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The Cardio Machines That Burn the Most Calories

The Cardio Machines That Burn the Most Calories

Don’t be confused about which machine to use when you hit the gym.

Walk into any commercial gym and you’ll find a lot of different cardio machines.

Lines of treadmills, spin bikes, ellipticals, and stairmasters are the norm and it can be difficult for beginners to know which one is best for them to use.

For anyone who’s short on time to spend in the gym, finding the highest-yielding cardio machine can mean a difference of tens to hundreds of calories in an hour of working out.

These are the machines that will burn the most calories, provided that you’re willing to put in the work.

Air Bike

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The air bike is different from a regular stationary bike in that it has two fixed handles that move back and forth as you pedal and it uses wind resistance from a fan. This resistance increases as you pedal harder, so the harder you work, the harder it gets.

The air bike (nicknamed “The Devil’s Tricycle”) gives the greatest calorie burn, with the average person potentially burning between 20 and 30 calories in a minute and as many as 300 in 20 minutes.

American personal trainer Rob MacDonald holds the current world record by burning 87 calories in a minute on an air bike.


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The rower requires almost your entire body when done properly. We’re talking roughly 80 percent of the muscles in your body being called into action and this leads to some major calorie burning.

One thing that makes the rowing machine so great is that it’s low-impact, meaning joint pain, nagging injuries, or muscle soreness aren’t much of an issue.

According to Harvard Health Publications, rowing at a moderate pace for 30 minutes burns about 210 calories for a 125-pound individual and 311 calories for a 185-pound individual. You can bump those numbers up for vigorous rowing, at 255 and 377, respectively.


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The treadmill can be considered the fallback option for many gym beginners, but don’t sleep on it. As with any machine, the amount of calories you’ll burn depends on factors like exercise intensity and your weight.

If you run for 30 minutes (at a pace of 10 minutes per mile) you can burn roughly 270 calories. A forty-five minute run burns 405 calories, and an hour run can burn up to 540 calories.

The calories burned walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes will vary based on your weight and the speed and intensity of your walking. For example, a 155-pound person burns about 167 calories walking 4 mph for 30 minutes.

Spin Bike


Spin bikes are enjoying a boost in popularity right now, thanks largely to Peloton and SoulCycle.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, a 155-pound person cycling at a moderate pace will burn about 260 calories in 30 minutes and a 125-person will burn about 210 calories.

An hour-long bike ride at a leisurely 10 to 12 miles per hour burns about 256 calories and a pace of 16 to 20 miles per hour will burn around 773. A vigorous spinning class, such as SoulCycle, can burn nearly 741 calories an hour.



The SkiErg might be the best piece of gym equipment that no one is using. This underrated machine will help you build muscular and cardiovascular endurance while torching calories by forcing you to generate downward power through your core, hips, and legs.

Like the rowing machine, the SkiErg is low-impact, making it a great option for anyone with joint pain or lower-body injuries.

According to CalorieLab, a 150-pound person can burn up to 12 calories a minute, 238 calories in 30 minutes, and 476 calories in an hour on a ski machine.

Bottom Line

A big part of the battle is picking the right machine and you’re guaranteed to get better results by using these five. But the key thing to remember is that effort is equally, if not, more important in burning calories. You have to put in the hard work to get what you want from your time in the gym.

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