The most reliable way to calculate energy expenditure during exercise, outside of a human calorimeter, is to measure the oxygen consumed during the exercise. That requires special equipment and training. Plus, oxygen consumption has to be measured for each separate exercise. That’s exactly what exercise physiologists have been doing for years. They regularly publish their findings. The best of their research has been compiled and can be used to identify the exercises that burn the most calories.

What follows are two lists of the 12 most popular exercises, with the number of calories burned by each exercise. IHRSA, the fitness industry’s leading trade association, created the lists of popular exercises, each of which is underlined. I have added some exercises that are commonly done in gyms; those exercises are not underlined. The calorie-burn values given here presume that each of the exercises is performed at a moderate intensity.

Exercises that burn the most calories for men

exercises the burn the most calories

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that the average man in the US stands 69.2 inches and weighs 195.7 pounds. According to the US Census, the median age is 36.1 years. We used that data to calculate the values below.

Here is the list of popular exercises that burn the most calories for men:

Stair mill, 16.3 cal/min

Treadmill running, 14.6 cal/min

Gym classes, 14.1 cal/min

Rowing, 12.6 cal/min

Stationary cycling, 12.3 cal/min

General gym exercise, 9.9 cal/min

Kettle-bell training, 9 cal/min

Barbell training, 9 cal/ min

Dumbbell training, 9 cal/min

Strength machines, 9 cal/min

Aerobic cross-training machine exercise, 9 cal/min

Elliptical machine exercise, 9 cal/min

Calisthenics, 6.9 cal/min

Light-weight dumbbells, 6.3 cal/min

Ab machine exercise, 5.4 cal/min

Exercises that burn the most calories for women

exercises that burn the most calories

The CDC says that the average woman in the US stands 63.7 inches, weighs 168.5 pounds. According to the US Census, the median age is 38.5 years.

Here is the list of popular exercises that burn the most calories for women:

Stair mill, 15.4 cal/min

Gym classes, 13.3 cal/min

Treadmill running, 12.6 cal/min

Rowing, 12.0 cal/min

Stationary cycling, 11.6 cal/min

General gym exercise, 9.4 cal/min

Elliptical machine exercise, 8.6 cal/min

Kettle-bell training, 8.6 cal/min

Barbell training, 8.6 cal/ min

Dumbbell training, 8.6 cal/min

Strength machines, 8.6 cal/min

Aerobic cross-training machine exercise, 7.8 cal/min

Calisthenics, 6.5 cal/min

Light-weight dumbbells, 6.0 cal/min

Ab machine exercise, 5.1 cal/min

The Training Station Gym created a calculator that will estimate the number of calories that an individual will burn doing any exercise!