Exercising has a range of different purposes, and one of them is, of course, weight loss. It's everywhere, and one of the burning questions that are asked daily is which exercises burn the most calories. It's a tough one to answer, but there are some things you can look at to help solve.

Realistically, burning calories has so many variables that there is no one specific answer. Some studies suggest one thing and are then disproven by another. With this in mind, we’ll keep things brief and take a look at some of the heavy hitters.


Woman running outdoors

First of all, running is one of the best there are. It's not surprising, especially if you've ever tried it for a long period of time. Running uses pretty much your whole body, mostly your legs of course, and uses a really powerful explosive contraction every time you take a step. It raises your heart rate massively, depending on what you choose to do, and you can change things up to make sure that you're working out in a way that works best for your needs. Awesome.


Woman boxing in a ring

Boxing is another exercise that's up there with the best of the best. Almost anything that you're doing in boxing, whether you're training with a heavy bag or going toe to toe with someone in the ring, uses almost every muscle group in your body at some point. It's a combination of things that are great for weight loss. This is one of the best reasons that it's in the list, and if you can stick it out for long enough, it will definitely be up there with the highest calorie burners!


Man skipping outdoors

Although you might think of it as boxing training, it doesn’t have to be. Skipping doesn’t get the attention that it deserves a lot of the time, because it’s actually one of the most efficient exercise out there. It uses more muscles than jogging does, which is reason enough for it to be up with the highest calorie burners. Even a workout like ours here is a good place to start!


Class of people doing burpees

If you want a real challenge, then burpees are the right fit for you. There is very little chance that you can do a burpee workout for as long as you can with the other exercises on the list, but because of how demanding they are, they're one of the huge calorie burners. Every different movement involved in a burpee is an explosive power movement that has a huge impact on your muscles. You really have to put in the work, but it pays off! (here are our 7 favourite burpees for a full body workout if you feel like giving it a try)

Assault Bike

woman using an assault bike in a gym

Last but not least in our highest calorie burners exercises is the assault bike. Cycling, in general, is an awesome cardiovascular exercise, but an assault bike takes things to a whole other level. The assault bike has varying resistance, and a lot of time it increases the harder you pedal. This and the use of the handles mean that is it's a hard-core workout. You’re using your whole body and a high resistance cardio exercise. It’s got to be on the list.


So now that we know what the big hitters are, it’s a good time to mention what makes them the big hitters, and what factors you need to take into consideration before you decide what to do in your next workout. When it comes to burning calories and losing weight, these are always vital pillars of your progress.


First up, your weight. The more you weigh, the more work your body has to do to get you moving and keep it going. It does make sense. As a result, the more that you weigh, the more calories you'll burn from any exercise. Keep that in mind before you try anything. (Being lighter also makes the work easier though, so swings and roundabouts…)


This should go without saying, but it does need to be noted. How hard you choose to exercise has a massive effect on the number of calories that you’ll burn. Going for a 10-minute jog does not have the same effect as a 10-minute all-out sprint, even if you take breaks. HIIT workouts are the highest burners, but it might not be the right thing for you. Experiment and see what works for you!


Next up, frequency. How often you can do the exercise is, of course, going to have a huge impact on your calorie burn both per day and per week. If you're only doing one huge burpee workout per week for example because of how hard it is, that's not going to have the same effect as using your assault bike for 20 minutes 3 times a week. You need to find the right balance!


Last, but not in any way shape or form least, is time. The time that you dedicate to doing each exercise has a massive toll on your results. You're better off choosing something that you can do for a longer period of time over something that is going to kill you in 5 minutes. It’s all about personal ability and what you enjoy doing


There’s no single exercise that is going to work for you all the time. Everyone is different. The best thing that you can do is to find something that isn’t going to be an absolute chore that you hate doing. You need to do something you like if you’re going to keep it up in the long run, and if one of these is that, then great. If not, don’t worry! Whatever you can manage is a step in the right direction.



Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.