These Exercises Burn the Most Calories, According to Science

An exercise researcher at Louisiana State University, Dr. Tim Church, has found that people burn more calories when they engage more muscles and work them harder. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is particularly effective at burning a lot of calories in a short time. Unfortunately, many people are reluctant to engage in such high-intensity training. John Porcari, professor at the University of Wisconsin, says this is OK and that people will get better results if they exercise at their comfort level. Church concurs, saying that in the end, the most effective workout is “the one you actually do.”

Men and women exercise in an effort to burn calories
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Fans of HIIT workouts say that one of the biggest benefits is that they can be done anywhere and with little equipment, removing the burden of having to join a gym or buying a ton of fancy equipment. Some examples of HIIT exercises include butt kicks, jumping lunges, burpees (everyone’s favorite!), jump squats, mountain climbers, forearm planks, and alternating side lunges. These are typically completed in two to three sets of each move, which are done for 30 seconds to a minute each before moving on. There are tons of online resources to help you get started, and it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.