How many calories does high knee run burn?

The high knee run is a popular exercise used by runners, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts to build leg strength and cardiovascular endurance. As an aerobic exercise, the high knee running motion burns calories and helps support weight loss goals. But how many calories does this exercise really burn?

In the opening paragraphs, we’ll provide some quick answers to key questions on calorie burn and the benefits of the high knee run:

– For a 125 pound person, high knee running burns approximately 10 calories per minute. For a 185 pound person, around 14 calories per minute are burned.

– High knee running can burn 200-300 calories in a 20-30 minute session at a moderate pace.

– Calories burned will vary based on the person’s weight, intensity level, and duration of the high knee run workout.

– High knee running is considered a high impact exercise. Other benefits include building leg and core strength.

– High knee drills are often used for athletic training to improve speed, power, and vertical leap.

Calorie Burn Factors

When estimating calorie expenditure for any exercise, there are several key factors that come into play:

Body Weight

Heavier individuals burn more calories performing the same exercise for the same duration as lighter individuals. This is because a heavier body requires more energy to move and sustain. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), a 125 pound person will burn around 10 calories per minute during a high knee run. For a 185 pound person, the burn rate is approximately 14 calories per minute.

Intensity Level

The intensity of the high knee motion determines energy expenditure. Powering through an intense sprint interval high knee drill will burn more calories than a moderate jogging pace. The amount of vertical height and speed of the knee lifts should increase alongside intensity.


Total calories burned will increase alongside the duration of the high knee run. High intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts with high knee bursts may last 20-30 minutes. Long steady runs may include high knees for 60 minutes or more. The longer the workout, the greater the calorie expenditure.

Running Speed

Faster sprints and running paces burn more calories per minute than slower jogging speeds. Increasing running speed requires more power and effort, upping energy requirements.

Fitness Level

Individuals with higher cardiovascular fitness levels and more lean muscle mass tend to burn more calories during exercise. As fitness improves, the body becomes more efficient, so calories burned may eventually decrease at the same intensity.

Terrain and Surface

Running high knees outdoors on grass or trails requires more effort than indoor surfaces like tracks or treadmills. The terrain impacts the difficulty level and calories expended.

Environmental Factors

Warmer environments and high humidity increase perspiration and heart rates, which causes the body to work harder and burn extra calories. Colder temperatures have the opposite effect.

Calorie Burn Estimates

Taking all of these factors into account, the table below provides estimates for calories burned during high knee running based on weight and duration:

Weight (lbs) 20 minutes 30 minutes 45 minutes 60 minutes
125 200 300 450 600
155 240 360 540 720
185 280 420 630 840

As shown, a 125 pound person can expect to burn around 200 calories performing high knee running for 20 minutes. In a vigorous 45 minute workout, they’ll expend about 450 calories. For heavier individuals at 155-185 pounds, calories burned increase to between 240-280 calories for a 20 minute workout up to 540-840 calories for an hour long run.

High Knee Running vs. Jogging

Compared to regular jogging at the same speed, high knee running burns extra calories. This is because:

– The exaggerated knee lifts require more exertion from the hip flexors and quads. More muscle groups are engaged.

– Maintaining proper form and vertical height on the knee lifts demands increased effort and energy.

– The impact from landing with each knee lift is greater than with jogging.

– More muscular force is needed to propel the body upward with each knee lift.

– High knees use the anaerobic system more than jogging, causing quicker fatigue and increased calorie burn.

– Arm drive must be exaggerated during high knees to counterbalance the leg movements.

While the differences will depend on the individual’s workout intensities, high knee running generally burns 20-40% more calories per minute compared to jogging at the same speed.

Weight Loss Benefits

Along with burning extra calories, high knee running can provide other weight loss benefits:

– The aerobic nature of high knees improves cardiovascular fitness for better fat burning during activity.

– Developing more muscle tone from knee lifts helps to raise resting metabolism.

– Interval training with high knees combines cardio and resistance training for maximum calorie expenditure.

– High knees burn calories after the workout during excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

– Sprinting high knees taps into fast twitch muscle fibers that are less easily fatigued.

– Varied routines with high knee runs prevent plateaus in calorie burn and weight loss.

To maximize weight loss from high knee training, it’s important combine the exercise with a healthy diet plan putting the body in a caloric deficit.

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn

Here are some tips to burn the most calories during high knee running:

– Increase high knee height and running speed to engage more muscles.

– Maintain proper upright form and posture throughout the motion.

– Pump arms powerfully from shoulders to maximize exertion.

– Progress from jogging to sprinting as fitness level improves.

– Perform intervals alternating between high knees and recovery.

– Include uphill sprints using stairs or bleachers.

– Vary surfaces like grass, sand, trails to increase difficulty.

– Opt for minimalist shoes to challenge muscles more.

– Stay hydrated before, during, and after high knee sessions.

Sample High Knee Running Workouts

Here are two sample high knee running workouts with estimates of total calories burned:

Beginner HIIT Workout

– 5 minute warm up jog
– 30 seconds high knees (125 lbs – 25 cals, 155 lbs – 30 cals, 185 lbs – 35 cals)
– 60 seconds recovery walk
– Repeat interval 5x (Total high knee cals: 125-150, 155-180, 185-210)
– 5 minute cool down jog
– Total: 20 minutes
– Total Calories: 125 lbs – 200, 155 lbs – 240, 185 lbs – 280

Intermediate 45 Minute Workout

– 10 minute warmup jog
– 90 seconds high knees up bleachers (125 lbs – 38 cals, 155 lbs – 45 cals, 185 lbs – 53 cals)
– 60 seconds recovery walk
– Repeat interval 5x (Total high knee cals: 125-225, 155-270, 185-315)
– 5 minutes moderate jog
– 60 seconds high knees on grass field (125 lbs – 17 cals, 155 lbs – 20 cals, 185 lbs – 23 cals)
– 45 seconds recovery walk
– Repeat interval 5x (Total high knee cals: 125-100, 155 lbs – 120, 185 lbs – 140)
– 10 minute cool down jog
– Total: 45 minutes
– Total Calories: 125 lbs – 450, 155 lbs – 540, 185 lbs – 630

The Takeaway

In summary, high knee running is an excellent exercise to elevate heart rate, engage the lower body, and burn extra calories. Calories burned will range from 200 to over 800 in a workout, depending on the person’s weight and exercise duration. Following high knee running routines two or three days a week, along with a proper nutrition plan, can help support weight loss goals and boost fitness levels.

Leave a Comment