how many calories do push-ups burn


Push-ups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises for building strength and endurance. But have you ever wondered how many calories do push-ups burn? Understanding the caloric expenditure of push-ups can help you gauge their effectiveness in your fitness regimen and optimize your workouts for better results. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the science behind push-up calorie burn, factors influencing it, and how to maximize the benefits of this simple yet powerful exercise.

Understanding Caloric Burn During Exercise

Before diving into the specifics of push-ups, it is essential to understand the basics of caloric burn during physical activities. Caloric burn is the number of calories your body uses to perform any given activity, which includes basic metabolic functions and physical exercise. The caloric burn rate depends on several factors, such as:

  • Body weight and composition
  • Intensity and duration of the activity
  • Muscle mass involved
  • Individual metabolic rate

These factors combine to determine how many calories you burn during exercises like push-ups.

how many calories do push-ups burn

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The Science Behind Push-Up Caloric Burn

Push-ups are a compound exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. Because they engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, push-ups can be quite effective in burning calories. The number of calories burned during push-ups is influenced by:

  • Your body weight: Heavier individuals tend to burn more calories.
  • Push-up intensity: The faster and more intense your push-up routine, the more calories you will burn.
  • Duration of the exercise: Longer push-up sessions lead to higher caloric expenditure.
  • Form and technique: Proper form ensures that the right muscles are engaged, maximizing calorie burn.

Estimating Caloric Burn During Push-Ups

Calculating the exact number of calories burned during push-ups can be tricky due to individual differences. However, a general estimate can be made based on the MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) value of push-ups. The MET value for push-ups ranges from 3.8 to 8, depending on the intensity. Here’s a rough estimate for different body weights:

  • A person weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) burns approximately 3.8 calories per minute at a moderate pace.
  • A person weighing 155 pounds (70 kg) burns approximately 4.5 calories per minute.
  • A person weighing 180 pounds (82 kg) burns approximately 5.3 calories per minute.
  • A person weighing 205 pounds (93 kg) burns approximately 6 calories per minute.

For high-intensity push-ups, these numbers can increase significantly.

Factors Influencing Caloric Burn in Push-Ups

Body Weight and Composition

Your body weight plays a crucial role in determining the caloric burn during push-ups. Heavier individuals expend more energy to perform the same number of push-ups compared to lighter individuals. Additionally, muscle mass can also impact the caloric burn, as muscles require more energy to work than fat.

Push-Up Intensity and Speed

The intensity and speed at which you perform push-ups directly affect the number of calories burned. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involving push-ups can significantly boost your caloric expenditure. For instance, performing push-ups as fast as possible for 30 seconds, followed by a short rest period, and repeating this cycle can elevate your heart rate and increase calorie burn.

Duration and Frequency of Workouts

The longer you perform push-ups, the more calories you burn. Incorporating push-ups into a daily workout routine can lead to substantial caloric expenditure over time. Consistency is key; regular practice not only helps in burning calories but also in building muscle endurance and strength.

Form and Technique

Maintaining proper form during push-ups ensures that you engage the correct muscle groups, leading to more effective workouts. Poor form can reduce the efficiency of the exercise and result in lower calorie burn. Key points to remember for proper push-up form include:

  • Keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Engaging your core muscles.
  • Lowering your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.
  • Pushing back up with controlled movements.
how many calories do push-ups burn

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Maximizing Caloric Burn with Push-Ups

To get the most out of your push-up workouts and maximize caloric burn, consider incorporating the following strategies:

Varying Push-Up Types

Different push-up variations can target various muscle groups and increase the overall intensity of the exercise. Some effective push-up variations include:

  • Wide Grip Push-Ups: Target the chest and shoulders more intensely.
  • Diamond Push-Ups: Focus on the triceps and inner chest.
  • Decline Push-Ups: Increase the load on the upper chest and shoulders.
  • Plyometric Push-Ups: Enhance explosive power and boost heart rate.

Increasing Reps and Sets

Gradually increasing the number of repetitions and sets in your push-up routine can lead to higher caloric expenditure. Aim to challenge yourself by adding more reps or sets as you build strength and endurance.

Incorporating Push-Ups into Circuit Training

Combining push-ups with other high-intensity exercises in a circuit training format can significantly boost your overall caloric burn. For example, performing a circuit that includes push-ups, burpees, squats, and mountain climbers can keep your heart rate elevated and increase calorie burn.

Using Weighted Push-Ups

Adding extra weight to your push-ups, such as wearing a weighted vest or placing a weight plate on your back, can intensify the exercise and lead to greater caloric burn. Ensure that you maintain proper form to avoid injury.

Health Benefits Beyond Caloric Burn

While the primary focus of this article is on how many calories do push-ups burn, it is important to recognize the broader health benefits of incorporating push-ups into your fitness routine. These benefits include:

  • Improved muscular strength and endurance
  • Enhanced cardiovascular health
  • Better core stability and balance
  • Increased bone density
  • Enhanced mental health and stress relief

Push-ups are a versatile exercise that can be performed anywhere without the need for equipment, making them a convenient and effective addition to any workout regimen.

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Conclusion: How Many Calories Do Push-Ups Burn

In summary, the number of calories burned during push-ups varies based on factors such as body weight, intensity, duration, and technique. On average, you can expect to burn between 3.8 to 6 calories per minute depending on your body weight and the intensity of your push-up routine. To maximize caloric burn, consider incorporating variations, increasing reps and sets, and integrating push-ups into high-intensity circuit training. Beyond burning calories, push-ups offer numerous health benefits that make them a valuable exercise for overall fitness.


1. How many push-ups should I do to burn 100 calories?

The number of push-ups needed to burn 100 calories depends on your body weight and the intensity of the exercise. On average, performing push-ups for about 20-30 minutes can help you reach this goal.

2. Are push-ups alone enough for weight loss?

While push-ups are effective for building strength and burning calories, they should be combined with a balanced diet and other forms of exercise for optimal weight loss results.

3. Can I do push-ups every day?

Yes, you can do push-ups every day. However, it is important to listen to your body and allow for adequate rest and recovery to avoid overtraining and injury.

4. How many calories do push-ups burn per minute?

The number of calories burned per minute during push-ups varies based on factors such as body weight and intensity. On average, a person weighing 155 pounds burns about 4.5 calories per minute doing moderate-intensity push-ups. This number can increase with higher intensity or additional weight.

5. Do push-ups burn more calories than other bodyweight exercises?

Push-ups can be quite effective in burning calories due to their compound nature, engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously. However, exercises like burpees or mountain climbers typically burn more calories because they are more aerobic and involve continuous movement, increasing heart rate more significantly.