factors that will affect how many calories you lose in reality. These include:

  • How feasible each exercise is for you
  • Whether you have access to these activities
  • How long you can maintain each exercise for
  • How much you enjoy each exercise
  • The environment that you exercise under (heat/humidity etc.)

It is unlikely for example that you will be able to maintain jump rope, climbing stairs or push ups non-stop for 1 hour, however you may be able to run or play soccer for an hour, particularly if this is an activity that you enjoy.

So how do you decide which exercise to use to burn calories? Well first of all, doing any of these exercises is better than not doing any. Being active on a consistent basis is the key to burning calories in the long run, particularly if used for weight management.

Our recommendation when picking an exercise is to go with the ones that you enjoy the most. It’s healthy to have a variety so you don’t need to stick to just one.

Variety will stop you getting bored and you keep your body on its toes. Try taking up at least two or three and ideally make sufficient time for them each week.

Enjoyment is more likely to lead to consistency and team activities also give you social benefits, the importance of which shouldn’t be underestimated.


Resources for Each Calorie Burning Exercise

We like to make things easier for you, so we have put together a list of resources for most of the listed exercise and sports that might be useful for you to know.


CrossFit Resources

For information about Cross Fit and help finding an affiliate visit this site.

For a good video introduction to CrossFit follow this link

For Cross fit inspiration check out Rich Froning and Sam Briggs


HIIT Training Resources

To understand exactly what HIIT training is visit here and also this wiki page

Try testing yourself with this brutal HIIT ladder workout

For high intensity inspiration and workouts take a look at hittburn


Running Resources

For a wealth of information about running, visit Runners World

For forums, training logs and information about races visit Fetch Everyone

A great online magazine is Ultra Running

For running challenges and competitions take a look at Konkura

For running inspiration look at instarunners


Jump Rope Resources

For a great beginner’s video follow this link

For jump rope inspiration check out officialjumpropedudes

To see what advanced jump rope can look like then check this video out


Squash Resources

The official site of the World Squash Federation is worldsquash.org

To find your local squash league visit squashleagues.org

For the Professional Squash Association and the PSA World Tour its psaworldtour.com and for inspiration check out their Instagram page psaworldtour


Football (soccer) Resources

For global information on the world of football, start with FIFA’s website

To play amateur soccer in the UAE, join a club or to book a pitch the best site is dubaifootball.com

To help hone your football skills look at this 5 basic football skills to learn video

You are spoilt for choice for football inspiration, but one of our favorite football Instagram pages is soccerbible.

You also can’t go wrong with the Instagram profile’s of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi


Kickboxing Resources

The global governing body for kickboxing is WAKO

For information about kickboxing in UAE start with the Muay Thai and kickboxing federation

For a video on the basic principles of kickboxing follow this kickboxing video link

For a great kickboxing workout, watch this 30 minute cardio kickboxing workout video

For kickboxing inspiration check out glorykickboxing


Tennis Resources

The global governing body is the International Tennis Federation

The official site of men’s professional tennis is atptour.com

To look for tennis partners, leagues and tournaments look at globaltennisnetwork.com

Watch this great beginner’s tennis video

For inspiration from a tennis legend look at Roger Federer’s Instagram


American Football Resources

The governing body for American Football is IFAF

The professional league is the NFL

For a beginner’s guide to the rules of American Football you can look at this American Football video

To play American Football in the UAE, start by visiting the website of the Emirates American Football League

For inspiration visit the Instagram profiles of Tom Brady and Odell Beckham Jr


Basketball Resources

The world governing body for basketball is FIBA

The national league in the US is the NBA

For basketball in the UAE visit basketballhubdubai.com

For a great video on beginner’s basketball drills, follow this basketball video link

For inspiration take a look at the Instagram pages of Hoops Nation and LeBron James


Stair Climbing Resources

For a popular stairs workouts, look at this savage stair workout video 

Also try the workout on this stair workout video

A website that is dedicated to stair climbing is teamstariclimb.com


Swimming Resources

The global governing body for swimming is FINA

For swimming in the UAE look at the UAE Swimming Federation

You can find a good video for tips to improve your swimming on this swimming video link

For swimming inspiration check out Swimming World Mag and MySwimPro


Circuit Training Resources

For information about exactly what circuit training is, visit the circuit training wiki page

To get you started, check out this example 20 minute circuit workout

For inspiration and ideas look at thedesailifestyle and curtiswilliams17


Jumping Jacks Resources

For a quick video that shows the correct technique to perform jumping jack look at this jumping jacks video

Here is another jumping jacks video with tips from a physiotherapist


Cycling Resources

The world governing body of cycling is the UCI

You can find information about the UAE National Road Cycling Championship here

This is the site for the first UAE world cycling team

For a list of cycling tracks in the UAE visit this page on the RTA website

This is a video to help you avoid common cycling mistakes

For inspiration, take a look at behindhandlebars


Calisthenics Resources

For a wealth of information look at the World Calisthenics Organization

Another great calisthenics organization is the World Street Workout and Calisthenics Federation

A good place for learning calisthenics in Dubai is the Gravity Calisthenics Gym

For great workout videos and inspiration look at the Calisthenic Kingz website and also the calisthenicsking Instagram page


Rowing Machine Resources

For information about indoor rowing check out this page on worldrowing.com

To buy a rowing machine in the UAE you can look at Aerofit and Active Fitness Store

Follow this link for a video on how to use a rowing machine

Here is a great beginners rowing workout video


Hiking Resources

A great all-round hiking resource is AllTrails

Here is a link to 5 hiking trails to try in the UAE

This is a useful list of essentials you should take for hiking

For great hiking inspiration, check out hikingbangers Instagram


Push Up Resources

Watch this video to learn how to do the perfect push up

To learn 30 different types of push ups watch this video on 30 push up variations

For more inspirations, check out madbarz on Instagram


Squats Resources

For great beginner’s advice watch this video on how to do a squat correctly

Here is a solid leg workout without weights

If you are more interested in squatting with weights then watch this video on how to squat with perfect technique

Another alternative is this video on how to squat properly


We hope you have found this post on what exercise burns the most calories helpful. For a holistic view on wellness you can also visit our main wellness blog which is full of more information and resources.

As always, we welcome your comments and questions using our box below.

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