Pushups are a popular type of bodyweight exercise. They are certainly convenient to do but how many calories do pushups burn?
One of the most popular calisthenics exercises is the pushup. Pushups are a great way to work out your chest, tricep, core, and shoulder muscles at home without any equipment.
While the exact number of calories burned with pushups varies from individual to individual, the average person can expect to burn around 7 calories per minute of doing pushups (1).
This article will also show you a more detailed chart that takes multiple factors into account and ways to increase the number of calories burned with pushups.
Biggest factors in calories burned with pushups
A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like pushups is hard to predict correctly. This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game.
Even so, good estimations can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.
Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn with pushups include:
- Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy you need to fuel movement.
- Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
- Intensity: If you’re looking at calories per pushup this can vary by doing fast vs slow pushups. If you’re looking at calories burned while doing pushups for a minute, how many pushups you do in that minute can vary.
Hidden calorie burning from pushups
There is something else that makes it even harder to put how many calories you burn with pushups into an exact number. The calorie-burning effects of pushups are not limited to during the workout.
As mentioned, how much you weigh plays a relatively big role in how many calories you burn. This doesn’t just apply to your workout, this is also the case during everyday activities.
Chances are that by doing pushups you also build muscle mass. This extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out. It is however extremely hard to put this amount into a number.
Estimations for calories burned from pushups usually don’t take into account this long-term effect. So if you see that a more cardio-focused exercise is estimated to burn as many calories as pushups you can presume that doing pushups will be better for long-term calorie burning.
Chart of pushup calorie-burning estimations
The centers for disease control and prevention simplifies the number of calories burned with pushups into more than 7 calories per minute (1). In reality there are tools to make more precise estimations.
To calculate calories burned during certain exercises more specifically you can use a formula with MET values. A MET value is an exercise-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of workout is.
You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
Estimations for METs while doing pushups are 4.5 for moderate-intensity pushups, and 6 for heavy and vigorous pushups (2). The below chart will show you estimations for heavy and vigorous pushups.
Again keep in mind that these are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain factors that do influence calories burned with pushups.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||6 calories||89 calories||177 calories||266 calories||354 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||7 calories||110 calories||220 calories||330 calories||439 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||9 calories||131 calories||262 calories||393 calories||524 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||10 calories||152 calories||305 calories||457 calories||610 calories|
How many calories do 100 pushups burn?
If someone does 20 pushups per minute, the average person can expect to burn around 35 calories per 100 pushups during the pushups.
With the same intensity you can burn around 3.5 calories doing 10 push-ups.
To put this into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).
The long-term increase in calorie burning from muscle gain is hard to put into an exact amount.
Ways to burn more calories with pushups
The number of calories burned with pushups is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per minute of pushups or per pushup.
The challenge for most people is fitting in workouts in their busy schedule. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time. If that’s your goal you want to burn more calories in for example one minute of pushups.
A straightforward way to do this is increasing the number of repetitions you do in that minute by simply doing your pushups faster.
On the other hand, if you want to burn more calories per pushup, you would do the pushups slowly.
In both per minute and per pushup you can increase the weight on your muscles by raising your feet, and/or doing weighted pushups which are pushups while carrying extra external weight. For example by wearing a heavy backpack or weighted vest while doing pushups. These pushup modifications can help you burn more calories.
Doing pushups with your hands further apart, more wide-grip, can also help you build more muscle mass than pushups with hands closer together. This increases long-term calorie burning.
How long does it take to see results from pushups?
One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000). How long it takes to see weight loss results from pushups will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.
One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intense to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.
15 minutes of pushups a day could help you burn an extra 1100 calories in 10 days which is about 0.31 pounds of body fat. 30 days 3300 calories and so on…
Keep in mind that losing weight too fast can be harmful. In general, a 500 calorie deficit per day is considered to be a healthy weight loss rate.
Because of the muscle you will gain from pushups your weight might not move that much. That does not mean you are not losing fat. If you lose inches but not weight when you start doing pushups you are most likely gaining muscle weight and losing body fat weight.
Should you do pushups for calorie burning?
When starting out pushups can help you build a decent amount of muscle. This can make up for the low number of calorie burning during the pushups. To build the most muscle mass you want to do about 4 sets of 10-40 pushups depending on how advanced you are.
However, the amount of muscle growth you achieve with pushups will go down a lot. From that point on pushups are not great for burning a lot of calories.
Even before that, there are better workouts if your goal is burning a lot of calories in a short amount.
Keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what exercise routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.