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Does Leg Day Burn More Calories? (Leg Day Calories Burned)

Leg day does burn more calories as most leg exercises are compound exercises. This means they train other body parts too and so more calories are burned. Also, your legs are the biggest muscle group which means they burn more calories when exercising.

man doing a front squat on leg day

In this article, we cover why leg day burns more calories, whether leg day is good for weight loss, the best leg exercises for weight loss, and much more!

Why Leg Day Burns More Calories

Your Leg Muscles Are The Biggest

Out of all the muscle groups trained at the gym, the leg muscles are the largest in size.

As a result, they require more energy during exercise.

Since our bodies use calories for energy, then when you train your legs, you burn more calories than if you trained a smaller muscle group.

You Train Multiple Muscles On Leg Day

On leg day, you typically do a range of compound exercises like squats and leg press.

Now, the great thing about compound exercises is that they exercise multiple muscles at once.

How awesome is that?!

So when you squat, not only do you use your leg muscles, but you use your abs and back too.

As a result, you burn more calories than if you focused on isolation exercises, like when training biceps.

How Many Calories Does Leg Day Burn?

Ultimately, this depends on what and how many exercises your do on leg day.

But for example’s sake, let’s say your leg day consists of:

  • 4 sets of squats
  • 3 sets of leg press
  • 3sets of lying leg curl
  • 3 sets of leg extensions

Then you can expect to burn around 382 calories according to The Training Room.

Does Leg Day Always Burn More Calories?

While the exercises done on leg day burn the most calories, that isn’t to say that you’re guaranteed to burn more calories on leg day.


Well, if your leg day consists of only 3 sets of leg extensions and your back day consists of 10 sets of deadlifts, then it’s obvious which one would burn the most calories.

Is Leg Day Good For Weight Loss?

The #1 factor when it comes to weight loss is a calorie deficit.

This just means you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.

So you can either increase a calorie deficit by burning more calories or consuming less calories.

Well, since leg day typically burns the most amount of calories compared to other workouts, then it’ll help you maximize your calorie deficit.

This means it’s awesome for weight loss!

Which Leg Exercises Burn The Most Calories?

The leg exercises described below are awesome for burning calories, as they’re compound exercises and so they train multiple muscle groups.

Barbell Front Squat

  1. Stand tall with your chest up, with a barbell resting on the front of your shoulders, gripping it with either your hands crossed in front of your shoulders or your elbows pointing forwards.
  2. Keeping your chest up and core braced, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
  3. Powerfully push up to return to the starting position.

(Pro tip: Ensure that your hamstrings always touch your calves, and if you find yourself going up on your toes as you go down into the squat, then elevate your heels on a pair of weight plates.)

Leg Press

  1. Sit on the leg press machine, following its instructions to position yourself safely and correctly.
  2. Release the lock, then slowly lower the platform towards you by bending your knees.
  3. Push through your heels to straighten your legs and return to the start.

(Pro tip: Never ever lock out the knees on this exercise – 90% of full leg extension is ideal. This makes it safe and more effective.)

Bodyweight Squat

bodyweight squat
  1. Straighten your arms out parallel to the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. As you squat down, keep your core tightened and push your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips back.
  3. Keep squatting until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your knees inline with your toes.
  4. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then push through your heels over the course of 5 seconds until you return to the starting position.

Box Jumps

  1. Stand in front of a box.
  2. Bend down and jump explosively up onto the box.
  3. Step back down to the starting position.

Walking Lunges

  1. Stand tall with your chest up in front of a long, clear pathway, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.
  2. Keeping your core braced, take a step forward and lunge down until both your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Push off from your back foot and lunge forward with that leg, and repeat.

(Pro tip: If the movement feels ‘off’ as you stand back up, then start this exercise with just bodyweight.)

Which Leg Exercises Burn The Least Calories?

The leg exercises described below burn the least calories, as they’re isolation exercises and so they only train your leg muscles.

Lying Leg Curls

  1. Lie on the leg curl machine, following its instructions to position yourself properly and safely.
  2. With the pad against the back of your lower calves and your toes pointing inwards, raise it up by contracting your hamstrings.
  3. Slowly return to the start.

(Pro tip: Keep your hips pushed down into the bench to maximise tension.)

Leg Extensions

  1. Sit upright on the leg extension machine, following its instructions to position yourself properly and safely.
  2. Ensure the pad sits on your shins just above your feet, then hold the side bars.
  3. Using your quads to initiate the movement, extend your legs out in front of you.
  4. Slowly return to the start.


In summary:

  • Leg day burns more calories as your leg muscles are the biggest, and many leg exercises work multiple muscle groups.
  • Your typical leg workout will burn 300 – 500 calories.
  • Squats and leg press burn more calories than leg curls and leg extensions.

That’s all for this article, but should you do Stairmaster after leg day? Or perhaps you want to learn more about leg day nausea?

Hope this helped!