This post contains links that we may earn a small commission for at no cost to you read more
For many of us, losing weight means reducing our calorie intake. So we become so engrossed about the amount of calories on our plates that we forget that losing weight entails cutting back on the number of calories in your food AND doing simple exercises such as push-ups.
But how many calories does a push-up burn?
The number of calories burned per push-up depends on several factors, such as age, sex, fitness level, intensity, and body weight. On average, a single push-up burns 0.3-0.7 calorie. That range increases significantly when you do push-up variations.
This article offers you an all-encompassing informative guide about push-ups: proper form, benefits, variations, muscles worked, and calories burned. What’s more, it will help you understand the factors that determine the number of calories burned so that you get the whole idea of doing push-ups and why it’s important to you.
Table of Contents
How Many Calories Do Pushups Burn?
On average, doing push-ups can burn up to 7 calories a minute. It is also possible to burn up to 10 calories or more per minute when you perform other push-up variations. For instance, an athlete performing toe tap or outside leg kick push-up variation will burn more calories than one who is doing a regular push-up.
Calories Burned Per Push Up
For a single push up, a person can burn anywhere from 0.3 to 0.7 calories. Body weight and workout intensity determine the actual number of calories burned. The more intense you do push-ups, the more calories you burn.
A vigorous push-up routine is assigned a MET (or metabolic equivalent of task) of 8, while a moderate round of push-ups has a MET of 3.8. We don’t need to go into the details of what a MET is, but suffice it to say that you need this number to calculate the number of calories you burn when doing physical activities and exercises.
To estimate the calories you burn, all you need to do is multiply the MET with your body weight (in kg), multiply by the constant 0.0175, and multiply again by the duration of your workout (in minutes).
So, let’s say a 200-lb man (91-kg) does push-ups for 5 minutes, here’s how you compute the number of calories he burns when doing vigorous and moderate push-ups:
Calories burned doing vigorous push-ups = 8.0 x 91 x 0.0175 x 5 = 64 calories
Calories burned doing moderate push-ups = 3.8 x 91 x 0.0175 x 5 = 30 calories
These are the figures you get for doing pure or regular push-ups. However, fitness professionals found out that doing push-up variations can up their game and amplify the number of calories burned per unit time.
There are many push-ups calorie calculator apps that can help you calculate the number of calories you burn doing push-ups. All you need to do is key in your details like weight, height, and age.
Factors That Determine Calories Burned Doing Push-Ups
Weight and Height
Heavier and bigger people have a faster metabolism than small-bodied people. It means that the heavier you are, the more calories you burn, and that applies in both active and resting modes.
Intensity and Speed
When you perform push-ups faster and in the proper form, you burn more calories than if you do push-ups slowly and in the wrong form.
Performing push-up variations will increase the number of calories burned. Variations target different muscle groups and increase the intensity and energy required to perform them. When a variation recruits more muscles, it burns more calories.
As you age, you slow down, whether that’s running, walking, or doing other activities that we’re talking about. Your body will have more body fat than muscles.
As this happens, your body will also slow its metabolic rate, meaning, you will burn fewer calories doing push-ups than you used to when you were younger.
Women have more body fat and fewer muscles than men do. Fats can account for between 18%-20% of a woman’s body weight compared to 10-15% in men. The reason for this is that a woman’s body needs to store more energy in the form of fats for reproductive purposes.
Since muscle tissues burn more calories than fats do, it also means that females will burn fewer calories than their male counterparts performing the same number of push-ups at the same intensity.
How to Do Push-Ups: Proper Form
Calories burned per push up is highly dependent on the form. Understanding proper form will also help reduce the risks of injuries as you work out.
- Assume a high plank position with your palms straight under your shoulders. Maintain a straight posture from neck to heels.
- Breathe in and hold, then bend your elbows as you lower your body to the floor slowly and steadily.
- Keep lowering yourself until your chest is about one inch from the floor. Pause for a second or two, then push yourself back to the starting position.
- Exhale, pause, and repeat.
That sounds simple, but maybe not when you’re down on all fours, with all your weight bearing on your limbs and your core stabilizing your body. This is a strength exercise that intensely engages your upper body’s muscles and burns significant amounts of calories.
Do not arch, bend, or twist your torso while performing push-ups. Doing so may strain your spine and cause pain or injury. Maintaining a straight body should be your aim throughout the exercise.
Related: Add a workout step bench to intensify your push up routine.
7 Push-Ups Variations That Burn More Calories
Like squats, push-ups can also be modified to increase or reduce intensity. Variations help you target different muscle groups in your body.
