Bodyweight exercises are not known for their energy-burning effects but do help. Find out how many calories pushups burn and how to see more results.
Some rough estimations are that the average person burns around 37 to 64 calories while doing bodyweight pushups for 10 minutes.
These amounts are not that impressive but keep in mind that one of the benefits of pushups is that they can help you build muscle mass
If you do pushups in rep and set ranges that make this happen, the extra muscle mass helps you burn more calories throughout the day.
That aside, this article will also go over things like more in-depth estimations, what details influence the number of calories burned with pushups, and how to burn more.
Biggest factors in calories burned with pushups
While it can be annoying, the truth is that it is hard to estimate accurately how many calories pushups burn. In turn, this also makes things like balancing energy intake for weight loss even harder.
That being said, you can still make your estimations somewhat better. For example, by taking some of the details that influence calorie burning the most into account.
Knowing what things influence the number of calories you burn with pushups also makes it easier to make your workouts more effective in this area.
With that in mind, a few of these details are:
- Body weight: Moving around requires energy aka calories from the human body. Generally, the heavier someone is, the more calories they will burn with movements like pushups.
- Pushup speed: How many pushups you do per minute will influence the number of calories you burn. Typically, faster movements require more energy.
- Extra weights or not: Similar to how your body weight influences the number of calories you burn with pushups, whether or not and how much external weight you use will play a role too.
- Body composition: How much weight body fat you have compared to muscle mass influences the energy you use. Muscle mass typically burns more calories than the same weight in body fat.
Hidden calorie burning from pushups
Besides all the details that influence how many calories you burn during the pushup workout, there are reasons why you could also burn more energy after the workout.
As a first example, pushups can help resistance training beginners and intermediates build some muscle mass.
How much you weigh influences the number of calories you burn throughout the day.
In turn, building muscle mass with pushups can increase this amount.
Unfortunately, it is hard to put this effect into exact numbers. Especially because how much muscle a person builds with pushups can vary so much.
You can use this information when comparing pushups to certain other cardiovascular exercises.
If these other options burn the same number of calories per minute, you can expect pushups to have more positive overall effects in this area (if you do these for equal amounts of time).
Chart of pushup calorie-burning estimations
There is a cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention that simply mentions you can more than 7 calories per minute while doing pushups at a vigorous pace (1).
Luckily, you can also get more useful estimations about the number of calories burned during pushups for different body weights and durations.
One way to do this is by using MET values. These are numbers that estimate (or sometimes measure) how intense certain exercises and activities are.
After finding the MET of the activity you are interested in, you can use this number in the formula below to get some rough calorie-burning estimations.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
One source mentions an MET of 3.8 for moderate-effort calisthenics exercises like pushups. Below, you can find the results of using this number in the MET formula with different body weights and time intervals.
It is worth mentioning that you should not take these numbers too precisely. The MET formula is oversimplified and does not include many details.
|1 Minute||5 Minutes||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|4 calories||19 calories||56 calories||112 calories||224 calories|
|5 calories||23 calories||70 calories||139 calories||278 calories|
|6 calories||28 calories||83 calories||166 calories||332 calories|
|6 calories||32 calories||97 calories||193 calories||386 calories|
How many calories do 100 pushups burn?
You may also have certain workout routines like 100 pushups a day in mind and wonder what this does in terms of calorie burning.
If a 185-pound (84 kg) person does about 20 repetitions per minute, they will burn around 28 calories while doing 100 pushups.
At the same intensity, this person would burn around 2.8 calories during 10 pushups.
Looking at how many pushups you should do to burn certain amounts of calories during the workout can be demotivating.
However, keep in mind that these numbers don’t include the calorie-burning effects of the extra muscle mass you build. Your pushup routines will likely be at least somewhat more effective.
Ways to burn more calories with pushups
The numbers above may give a different impression but you can influence how many calories you burn with pushups.
For example, doing weighted pushups where you wear a weighted vest, use resistance bands, or put something else on your back will burn more calories per repetition.
Similarly, you can make your body burn more calories by elevating your feet so that more of your body weight rests on your arms. This is called a decline pushup.
Next, you can theoretically do your pushups faster to burn more calories per minute.
You do want to keep in mind this can be suboptimal when it comes to building muscle mass.
Since a lot of the calorie-burning from pushups comes from this area, faster speeds are often not recommended.
How long does it take to see results from pushups?
Burning calories can be nice to hit daily targets but you are likely interested in the secondary effects of this. More specifically, whether pushups help you lose weight and to what extent.
Before going into some rough estimations, you want to keep in mind that losing weight is not only about burning more calories with pushups or other exercises.
Your habits in areas like the things you eat need to be good enough too.
That being said, if you temporarily assume that all the calories you burn with pushups come from body fat (which will typically not happen), you can get some interesting numbers.
A 185-pound (84 kg) person doing three 10-minute pushup sessions a week will burn an extra 165 calories or about 0.05 pounds (0.02 kg) of body fat during the workouts.
Doing the same pushup sessions for a month (four weeks), will mean burning around 660 calories or about 0.19 pounds (0.08 kg) of body fat during the workouts.
Keep in mind that gaining muscle and losing body fat at the same time could make it so your weight does not move. This does not mean you are not making positive progress.
Are pushups good for burning calories?
When it comes to the workouts themselves, pushups are not that good for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
Especially if you consider that you will only be able to do a few minutes of actual pushups per workout.
That being said, an aspect of pushups that makes up for this to some extent is the extra muscle mass you can build.
This extra mass helps you burn more calories throughout the day and during other workouts.
On the flip side, bigger compound movements like squats and deadlifts typically offer more muscle growth potential than pushups.
If you are already doing more intense cardiovascular movements and leg exercises, you can consider adding pushups to your routine to build more chest muscle and burn more calories this way.
If not, the pushup statistics and facts above should make it clear that these other exercise options will be more effective for burning calories in your current situation.