Do Pushups Help You Lose Weight?

by Ashley Farley Google

About Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. She is also a writer specializing in healthy living, fitness and nutrition topics. Farley has an Associate of Science in mental health services from the Community College of the Air Force and is pursuing her B.A. in English at Wright State University.

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Pushups are one of the most common exercises for toning chest muscles and increasing your upper body strength. Although pushups are traditionally a strength training exercise designed for building muscle, your body burns calories during this exercise, which helps you lose weight. The key to using pushups for weight loss is to mix this exercise with a variety of other exercises for a well-rounded fitness plan.

Proper Form

The success of any exercise relies on executing the activity with proper form. Pushups are performed on your hands and toes. Your entire body should be in a straight line without your back sagging or curving upward. Your hands can be placed directly under your shoulders or slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body toward the ground until your arms create 90-degree angles, and press back up to the starting position.

Variations

There are countless ways to alter the form of the standard pushup to make the exercise easier or more challenging. Instead of starting on your toes, start on your knees for an easier pushup. Place your hands very wide apart, next to your ribcage or on an exercise ball for a more difficult pushup. You can also place your feet on an elevated surface to increase the amount of weight your upper body is responsible for lifting during each repetition.

Benefits

Pushups are a strength-training exercise that helps to build new muscle tissue while also improving your muscular endurance. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, which means the more muscle mass you have, the better your metabolism is. Improved muscular endurance will help your muscles perform longer without getting tired during physical activity.

Potential

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat each day. When this deficit reaches 3,500 calories, you can lose 1 pound of weight. According to HealthStatus.com, one minute of pushups can burn between six and 10 calories for a 150-pound person. You would need to perform pushups for 30 to 60 minutes a day to add a significant number of calories to your daily caloric deficit. This probably isn’t rational or reasonable for most people, considering pushups can be challenging after just a few minutes.

Considerations

Instead of relying just on pushups to help you lose weight, consider what other activities you can perform. Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, step aerobics, kickboxing and walking help to burn calories without tiring your body out within the first few minutes. You can alternate pushups with other strength-training chest exercises like the chest press, the pec deck and chest flies to add variety into your workouts.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.