How Many Pushups Should I Do A Day? Top Tips + Guidance

We'll look at how many pushups you should do per day based on your personal goals, fitness level, and workout routine, as well as tips for building strength, weight loss, and how to avoid injury

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Pushups are one of the most popular bodyweight exercises.

With the wide range of ways to modify pushups for beginners and progress them for more advanced athletes, pushups are a great exercise for people of all fitness levels. 

There are many strength benefits of pushups, as they stimulate growth in numerous upper-body and core muscles, including the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor chest muscles, the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles in the shoulders, the triceps in the upper arms, the rhomboids and trapezius muscles in the upper back and the abdominal muscles in the core.1Calatayud, J., Borreani, S., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., & Rogers, M. E. (2014). Muscle Activity Levels in Upper-Body Push Exercises With Different Loads and Stability Conditions. The Physician and Sportsmedicine42(4), 106–119. https://doi.org/10.3810/psm.2014.11.2097

Best of all, as a bodyweight exercise, pushups don’t require any equipment, so they can be done anywhere at any time. But, you may be asking yourself, how many pushups should I do a day? And how many pushups a day are necessary to see results?

In this article, we will discuss the recommendations for how many pushups a day are necessary to see results, based on different fitness levels and goals.

Let’s get started!

How Many Pushups Should I Do A Day? Top Tips + Guidance 1

How To Do Pushups Correctly

Firstly, if you’re thinking about doing pushups every day, it’s very important to make sure you know the proper form for standard push-ups so as not to injure yourself and to make sure you get maximum benefits.

Perfect Pushup Technique:

  • Keep your entire body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. This is because when your hips sag, it can strain your lower back, and if you hike your hips up into the air above the line of your body, it can put more torque on your shoulders and wrists.
  • Keep your core and glutes engaged the entire time to help maintain a straight back.
  • Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should all be stacked vertically in a line, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • As you move down, your elbows should bend mostly backward toward your feet rather than flare out to the sides. 
  • Move your body through the full range of motion, which means starting up with your elbows fully extended and then lowering your body down until your chest hovers just above the ground with your elbows bent at least 90°. 
  • Do not “cheat“ on the range of motion by failing to go deep enough or not pushing back up to vertical before beginning the next rep.

How Many Pushups Should I Do a Day?

There isn’t necessarily a set number of pushups you need to do per day to see “results” that will universally apply to everyone.

In other words, there are no research studies that conclude “You should do ten pushups a day to see results” or even “you should do 100 pushups a day to see results.“

Rather, the number of pushups you should do per day depends on numerous factors, including your fitness level, primary fitness goal, and the other exercises and workouts you perform as part of your overall fitness routine.

Let’s look at each of these factors individually.

Which Factors Determine How Many Pushups You Should Do Per Day To See Results?

#1: Your Fitness Level

The number of pushups you can and should do per day is largely dependent on your current fitness level.

Beginners will not be able to safely perform as many pushups as someone who has been working out consistently for a long time. Also, beginners will not need to do as many pushups to see results.

A person doing a pushup.

Initial gains in strength and muscle mass for beginners are more appreciable than they eventually become for well-trained athletes. 

When first starting strength training, in addition to being able to build muscle mass more quickly (hypertrophy), which in turn increases strength, you will also see rapid and significant improvements in neuromuscular coordination and firing patterns.2Lopez, P., Radaelli, R., Taaffe, D. R., Newton, R. U., Galvão, D. A., Trajano, G. S., Teodoro, J., Kraemer, W. J., Häkkinen, K., & Pinto, R. S. (2020). Resistance Training Load Effects on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain. Medicine & Science in Sports & ExercisePublish Ahead of Print(6). https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000002585

These neural adaptations lead to large improvements in strength rather quickly, even before you start building a noticeable amount of new muscle tissue.

Therefore, if a beginner starts doing 10 to 20 pushups per day every day, he or she will begin to see and feel increases in the strength and size of the muscles involved in the pushup exercise (pectoralis major and minor in the chest; deltoids and rotator cuffs in the shoulders; trapezius, rhomboids, serratus anterior, and latissimus dorsi in the back; and the core muscles).3Calatayud, J., Borreani, S., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., & Rogers, M. E. (2014). Muscle Activity Levels in Upper-Body Push Exercises With Different Loads and Stability Conditions. The Physician and Sportsmedicine42(4), 106–119. https://doi.org/10.3810/psm.2014.11.2097

On the other hand, an experienced athlete who has been training consistently in the gym performing a well-rounded, high-volume hypertrophy or strength training program several times per week for a year or more will likely not notice an appreciable increase in muscular size or upper body strength with just 10 to 20 pushups per day.

A higher training volume—more than 10-20 regular pushups per day—would probably be required to see results.

Alternatively, more advanced pushup variations, such as plyometric pushups, decline pushups, diamond pushups, and one-handed push-ups, might be necessary at that low volume (10-20 pushups per day).

A person doing a one-armed pushup.

#2: Your Fitness Goal

Another major factor that affects how many push-ups you should do per day is your primary fitness goal.

Different fitness goals influence the recommended training volume for any type of exercise, including pushups.

How many pushups should you do per day for weight loss?

How many pushups should you do per day to build muscle?

How many pushups should you do per day to get stronger?

These types of questions help narrow down the recommendations for how many pushups you should do per day when also taken into the context of your fitness level (as previously discussed) and your overall fitness routine (to follow).

With that in mind, it is difficult to make unilateral recommendations for how many pushups you should do per day for each of these stated fitness goals due to other contributing factors.

A person doing a decline pushup.

#3: Your Overall Fitness Routine

Again, the other types of exercises and workouts you perform certainly affect how many pushups you should do per day.

