Are Push-Ups A Right Exercise To Burn Fat?
Exercises are quickly becoming part and parcel of our lives. Exercising regularly is associated with so many health benefits. There are a slew of exercises a person can do to strengthen their body. Most people work out in order to impact their weight. One particular exercise that is part of everybody’s workout regimen is push up. In this read, we shall look at the different variations of push ups, the benefits of doing push ups and if push ups help in weight loss.
Most people think push ups are exercises that are only used to exercise the chest (8). This is a far cry from the truth. Push ups are strength training exercises. This means their main aim is to build strength and muscles in a person. Push ups work out many muscles at a go. Push ups mostly work the upper body (5). This is a good thing as most people work out their lower bodies more. This is mostly through involuntary exercises like taking a stroll, climbing a flight of stairs, standing and so on. Push ups help work out your chest, shoulders, triceps, and your core muscles (11).
Push ups are body weight exercises. What does this mean, it means that they do not need any equipment and use the weight of the body as the source of resistance. Since they do not need any equipment, adopting them to your workout routine becomes easy. This is quite an advantage especially during this pandemic as you can work out right in the comfort of your own home, any time you want. There are so many variations of push ups. This means you can never get bored of doing push ups (1).
Different Types Of Push-Ups And Weight Loss: Do Push Ups Burn Fat?
Apart from building muscles and strength, they are also said to help in weight loss. A characteristic of a good fat-loss exercise is the number of muscles the exercise engages at a single time. As you have seen, push ups engage the chest muscles, the shoulder muscles, the triceps and the core muscles. This makes them a good fat-loss exercise.
People like their push ups differently. There are those who like their push ups to have a higher intensity while others like to do them in a low intensity. Experienced people who have gotten used to push ups like to switch it up here and there. They prefer high-intensity push ups as they will present them with a challenge and that is the key to strength training exercises. As long as an exercise is challenging it will have an effect on you.
Just like the way other people prefer their push ups in a high-intensity, there are some that prefer them in a lower intensity. This is mostly the case when it comes to beginners and people recovering from an injury. Beginners do this because they are not used to the exercise while people recovering from an injury do low-intensity push ups so that they do not reinjure themselves and also to give their bodies the chance to ease up slowly until they can handle high-intensity push ups.
The Best Part About Push-Ups
The best part about push ups is that they can be done by almost anyone. If your goal is to build strength and keep fit then push ups can be incorporated into your work out session. There are other people who should not do push ups. Pregnant people for example should not be doing push ups especially during the last trimester. People who suffer from a shoulder impingement should also not do the push ups (10). If you are about to try an exercise you have never done before, it is advisable for you to first consult an expert about it and you should do the first try of the exercise under the supervision of an expert. This helps prevent you from doing the exercise wrongly and also prevents you from injuring yourself. With that said, is there a right way to do push ups?
How To Do Push-Ups Correctly?
There is one assured way to make sure an exercise works for you and that is by doing the exercise correctly. When you do the exercise correctly, you are able to get all or almost all the benefits associated with that exercise. When it comes to push ups, maintaining your form is very important (9).
- The first thing to do is to get into a high plank position. You should try to make sure your hands are just a tiny bit wider than shoulder width. Your palms should be directly under your shoulders. Your body should be able to form a straight line that runs from your neck to your heels (6).
- While you are in that position, try to engage your core muscles and pull your shoulder blades down and back.
- The next thing to do is to lower yourself to the ground. You should be able to do that by bending your elbows and pushing your shoulders forward.
- Make sure to lower yourself down until your chest is almost about to touch the ground. Relax in that position for a couple of seconds, breath out and push your body back to the starting position.
To know if you are doing the exercise correctly, you should be able to feel the targeted muscles working. This is to say your chest muscles should become exhausted as you move closer to your reps range (10). Your chest muscles are likely to become engorged with blood and they will definitely look and feel fuller. You may also experience your chest muscles burning. This is due to the build up of lactic acid.
How Many Reps Of Push-Ups Should You Do?
This entirely depends on your goal. If your goal is to purely build strength as is mostly the case with people doing push ups, doing 4 to 6 repetitions is the best for you (10). If you are not able to do these many reps with straight legs, you can use the knee-based way to start until you are used to push ups. In case you can comfortably do more than 6 reps easily, the key is to try to make the exercise a little tougher for yourself. The best way to make an exercise a bit tougher is by adding resistance to it. In a gym setting, you can ask an expert to place a load on your upper back. This helps increase resistance and makes the exercise more challenging.
If you are new to the exercise, or you are doing push ups for overall fitness, it is better to do more repetitions (10).
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How Many Push-Ups Should You Do In A Day?
Since now you know the amount of reps you should generally do, it is also important to know the number of push ups you should do in a single day. When it comes to push-ups, the biggest problem is that most people overdo them while others don’t do enough of them.
Push ups can be very difficult in the beginning. The best way to master the perfect form for push ups is to keep doing them regularly. With push ups, it is better to start with the number of push ups you can do and increase the number with time. There is no limit as to how many push ups you can do in a day. There are people who do up to 300 push ups in a day. Of course those are pros. An average fit person should be able to do somewhere between 50 and 100 push ups in a single day (7).