To increase the intensity of push-ups, you can perform a decline pushup variation by elevating your feet on a bench. This will make it much harder for you to push your way up. You will end up using more energy, and this will burn more calories.
This variation brings in a little fun in your exercise. When you are at the top of your push-ups, kick one leg sideways before lowering to another repetition. This way, you are engaging more muscles and burning more calories. The kick recruits your leg and ab muscles.
Get in the normal push-up position. Put your hands close together on the floor directly under your chest. Get your balance and start lowering into your push-ups. This is a very intense variation, which may be close to impossible for beginners.
Lower into your normal push-up and bottom position, push off from the ground so hard so that your hands will lift off the floor as your upper body explodes in space. This calls for strength and stability. It is a variety that pushes you to the limits.
Dumbbell Renegade Push-Ups
Perform push-ups while pushing off from dumbbells. When you are at the top, pull a dumbbell on one hand into a row before lowering back. Keep alternating the hands to a defined number of repetitions. It recruits your hand muscles more than traditional push-ups do.
Push-Ups with Resistance Band
It involves laying a resistance band across your shoulder and then tucking the ends in each of your palms. It offers a great additional resistance as you try to push your way up. It’s one of the best ways to add intensity to your push-ups and burn more calories.
Toe Tap Push-Ups
In this version, while at the top position, you pull your knee to bring your toe close to the hip and then tap it with the opposite hand. It gives extra engagement to your legs and abs. This is a variation that brings with it a sense of the aerobic exercise.
Muscles Worked Doing Push Ups
Many people underestimate the power of push-ups. This powerful strength exercise can work almost all your muscle groups. The muscles worked doing push-ups heavily depends on the variation of push-ups you do. Standard push up will hit the pectorals, deltoids, triceps, abdominal and the serratus anterior(under your armpit).
An array of variations will help you target different muscles from the upper to lower body. This is compound exercise that will target multiple muscles simultaneously.
Related Post: Muscles worked on a 4 day workout routine
7 Benefits of Push Ups
To begin with, push-ups are strength-building workout exercises. Performing them regularly will offer you several fitness benefits.
Tones Entire Body
This is a compound exercise that works your entire body. It emphasizes particular muscles depending on the variation. Regularly performing push-ups tones the entire body and increases muscle density.
Strengthens Your Core
You actively involve your torso during a push-up workout. The oblique, lower and upper abs, are called upon to stabilize your body and maintain a proper push-up form. A strong core will help improve your body posture while sitting, walking, standing, or performing any physical activities.
Improves Cardio Fitness
Push-ups engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Doing this makes the heart work extra hard to supply more oxygenated blood to the different muscle groups. It simply means that the cardiovascular system is also exercised. This improves your heart health by reducing body fat.
Prevents Shoulders and Lower Back injuries
Your shoulders and lower back bear the load in most of your daily physical activities, and for that reason, they are at high risk of injury. Push-ups will efficiently work muscles, bones, and joints around these two essential load-bearing body parts, making them stronger. This helps them handle loads efficiently and reduce the risks of injuries.
Saves Time and Money
You can do it anywhere, anytime, and with no equipment at all. You are only using your body weight to execute this amazing strength exercise. Many people would skip training sessions at the gym for lack of time. In some scenarios, your budget may not allow you to enroll in a gym. Push-ups will come in handy.
Promotes the Production of HGH and Testosterone Hormones
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a specific hormone that promotes the growth of your entire body. Regularly doing push-ups promote the production of this and testosterone hormones.
Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a skeletal system disorder that can be managed by strengthening the bones. Push-ups are a good exercise for supporting stronger bones. They help you increase bone density, and this will go a long way in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
1. Do push-ups make your belly flat?
Yes, do not ignore push-ups for other exercises when you are looking for a flat belly. Push-ups recruit your entire core muscles and burn fats around your belly. To engage the abs even harder, you may perform variations like outside leg kicks, which works your abs and obliques much harder. Regularly doing push-ups will get you a flat belly in no time.
2. How many calories do you burn doing 100 push-ups?
Doing a single push-up burns from 0.3 to 0.7 calorie. So for 100 push-ups, you can burn from 30-70 calories, depending on how much you weigh and how intense or how fast you complete those 100 push-ups. In other words, it matters how many push-ups you do per minute, and what variations you mix in with your push-ups.
3. How many calories do you burn doing 10 push-ups?
10 push-ups will burn from 3-7 calories, depending on your weight and the intensity/speed of your push-up workout.
Written by Alisha Wishart – TheHealthPot.com
Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Writer and Contributor
Alisha, is a Mother, Wife and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). She understands how demanding everyday life can be and takes great pride in working with individuals and groups to help them achieve their desired fitness goals. Read more about Alisha here.