The potential benefits of pushups are amazing but you do need to approach them right. Find out how many repetitions you should do to see results.
Something to note first is that you can change the amounts of pushups you do and the weight you use to focus on different areas of your fitness.
As a first example, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (weighted) pushups with a resistance where you can barely complete these ranges to build muscle.
Many people could recover quickly enough but it is generally smart to implement at least one rest day for the muscles you worked.
That means most people who want to build muscle don’t want to do pushups every single day.
Besides that, pushups are mostly helpful for weight loss because of the muscle mass they help you grow. That means you want to implement the same pushup ranges from above to lose weight.
Next, to improve strength, you should do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 (weighted) pushups.
Additionally, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 25+ pushups where you don’t go to muscle failure to improve muscle endurance.
How Many Pushups You Should Do To Build Muscle
Pushups are pushups but what amounts of sets and reps you do and how much weight you use influence what fitness goals you focus on.
To build muscle you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (weighted) pushups with a weight where you can barely complete these ranges.
Resistance training beginners may need to start with modified pushups or other pushup progressions to get within these ranges. The same amounts of sets and reps still apply with these.
As they build muscle and get stronger, these people can start to consider regular pushups.
On the flip side, more experienced lifters may need to do weighted pushups to make the movement challenging enough to see results.
That being said, even if you don’t have (enough) equipment to make pushups harder, you could still build muscle by doing the bodyweight version in higher-repetition sets (up to around 50 and potentially more) (1).
You do generally want to push to muscle failure in these high-repetition sets to see the most muscle growth results.
Should you do pushups every day?
When you do resistance training exercises like pushups you damage the main muscles you work. This may sound bad but it actually starts a variety of internal processes that can repair and grow these muscles.
One thing you do want to keep in mind is that your body needs time to complete these processes. If you focus the same muscles too soon, you can actually reduce your results.
Because of this, it is generally recommended to give your chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles at least one extra day of rest in between serious pushup workouts.
Doing this also frees up time to work on other muscles like your traps and lats to avoid muscle imbalances.
At the same time, it is worth noting that many people could do pushups every day effectively by making a few changes in their workouts like not pushing to complete muscle failure.
The main benefit of successfully doing pushups every day is seeing more results faster.
Do pushups help you get a six pack and/or a bigger chest?
Some people are not entirely certain about what muscles they can actually grow by doing pushups.
For example, pushups do engage your abs to some extent. However, this exercise is typically not enough to really grow these six pack muscles.
On the other hand, regularly doing pushups with the repetition ranges above is great for getting bigger chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles.
How many pushups you should do a day to lose weight
Many people also consider doing more pushups to lose weight.
To achieve this goal, you need to make it so your body requires more energy to function than is coming in from food. At this point, you start using up energy stores like body fat to get the remaining needs.
Pushups help weight loss in two main ways. The main one is that the extra muscle mass you build helps you burn more calories with everything you do.
Secondly, pushups also help you burn a few extra calories during the workout because you are moving more intensely than usual. These amounts are not the most impressive but do help.
As a first example, a 155-pound (70kg) person has to do around 15,091 pushups to burn the number of calories in one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat.
You do need to keep in mind that burning calories does not necessarily mean losing weight. To lose weight with pushups your habits in other lifestyle areas like your diet have to be good enough too.
Amounts of pushups to burn certain calorie counts
Let’s say the average person does about 20 pushups per minute.
With this pushup statistic and the estimations for how many calories pushups burn you can figure out how many repetitions you need to burn certain amounts of calories.
One thing to note is that these will be very rough estimations. In reality, the exact number of pushups you need can vary because of differences in body composition, hormone levels, intensity, etc.
Something else to remember is that these amounts do not include any calorie-burning effects from extra muscle mass or afterburn.
|Calorie Burning Goal|
|100 Calories||1000 Calories||3500 Calories|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||535 pushups||5,347 pushups||18,713 pushups|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||431 pushups||4,312 pushups||15,091 pushups|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||361 pushups||3,613 pushups||12,644 pushups|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||311 pushups||3,109 pushups||10,880 pushups|
How many pushups you should do to improve strength
As briefly mentioned, you can change what benefits you get from pushups by changing the amounts of repetitions, sets, and weights you implement.
One of these other areas is muscle strength. You can describe this as how much force your muscles can generate.
Bigger muscles do help with this fitness component but by changing up your training you can also improve how well you use your existing muscle mass.
To improve strength, you should do 4 to 8 sets of 5 weighted pushups with resistance where you are barely able to complete these ranges.
Because the human body tends to recover faster from strength training workouts, it is more likely that you can do this type of pushup workout every day without issues.
That being said, it is often still a great idea to train the muscles on the opposite side, aka your latissimus dorsi and trapezius, to avoid muscle imbalances.
How many pushups you should do to improve endurance
Muscle endurance comes down to how long your muscles can exert effort.
To focus on this area of your fitness, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 25+ pushups with a resistance where you don’t push to muscle failure.
Resistance training beginners and possibly intermediates may need to do incline or modified pushups to be able to train muscle endurance with this exercise.
Many people should be able to do muscle endurance pushups every day without too many issues. At the same time, if you try this, it can be smart to keep an eye out for signs of overtraining.
How many pushups a day is good to build muscle?
Around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (weighted) pushups with a resistance where you can barely complete these ranges is a good workout to build muscle. That being said, most people do not want to do this every single day. Implementing at least one rest day can actually improve your results.