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Do Push-Ups Help You Lose Weight? Benefits of This Exercise
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Do Push-Ups Help You Lose Weight? Benefits of This Exercise

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on November 24, 2022
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7 min

Certain exercises can help you drop fat quickly, especially if they get your heart pumping. But do push-ups really contribute to your weight loss progress? We explain everything to do with push-ups and how this common exercise benefits your overall health.

do pushups help you lose weight

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Cardiovascular exercise is the best activity to do for losing weight. You will burn more calories and see physical progress throughout your fitness journey. However, do push-ups count toward this exercise? This is something you might be wondering when trying to drop pounds.

Push-ups is a simple exercise that only requires upper body strength. You can try this workout if you wish to build arm and chest muscles, although it can get your heart pumping. 

Burning fat is all about targeting your heart, so can push-ups do that?

In this article, you’ll discover how push-ups help you lose weight. 

Can Push-Ups Help You Lose Weight?

Yes, push-ups can help you lose weight, but they might not be enough.

People often need vigorous physical activity to lose a substantial amount of weight. Adults should get at least 35 minutes of exercise a day. Cardiovascular exercise, like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and running, should be your top priority for losing weight. 

However, push-ups can still get your heart rate up. Performing these in your current workout routine will surely boost your weight loss progress. Doing this exercise alone may not achieve proper fat burning, as they don’t provide enough vigorous activity. 

If you need guidance on your fitness journey, check out the Beyond Body book. This is a personalized health, wellness, and weight loss guide that offers beginner-friendly recipes and tips. You gain access to 1,000+ recipe combos that cater to your meal preferences. 

This book can also help you plan your grocery shopping list. It has options to swap out ingredients or recipes. Most of these meals will only take around 15–20 minutes to prepare, which shouldn’t disrupt your day. One simple book can be key for your weight loss. 

Do Push-Ups Burn Fat?

Push-ups alone might not target your body fat. You should perform other high-intensity workouts that reduce your body weight, like sit-ups and burpees.

Cardio-based exercise can easily burn fat and help you build more muscle. Jumping jacks, high knees, burpees, squat jumps, and sprints are good forms of cardiovascular exercise.

Push-ups may burn a few calories, but not enough to achieve your weight loss goals. The more calories you lose, the more likely you’ll lose weight in a good amount of time. Burning 500 calories per workout session should result in a 1–2 pound drop-off each week. 

However, you shouldn’t cut push-ups completely out of your routine. They might not burn fat efficiently, but they help increase upper body strength. Push-ups are one way to feel stronger and fitter without doing too much strenuous weight lifting. 

Do Push-Ups Build Muscles?

Yes, push-ups can help build muscle in your body. 

Many people do push-ups to grow their arm, chest, shoulder, and core muscles. A push-up works to improve your upper strength by targeting every activated location. Strength training exercises like push-ups can challenge your determination to build muscle. 

Push-ups also help with endurance, depending on the volume, sets, and reps of each push-up. A case study found that male students achieved core muscle activation when performing push-ups until failure. This promoted toned abdominal muscles after the study was finished. 

Other muscle-building exercises can dramatically increase your muscle mass. Consider using free weights to enhance those shoulder muscles. You can also get away with using zero equipment. Just perform bodyweight exercises that target body fat and specific muscle groups. 

How to Do Push-Ups Correctly

Your push-ups need to have the correct form to work effectively. 

No matter how many push-ups you do, if you perform them incorrectly, your lower back might suffer. Lower back pain is not something you need when losing weight. This kind of strain will take days or weeks to fully heal. It’s better to have the correct starting position for a push-up. 

First, you need to get down on all fours, placing your hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your abs contracted when settling into this exercise. After this, get into a high plank position and make sure your arms and legs are straight. This prevents any injury or pressure on your back. 

To complete one push-up, lower your body to the floor until your chest barely scrapes the floor. Pushing your shoulders forward and bending your elbows should relieve any arm pain. Pause for a couple of seconds and push yourself back up to the starting position. 

All you need to do is repeat that movement until your body gives up. Push-ups can target multiple muscle groups throughout your body. They might not work for belly fat, but they help with building strength. Just make sure to keep your body in a straight line when doing them. 