100 Push-Ups In A Day
If your goal is to get to 100 push ups in a day, you can start with a number like 30 or 20 push ups in a day. If it becomes easy to do the 30 push ups, it means your muscles have grown and are now used to 30 push ups. Any number of push ups that is below 30 will now not challenge you and your muscles will stop growing (7). This is where you add the number of push ups. You should keep doing this throughout your fitness journey.
When it comes to doing push-ups, there are a few things you need to check. You should make sure you keep your back straight as if you were in a plank position. You should also make sure your spine is straight when lowering your body towards the floor. If your back is arched and your shoulders are hunched, you are probably working against yourself. No matter how many push-ups you do, if you don’t do them right then it is of no use. A bad form can put you at risk of getting an injury.
Do Push-Ups Burn Fat And Build Muscles?
Push ups are quite effective when it comes to building muscles. The same cannot be said when it comes to helping one lose weight. Although they are a good exercise, they do not trigger a quick fat burn. This is due to the fact that push ups do not cause a significantly elevated heart rate. With this said, it does not mean they do not help in weight loss at all. Push ups aid in burning fat by:
Increasing A Person’s Metabolism
Push ups are known to easily help one build muscles and strength. Lean muscles are quite helpful when it comes to weight loss. This is due to the fact that muscles have a higher resting metabolism compared to fat mass. What this means is that muscles burn more calories at rest compared to fat mass. The more muscles you have, the higher is your resting metabolic rate. Gaining 3 pounds of muscle mass can help you burn more than 600 extra calories per week (4). This is how push ups mainly help people burn fat. They help build muscles and muscles help increase a person’s metabolism.
Being Part Of A Circuit Training
Another way you can use push ups to lose those extra pounds is by including them as part of your circuit training. Circuit training is a training that involves doing many different exercises in quick succession (4). The key is to devote as little time as possible to every exercise. For your circuit training, you can do push ups, pull ups, squats, lifting weight, and running. What circuit training does is it adds a cardiovascular element to the exercise. This is still the case even if your circuit training is made up of strength training exercises. The cardiovascular element is brought up by the quick succession of exercises (4). This helps burn more calories compared to doing the exercises slowly. That is another way push ups can aid in burning fat.
Increasing The Challenge
Yet another way this particular type of exercise can be used to help burn fat. You don’t have to always settle for the standard push up, try to make your push up more challenging. You can do this by adding resistance or by changing the elevation (4). Making push ups more challenging makes your body work even harder and adds a slight cardiovascular element to the workout.
Those are some of the ways you can use push ups to burn fat.
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How Many Calories Do Push-Ups Burn?
Although push ups are known to be strength training exercises, it is important to know how many calories they burn. This is particularly important if you plan to use push ups to burn fat. The number of calories they burn differs from one person to another. A 155 pound person is said to burn as much as 5 ½ calories for doing a minute of push ups (3). This is not quite a big number, but this in addition to the numerous benefits associated with doing push ups makes it worth it.
Benefits Of Doing Push-Ups
There are a number of benefits associated with doing push ups. These benefits are:
They Help Build Strength
This is well known to everyone. Push ups help increase your strength and build muscles. Push ups are classified as a compound exercise (2). What this means is that they exercise many muscle groups at a go. They are known to exercise the biceps, the core muscles, the triceps, the anterior deltoids and other muscle groups. This helps increase overall body strength. Being strong enables you to carry out your daily activities with ease.
They Help Improve Flexibility
Push ups help in stretching the muscles (2). They are able to achieve this through the movement involved. This stretching effect of the muscles helps increase flexibility as well as preventing injury.
They Help Improve Your Posture
Most people have desk jobs which are likely to interfere with their posture. A common reason for lack of a proper posture is weak core muscles (2). Push ups help improve your posture by working out your core muscles.
They Are Cheap
Push ups offer a person a full-body working without a person having to spend any money buying equipment or enrolling in a gym (2). They don’t need any equipment as they use the body as resistance and can be done anywhere.
The Bottom Line
Do push ups burn fat? Yes they do, as we have illustrated above. You should try to add push ups to your workout sessions to experience the numerous benefits that come with them.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 7 Awesome Fat-Burning Exercises You Can Do at Home (2015, stack.com)
- 10 Massive Benefits of Push Ups (n.d., keepinspiring.me)
- Do Pushups Burn Fat? (2018, livehealthy.chron.com)
- Do Pushups Burn Fat? (n.d., ivestrong.com)
- Do Pushups Help You Lose Weight? (2013, healthfully.com)
- How Many Calories Do Pushups Burn? (2019, healthline.com)
- How many push-ups should you do in a day? (2019, timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
- How to Get Rid of Back Fat: Exercises, Foods, and Lifestyle Changes (2019, eatthis.com)
- Proper Push-Up Ultimate Guide: How to Do Push Ups with Correct Form (2020, nerdfitness.com)
- The Diet Detective: The Benefits of Push-Ups (n.d., active.com)
- The health benefits of push-ups and how to do them correctly to get the most out of your workout (2020, insider.com)