How Many Calories Does a Push-Up Burn?

How Many Calories Does a Push-Up Burn?

Push-ups are one of the most fundamental and effective bodyweight exercises, revered for their ability to strengthen the upper body, engage the core, and improve overall fitness. While push-ups are a staple in most fitness routines, many people wonder about the caloric impact of this classic exercise. How many calories do push-ups actually burn, and can they contribute significantly to a calorie-burning workout? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the science behind push-ups, their calorie-burning potential, and how they fit into a well-rounded fitness regimen.

The Science Behind Push-Ups

Push-ups are a bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. They involve both concentric and eccentric muscle contractions, meaning that you work your muscles during both the lifting and lowering phases of the exercise. Push-ups are a compound movement, engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, which makes them an excellent exercise for building upper body strength and endurance.

The calorie-burning process during exercise involves various factors, including exercise intensity, duration, and an individual’s weight. To estimate the caloric expenditure of a specific exercise like push-ups, we must consider these elements.

Factors Affecting Calorie Burn

  1. Exercise Intensity: The number of calories burned during push-ups depends on the intensity. A more vigorous set of push-ups, such as explosive or clapping push-ups, may require more energy and burn more calories compared to standard push-ups.
  2. Duration: The total time spent performing push-ups contributes to the calorie burn. Longer sessions will burn more calories.
  3. Weight: Body weight plays a crucial role in determining the number of calories burned during exercise. Heavier individuals burn more calories doing push-ups than lighter individuals, as it requires more energy to move the added mass.
  4. Rest Periods: The duration and frequency of rest periods between sets and reps can impact the overall calorie burn. Shorter rest periods often lead to a higher calorie burn due to the sustained level of effort.

How to Estimate Caloric Expenditure During Push-Ups

To estimate the number of calories burned during a push-up workout, you can use the concept of METs (Metabolic Equivalent of Task), which is a measure of the energy expenditure of physical activities. On average, a standard push-up has an MET value of around 3.8. This means that doing push-ups burns approximately 3.8 times more calories than when you’re at rest.

You can calculate the calories burned during push-ups using the following formula:

Calories Burned = (MET value × weight in kilograms × time in hours) / 200

For example, if a 150-pound (68 kg) individual performs push-ups for 30 minutes (0.5 hours), the calculation would be:

Calories Burned = (3.8 × 68 × 0.5) / 200 = 6.46 calories

This is just an estimate, and individual variations in factors like form, muscle engagement, and intensity may affect the actual calorie expenditure.

Calories Burned by Different Types of Push-Ups

The calories burned during push-ups can vary depending on the specific type of push-up and the intensity. Here’s a rough estimate of calories burned for different variations:

  1. Standard Push-Ups: A person weighing around 155 pounds (70 kg) can burn approximately 314 calories per hour doing standard push-ups.
  2. Diamond Push-Ups: These push-ups, which target the triceps more, can burn slightly more calories due to the increased muscle engagement.
  3. Wide-Grip Push-Ups: Wide-grip push-ups emphasize the chest muscles and can burn similar calories to standard push-ups.
  4. Explosive Push-Ups: The explosive nature of these push-ups, which involve pushing the body off the ground with force, can significantly increase calorie burn. An individual can burn around 469 calories per hour doing explosive push-ups.
  5. Clapping Push-Ups: Like explosive push-ups, clapping push-ups are highly intensive and can burn approximately 469 calories per hour.

It’s important to note that these estimates can vary based on factors such as body weight, form, and intensity. The values mentioned above serve as general guidelines. You can also read about Carb Cycling Meal Plan for FMG Bodybuilding by visiting

Push-Ups into Your Workout

Incorporating Push-Ups into Your Workout

While push-ups might not be the most calorie-burning exercise in isolation, they offer a multitude of benefits that make them an integral part of a well-rounded fitness routine:

  1. Strength Building: Push-ups target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, helping build upper body strength.
  2. Core Engagement: Performing push-ups requires core stabilization, aiding in the development of a strong core.
  3. Convenience: You can do push-ups virtually anywhere, making them a convenient exercise for home workouts or while traveling.
  4. Variations: There are numerous push-up variations to challenge yourself, targeting different muscle groups and intensities.
  5. Functional Fitness: Push-ups mimic real-life movements, enhancing functional fitness and everyday activities.

Incorporate push-ups into your fitness routine by doing multiple sets with varying hand positions or adding them as a part of a circuit workout. Combining push-ups with other bodyweight exercises or weight training can help you achieve your fitness goals efficiently.

The Role of Diet in Calorie Management

While understanding the calorie-burning potential of push-ups is valuable, it’s important to recognize that exercise alone is not the sole driver of fat loss or weight management. A balanced diet plays a significant role in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Here are some key dietary considerations:

  1. Caloric Intake: To lose weight, you need to maintain a calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than you expend. Tracking your daily calorie intake and expenditure can be helpful in this regard.
  2. Macronutrient Balance: Pay attention to your macronutrient ratios. A well-balanced diet with an appropriate distribution of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can support your overall health and fitness goals.
  3. Nutrient Quality: Prioritize nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, to provide essential vitamins and minerals for overall well-being.
  4. Hydration: Staying adequately hydrated is crucial for energy levels, overall health, and optimal exercise performance.
  5. Meal Timing: Timing your meals around your workout sessions can help optimize your energy levels and recovery. Consuming a balanced meal or snack before and after exercise can be beneficial.


Push-ups are a valuable exercise for building strength, endurance, and overall fitness. While they might not be the most calorie-burning exercise in isolation, they offer numerous benefits that make them an essential component of a well-rounded fitness routine. The number of calories burned during push-ups depends on various factors, including intensity, duration, and individual body weight.

It’s important to view push-ups as part of a holistic approach to health and fitness. Combining regular exercise with a balanced diet is the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight and overall well-being. Push-ups, along with other strength-building and cardiovascular exercises, contribute to your fitness journey, helping you reach your goals and lead a healthy lifestyle.