If you’re doing mostly cardio workouts and very little strength training, you’ll want to do more pushups per day (and more days per week) to better meet the guidelines for physical activity for adults. 

According to the recommendations for physical activity for adults set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should be doing at least two total-body strength training workouts per week or engaging in a strength training program that trains each of the major muscles twice per week.4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

Therefore, it is important to note that it is best to perform a well-rounded strength training routine that targets all of the major muscles of your body. 

So, for example, if you are doing an upper-body/lower-body split routine, you will want to train at least four days per week so that the muscle groups in your upper body and lower body are each worked twice.

On the other hand, if you are an avid gym goer and are routinely performing numerous strength training workouts per week targeting all of the major muscles in your body, particularly those that are worked during the pushup exercise, you will not need to do as many pushups per day to still target these same muscle groups.5Kikuchi, N., & Nakazato, K. (2017). Low-load bench press and push-up induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness15(1), 37–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2017.06.003

A person doing a pushup.

Ultimately, there’s no single best answer for how many pushups you should do a day to see results. 

You need to consider your current fitness level, primary fitness goals, and how pushups fit into the overall context of your workout routine. 

With that said, pushups are a fantastic bodyweight exercise, so particularly if you enjoy doing them and you don’t feel like you are teetering on the edge of overtraining or overdoing it, do as many pushups per day as you can. 

You may even consider taking on a 30-day push-up challenge!

A person doing a pushup in a gym.

How Many Push-Ups Should You Do Per Day To Build Muscle And Increase Strength?

As previously touched upon, your fitness level will have a significant impact on how many push-ups you need to do per day to build muscle and increase strength.

Your overall training program will also have an impact because if you are performing other strength training exercises, particularly resistance training exercises that involve weights such as dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, your will be able to build muscle more quickly and efficiently than with bodyweight exercises, such as pushups, alone.

If you are following a total-body strength training program or push/pull workout routine and perform exercises such as chest press, bench press, tricep extensions, dips, chest flyes, and shrugs, you are already working most of the muscles involved in pushups so you will not necessarily need to do as many pushups per day to strengthen these muscles.

You can try different variations of push-ups to further enhance strength gains.

As a general recommendation, if just doing pushups, try to perform at least two sets of reps with two-minute breaks in between sets, whilst doing enough reps in each set so that it is challenging, but doesn’t completely exhaust you.

Additionally, make sure to maintain good form to maximize the strength benefits.

How Many Push-Ups Should You Do Per Day To Lose Weight?

Ultimately, just doing pushups will not be the most effective form of exercise or training routine for weight loss. Weight loss requires generating a consistent caloric deficit, such that you are habitually burning more calories per day than you are consuming.

To lose one pound of body fat, you need to generate a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories, which works out to 500 calories per day to lose one pound of fat per week.

If you are mostly working on losing weight by restricting your caloric intake, it is possible that you can lose weight by adding pushups to your routine.

However, pushups burn relatively few calories, and most people cannot perform particularly long workouts of pushups. Therefore, you will want to engage in a more well-rounded exercise routine, including other strength training exercises and cardio exercises, to lose weight.

If you truly wanted to only do pushups to lose weight, you would need to do several hundred per day, depending on your body weight and your caloric intake.

A person doing a pushup outside.

How Can I Tell If I’m Doing Too Many Pushups Per Day?

Is It Safe to Do Pushups Every Day?

Whilst you should be careful if you have had any upper body injuries, it is likely safe to do pushups every day, as long as you are not overtraining or pushing too hard, and you are maintaining the correct form.

As always – listen to your body.

If you are pushing your body hard and getting close to your maximum number of possible reps during pushup sets every day, you might want to consider dialing it back a little or taking rest days. Just because you can do a certain number of reps, doesn’t mean you should.

How to Tell if You’re Overtraining

It is important to allow your muscles time to recover between workouts in order to properly strengthen them.

Whilst some muscle soreness as a result of working out is usual, if you are feeling significant pain during or after your workout then take a break and maybe speak to a medical professional or a qualified personal trainer.

If you are working yourself to the point of complete exhaustion during every workout, then it may be time to dial it back a little. Challenge yourself, but don’t damage yourself.

The 8 Most Common Signs And Symptoms Of Overtraining

  • Tiredness – feeling sluggish and unusually fatigued
  • Resting heart rate elevated (if you notice that it is 3-5 beats higher than usual)
  • Lack of interest in training (not feeling like going to training)
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Aches/pains persistent
  • The body takes longer to recover
  • Hard to concentrate and focus on work/studies
  • Common cold-like symptoms – body defenses are low.
A person doing a kneeling pushup.

References

  • 1
    Calatayud, J., Borreani, S., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., & Rogers, M. E. (2014). Muscle Activity Levels in Upper-Body Push Exercises With Different Loads and Stability Conditions. The Physician and Sportsmedicine42(4), 106–119. https://doi.org/10.3810/psm.2014.11.2097
  • 2
    Lopez, P., Radaelli, R., Taaffe, D. R., Newton, R. U., Galvão, D. A., Trajano, G. S., Teodoro, J., Kraemer, W. J., Häkkinen, K., & Pinto, R. S. (2020). Resistance Training Load Effects on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain. Medicine & Science in Sports & ExercisePublish Ahead of Print(6). https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000002585
  • 3
    Calatayud, J., Borreani, S., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., & Rogers, M. E. (2014). Muscle Activity Levels in Upper-Body Push Exercises With Different Loads and Stability Conditions. The Physician and Sportsmedicine42(4), 106–119. https://doi.org/10.3810/psm.2014.11.2097
  • 4
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 2). How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm
  • 5
    Kikuchi, N., & Nakazato, K. (2017). Low-load bench press and push-up induce similar muscle hypertrophy and strength gain. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness15(1), 37–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2017.06.003
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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