5 Bodyweight Exercises Which Burn the Most Calories

Trying to drop a few pounds is a venture that almost everyone has undergone at one time or another. 

Moreover, if you happen to be a member of the aforementioned group, then you already likely know just how difficult this task can be. 

There are so many factors that need to be monitored when trying to lose a little weight, and for some people, this can just become overwhelming. 

However, there is a solution to this all-too-common problem, and that is just adding in a few of the highest calorie-burning exercises into your routine. 

This will not only allow you to lose weight quicker and easier, but it will also give you a little more lee-way when trying to keep your diet in check – something which can seem like a godsend if you are struggling. 

In this article, we will be telling you about the top 5 bodyweight exercises that burn the most calories, as well as diving into a few other factors which can make your weight loss journey just that little bit easier.

What Actually Makes an Exercise Burn More Calories? 

There are a variety of factors that contribute to how many calories are burned during a workout. 

For one, exercises that manage to keep your heart rate up better than others almost always burn more calories, and this is just due to the fact that your body has to provide you with more energy to facilitate the taxing workout. 

The second most notable factor when it comes to which exercises are able to burn more calories is how many/which muscles they are able to incorporate into said exercise. The more muscles used at once, the more calories burned. 

Moreover, exercises that are able to incorporate the legs usually end up burning an extraordinary number of calories, and this is because the leg muscles are the largest and require the most energy to function under stress. 

So, factoring in all of the different factors above, we can begin to conjure up why some exercises may be better than others. For example, even though push-ups may be an extremely taxing exercise, due to the fact that it doesn’t incorporate the legs, even a mild exercise like jogging would be much more efficient when it comes to burning calories. 

However, not all exercises that burn the most calories are created equal, and even though some exercises may burn more calories than others, we may not have included them on this list. 

To give a practical example as to why this is the case, water polo is one of the highest calories burning exercises there is out there. Although, we chose not to include it on this list, and this is due to the fact that it is just not realistic for most people to go to a pool every day or every other day. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the topic of the hour and take a look at the 5 best bodyweight exercises that burn the most calories.

#1 HIIT Sprinting

Man sprinting at a track

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) involves performing exercises with a quick burst of super high energy, followed by a short break. 

This form of training is the most efficient way of keeping your heart rate up, and as we mentioned earlier, this is integral to burning a mind-boggling number of calories in a short period of time. 

There have been studies showing that HIIT burns over 1000 calories per hour, and when it comes to efficient exercises, there is really no better exercise out there than HIIT sprinting. 

Of course, HIIT sprinting is extremely taxing, and it is highly unlikely that you would be able to perform this level of intensity for an extended length of time. 

However, if you are just looking to burn the highest number of calories in the quickest amount of time, then HIIT sprinting is king. 

#2 Skipping

Man skipping

Skipping is the favourite exercise choice for many. 

Luckily, it also happens to be one of the most effective when it comes to burning calories. 

Many people prefer skipping to other types of exercise as it has a more fun feeling to it, and if you happen to be one of said people, then you have one of the most efficient exercises ever in your hands. 

#3 Burpees

Illustration steps of how to perform a burpee

Burpees is well known for being an incredibly taxing exercise, and there is a good reason why.

Burpees is one of the few exercises that manages to utilise almost every muscle in the body, and not only will you burn a ton of calories while performing this one, but you may also even build a bit of muscle. 

If you have never heard of burpees before; burpees are a mix between a push-up and a jump squat. You start standing up, drop down into the push-up position, perform a push-up, explode up into a jump, and finally, repeat the whole process again. 

It’s no wonder why, burpees burn about 10 calories every minute, and there are few exercises out there that can stand up to this prison yard favourite. 

#4 Jump Squats

Woman performing jumping squats

Similar to our previous entry, jump squats use a wide range of muscles, albeit mainly centred around the legs. 

However, unlike the burpee which chooses to utilise the upper body too, jump squats take the most efficient route by only focusing on the muscle group with the most bang for their buck. 

You can find this out for yourself; try and do jump squats for just one minute. You will quickly come to see why this is one of the most effective exercises out there for burning calories. 

#5 Cycling

Stationary bikes at the gym

Cycling is a favourite among many, and this is just due to the fact that it is one of the few exercises on this list that you can perform while sitting down. 

You can even use a stationary bike and watch TV or the latest Netflix series while biking if you so desire, all the while burning a ton of calories in the process. 

The average person will burn 400 – 800 calories per hour while biking. Not so bad for just sitting down, right? 

Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Lose Weight

Now that we have been over which exercises burn the most calories and why we can now go on to talk about a few of the most common mistakes people make while trying to lose weight. 

In reality, losing weight is a simple process. The only piece of information you need to know is that in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. 

Although, you probably already know this. 

One of the most common mistakes the vast majority of people tend to make is focusing too much on exercise and too little on diet. 

Let me let you in on a little industry secret; you do not even need to exercise in order to lose weight. 

That’s right, as long as you eat under maintenance calories, you will not need to do one second of exercise. 

However, most people tend to neglect this, and instead, choose to try and burn as many calories as possible through exercise while eating anything and everything they see.

Moreover, for the majority of people, this just won’t work. You would be surprised as to how many calories people consume every day without realising, and no amount of exercise is going to solve this problem in the long term. 

Alternatively, another common mistake people make is exercising too much while also being in a severe calorie deficit. Not only is this terribly unhealthy, but it is also incredibly inefficient when it comes to losing weight. 

So, factoring in all the information we stated above, the best way to healthily lose weight would be a combination of both diet and exercise, albeit not too much of either. 

A calorie deficit of 250-500 is the sweet spot for losing weight, and pair that with some of the exercises we told you about within this article, and you will be well on your way to getting that dream body. 


All-in-all, if you happen to incorporate any of the exercises we mentioned into your routine, you will find that losing weight will be a much easier endeavour than you previously thought it was. 

It can be a horrible experience when you try your absolute hardest to shed a few pounds, only to not see the scale go down by a single pound. 

However, if this does sound like you, there is good news. 

It is highly likely that you have been making one or more of the mistakes we mentioned within this article, and once you set these issues straight, you will find yourself busting through your plateau with next to no resistance. 

Have fun.

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