Squats and lunges are popular exercises for strengthening your lower-body muscles, especially your glutes. In fact, when the American Council on Exercise polled its certified fitness professionals, squats were the most popular exercise for strengthening the glutes, with lunges coming in second. These weight-training staples, however, can also help you burn calories and reach your weight-loss goals.
According to FitClick.com, a 150-pound person will burn 51 calories doing 10 minutes of squats and 68 calories doing 10 minutes of forward lunges. Considering 1 pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, you'll have to do more than eight hours of lunges or more than 11 hours of squats to lose 1 pound. That's comparable to using an elliptical trainer, which burns 57 calories in 10 minutes, but with squats and lunges you'll get a much more intense strength workout for your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles.
Increasing Calorie Burn
You can boost your calorie burn by increasing the intensity of your squats or lunges. One way to increase intensity is to add weights by carrying either dumbbells or barbells. FitClick.com estimates that you'll increase your 10-minute calorie burn for squats from 51 to 79 calories by adding weights and your lunges will go from burning 68 calories to 85 calories with weights. You can also increase intensity by doing plyometric lunges and squats. Performing intervals of jumping lunges and squats can more than double your calorie burn. According to a study presented at the May 2013 American College of Sports Medicine annual conference, performing short intervals of high-intensity exercises, including jump squats, can burn approximately 13.5 calories per minute.
Online calorie calculators can only give you estimates of the calories you will burn doing an exercise. There are many personal factors that determine exactly how many calories you burn. Men, for instance, generally burn more calories than women. You'll also burn more calories if you have a higher body-fat percentage or are a new exerciser because your body will be more challenged during the exercise than someone who's fit. Use online calorie calculators as a general rule, but if you're looking for more precise calorie counts, try wearing a personal heart-rate monitor.
When performing squats and lunges, always focus on maintaining proper form, especially when carrying weights. Stop exercise immediately if you find yourself straining or sacrificing your form. To avoid back pain or injury, keep your head facing forward, your back neutral and your shoulders back and in line with your hips for both exercises. To avoid knee injuries, keep your knees aligned with your toes, and when lunging avoid pushing your forward knee beyond the front of your foot.
- American Council on Exercise: American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Professionals Say Do More Squats, Lunges.
- Fitclick.com: How Many Calories Burned
- ExRx.net: Exercise Menu: Gluteus Maximus
- Self.com: The New Science Behind Tabata Training, the Four-Minute Wonder Workout
- American Council on Exercise: Are the calorie counts on exercise machines accurate?
- Harvard Medical School: Strengthening Your core: Right and Wrong Ways to Do Lunges, Squats, and Planks
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