Do push-ups help lose weight, or should I look for a better option for weight loss? If you’re new to fitness or even a seasoned pro, then you’ve probably asked yourself this question.
Let’s cover everything there is to know about the relationship between push-ups and weight loss. On top of that, we’ll also go over some practical recommendations for you to improve your overall fitness plan.
Do Push-Ups Help Lose Weight?
Yes, in a way, they do. Push-ups help us lose weight because the act of pushing your body away from the ground exerts energy, and therefore, burns calories.
So yes, push ups do help lose weight! But the question is, how much?
The only problem is, a typical push-up workout burns a small number of calories, so doing that alone won’t contribute significantly to your weight loss efforts. Or the calories that you burn during this time.
For reference, you can burn about seven calories per minute of doing push-ups. Of course, that number will significantly depend on your sex, size, age, and activity level.
Click below to use our calories burned calculator to check your calories burned for push-ups based on your unique individuality. Just select push-ups from the drop-down menu, as well as your personal stats and exercise duration to check your calories burned.
Another thing to look at here is muscle damage (good damage). As we train our muscles, we cause structural damage (small, microscopic tears), and the body then needs to expend calories to repair it.
As far as that goes, the push-up works the following muscle groups:
- Shoulders (mostly the anterior head)
- Serratus Anterior (lower, outer chest muscles)
- Overall Core
So it’s a tremendous overall workout, and one of the very best bodyweight exercises.
The Irrefutable Law Of Energy Balance
No matter how diligent we are with our training or what ‘fat-burning’ supplements we buy, weight loss (or lack thereof) mostly comes down to the irrefutable law of energy balance.
In other words, weight loss, weight gain, or maintenance depends on calories in versus calories out. To lose weight, we need to consume fewer calories than we burn, and thus put ourselves in a caloric deficit.
In that line of thinking, looking at a single push-up session to help you lose weight would be like hoping that a few drops will fill a bucket – both are fruitless. For effective weight loss, it’s much better to measure the calories you burn and the calories you consume over the days, weeks, and months.
By doing that for an extended period, you can lose a significant amount of weight. And if you’re serious about losing weight, then it’s really best to get firm control of your calorie intake, and know how many calories you are consuming.
How Push-Ups Can Aid Our Weight Loss Efforts
With everything covered today, it’s worth saying that doing push-ups can be very beneficial for weight loss on a couple of fronts.
First, push-ups allow us to build more lean muscle in our chest, core, triceps, and shoulders. If you do push-ups for weeks or months or years, you will build a considerable amount of muscle mass over time. And, being metabolically-costly tissue, the body has to expend calories every day to maintain our muscle. (1)
For reference, muscle tends to burn about 2.5 times more calories than fat. So by doing push-ups and other muscle-building exercises, you can turn your body into a fat-burning furnace. And as you do push-ups and other resistance training, you will continue to build muscle.
Muscle burns 2.5 times more calories than fat, so as you build lean muscle with push-ups and other resistance training, your body gradually becomes a fat-burning furnace that is burning more fat 24/7.
Plus, having developed chest, shoulders and arms is a great way to boost your cardio performance (especially on activities like rowing and battle rope), so you can burn a lot more calories in each workout.
Second, push-ups allow us to look better once we are done with the weight loss. And this is a really key point, and as you get closer to your weight loss goal you’ll start to appreciate the work put in to build lean muscle!
By building up our upper body musculature, we look leaner, more muscular, and more athletic. Instead of turning into yet another skinny person, we look fit, healthy, and active.
An Additional Benefit to Building a Lean Muscle Frame
You might be someone who has dealt with various injuries over the years such as lower back pain, or bad knees for example. Many people deal with this on a recurring basis, and some over a lifetime.
As your frame gets stronger, and the fat you carry is reduced, it takes a great burden off of these trouble spots. Nearly all people will see these pains mitigated as their fit levels improve. It’s a truly wonderful feeling when you get there. And it’s very achievable with some discipline and effort.
So, to answer the question do push ups help lose weight, they most certainly do. And they are an important exercise in a total fitness plan.
Of course the best thing you can do for weight loss, is a consistent cardio routine along with a clean diet and weekly resistance training.
- MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Which muscles do pushups work?: Pictures and guide. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323640