How Many Push-Ups a Day Should I Do to Lose Weight?

You should perform other cardio-based workouts to lose weight, as this can help you burn more calories. More exercise leads to a bigger weight drop. 

Push-ups help increase muscle mass, but they won’t burn enough calories to achieve significant weight loss. You could try doing 50–100 push-ups a day to see physical results in your upper body. Stay consistent with this exercise, and you should notice more defined muscles. 

A good fat loss exercise includes treadmill running or swimming. These burn calories and offer more full-body benefits. Consider going to your local gym to find a treadmill machine or public swimming pool. Higher intensity exercise leads to a dramatic weight loss result.

You can use the Beyond Body book to perform strength exercises that burn calories. It has additional features that detail beneficial workouts for burning fat.

How many reps of push-ups should I do?

Aim to complete 8–12 reps before taking a short break. 

You should always find a routine that is comfortable for your body. If you can go over 12 reps, continue doing the push-ups until your arms give up. Sticking to a certain amount of sets isn’t always necessary either. Just keep going and don’t take small breaks between push-ups. 

How Many Calories Do Push-Ups Burn?

Push-ups may only burn around 20–40 calories if you do at least 40 reps.

A weight-loss exercise should make you sweat and take regular breaks. If your heart isn’t pumping, then you aren’t getting enough vigorous activity. You need to burn around 500 calories each day to see weight loss results that are clearly visible on your body.

Check out the Beyond Body book to read tips on burning more calories. You can also find caloric deficit meals that focus on successful weight loss. 

Health Benefits of Push-Ups

Push-ups can be great for your overall health, even if they don’t burn more calories than other cardio-based workouts. The right exercise will strengthen your full body. 

Here are the four health benefits of push-ups: 

#1 May help improve posture

Performing push-ups correctly can strengthen the muscles in your back. This is great for people who might suffer from back problems like arthritis, ligament strain, or sciatica. If you find yourself slouching a lot, you can also do push-ups to slowly correct the curvature in your spine. 

Just make sure your back is straight when performing a push-up; otherwise, you may pull a muscle and disrupt your posture even more. Consider getting in front of a mirror to evaluate your resting position. Your shoulder blades should be aligned with your bottom. 

#2 Beneficial to your core

Push-ups work your core muscles and tone up your stomach. You might not realize how much this exercise targets certain muscle groups. To achieve full abdominal strength, clench your stomach throughout the push-ups. This should slightly burn but in a good way. 

#3 Strengthen your upper body

It’s no doubt that push-ups target muscles like the triceps, biceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. You can do this exercise to feel stronger, especially if your goal is to build muscle and lose weight. Just perform at least 50 push-ups a day to increase your strength. 

#4 Build bone density

Push-ups can be great for strengthening your bones. The more weight you put on your bones, the stronger they may get. This can prevent degenerative bone diseases that sometimes occur in older people. Even 10 push-ups a day can benefit your bones. 

People with bone conditions like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and low bone density may find this exercise helpful. However, only perform this workout if you feel comfortable doing it. A doctor can advise you on what exercises are best for your particular condition.

A Word From a Personal Trainer

Doing push-ups alone won’t help you lose weight. Burning calories through strenuous activity is important for reaching your goal weight.

You need to do other exercises that specifically target weight loss. Cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and HIIT workouts are great for burning unwanted fat.

How many calories you burn will affect your weight loss progress. Push-ups only burn around 50 calories maximum, so aim to perform exercises that encourage a greater calorie burn. Remember that consistency is key when it comes to physical changes.

Push-ups are still great for building up your strength. Try to do 50–100 push-ups a day when following your fitness plan. If you continue to do push-ups, you might improve your posture, bone density, upper strength, core muscles, and leg muscles.

Conclusion

You should definitely perform push-ups in your routine, but make sure to complete other weight loss exercises that burn extra calories. There’s nothing wrong with building arm muscles during your fitness journey. Push-ups are great for everyone who has different fitness levels.
The Beyond Body book is a great resource to have when losing weight. You can follow simple recipes that help you drop pounds of fat. Plus, you don’t have to spend ages prepping meals. What’s better than that? Get your copy of this book now to discover all the benefits!

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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