How Many Pushups A Day To Gain Muscle? The Answer Will Surprise You

Written By Michael Hall

Proud father of two beautiful daughters and a seasoned ISSA certified personal trainer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. 

Push-ups are a popular exercise routine that is now almost synonymous with working out, and especially recommended by fitness professionals for those who wish to build their upper body muscles and strength. The exercise is quite flexible and requires minimal space to execute. Even better is that you don’t need any training equipment to perform the routine, but it is very effective all the same.

Not only will it help build your muscle mass, but it can also help to burn calories, tone your physique and boost your overall fitness. But how many push-ups a day do you need to do to build your muscles? 10? 20? 50? Or 100 and above?

This is one question many newbies ask, and it is a valid one. Below, we break down the proper way to do push-ups, then we go on to reveal the benefits and how many push-ups you need to do daily to achieve your fitness goals.

What Is A Proper Push-Up?

Let’s set the ball rolling by explaining what a proper push-up is or how to do pushups correctly. The first thing to bear in mind is that despite being a very good exercise routine, you will not get the desired results if you don’t execute it properly. So a proper push-up is done by observing the following:

  • Expand the position of your hands, so they are positioned away from your shoulders. You must maintain a shoulder-width position at chest level when doing push-ups.
  • Your lower body should not be left out despite being an upper-body exercise. Your feet must be spread apart, and your hips must not come in contact.
  • Your hips must also align with your shoulders, with your lower back maintaining a neutral curve that is not overly curved or flat. The best way to maintain this posture is to tighten your belly button to firm up your abdominal muscles. This is very similar to a plank position.
  • Lastly, your head should be in alignment with your shoulders rather than dropping down towards the floor as your up and down movement. Getting the position right is very important if you want your push-up routine to have the desired impact.
  • Push-ups On A Wall or Elevated Surface: Some experts recommend doing a variation of pushups on walls or an elevated surface, but we do not recommend this for newbies. If you must try it, make sure the surface is balanced with good support so you don’t risk injury should it tip over.
  • Push-ups On A Bench: For push-ups on benches, ensure that the bench has an extended deck to accommodate the full length of your body, and also make sure that it has strong legs and an adequate frame to support your weight.

Execute The Proper Movement

Here’s how to execute a push-up correctly:

  • Once you are in the right headspace and your body is in the proper position, tighten your abdominal muscles and squeeze your glutes.
  • Keep the pressure of your upper body weight on your hands for support, then bend your elbows to lower your chest to the ground, but don’t let it touch the ground; bringing it close is good enough. This motion is very important to maintain your balance.
  • Let your chest, nose, and belly be at the same level, and as you make upward and downward movements, keep your core engaged and your glutes squeezed for maximum impact.
  • Avoid the temptation to go too fast, but make sure to maintain a steady pace.

What Are The Benefits of Push-Ups?

Doing push-ups daily has several benefits. Here we will discuss some of them to motivate you to stick to this daily routine:

Affects Various Muscles

One great benefit of push-ups is that it targets not one but several muscles in your upper body at the same time. These muscles are in your arms, chest, and back, including the hip muscles. Targeting several muscles with a single routine is an effective way to boost muscle mass.

Builds Upper Body Strength

Doing push-ups daily will significantly help you build upper body strength because it challenges and targets your triceps, chest, and shoulders. As your strength improves, you will realize that not too long after, you will be capable of lifting heavy items easily, unlike before when you could only do so with difficulty.

Easier to Customize

Push-ups can be modified to suit different fitness levels and goals. For example, you can do them on your knees or against a wall if you’re a beginner, or add variations like clapping push-ups or diamond push-ups to increase the intensity.

Maintain Body Shape

Another benefit of push-ups is that they help improve your trunk so you can maintain a proper body shape. Furthermore, it can improve your core strength significantly. An improved core leads to a better posture, since your shoulders, arms, back and abs will be better toned. Some push-up enthusiasts have also linked this exercise to reduction in muscle fatigue which impacts training performance.

Great For Bone Health

Also, not to forget, this exercise has positive effects on bone health. If you are at risk of osteoporosis due to low bone density, push-ups can boost your bones if you do them daily and properly. 


Last but not least, it is convenient and can be done anywhere. It is also an inexpensive exercise because you don’t need any equipment to do it. Given how versatile this routine is, you can get the same results as other muscle-building and strength-training exercises.

How Many Push-ups Are A Day To Gain Muscle?

So, how many push-ups must you do daily to gain muscle? For starters, it will depend on your current fitness level and what you hope to achieve. A fitter person can do more push-ups than another who is less fit. As a beginner, the right move will be to start slow by doing a few push-ups every day, and as you do so, listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

If you feel tired at any point, stop the routine and wait until the next day. For instance, you can start with 10-20 push-ups daily and maintain consistency. Ensure you are doing them correctly, as we have explained above, and as you get fitter, stronger and have more power, you can increase it to 30, then 50 to 100, or more.

While it is not a bad idea to do as many reps as you can, what is most important is that you do it properly. It is better to do fewer push-ups in proper form than a large number of them incorrectly. Every proper push-up has a positive effect on your muscles, so focus on quality over quantity.

How to Tell if You’re Overexerting Yourself?

How do you know if you are over-exerting yourself with your training? The best way to know is to look out for physical strain. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Difficulty Breathing – If you’re gasping for air, feeling short of breath, or experiencing chest pain, it could be a sign that you’re pushing yourself too hard.
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness – Feeling dizzy or lightheaded can be a sign that you’re not getting enough oxygen to your brain, which can be dangerous.
  • Abnormal Heart Rate – If you notice that your heart rate is significantly higher than usual or irregular, it could be a sign that you’re overexerting yourself and should slow down or stop.
  • Excessive Sweating – While sweating is a normal response to exercise, excessive sweating – especially when combined with other symptoms – can be a sign that you’re overexerting yourself.
  • Nausea or Vomiting – Feeling nauseous or vomiting can be a sign of overexertion, especially if you’ve been pushing yourself beyond your usual limits.
  • Feeling Exhausted – If you’re feeling exhausted or fatigued, even after getting enough rest, it could be a sign that you’re pushing yourself too hard during exercise.
  • Muscle Fatigue or Pain – Feeling extreme muscle fatigue or pain during or after exercise can be a sign that you’re overexerting yourself as well – especially if you’re not used to the activity. 
  • Headaches – If you experience a headache during or after exercise, it could again be a sign that you’re exercising too much.
  • Decreased Performance – If you notice a sudden decrease in your performance, such as being unable to complete an activity that you’ve done before, this is also something to watch out for.

You may also feel burning sensations in your arms, back, and chest region; some people may even experience sleeplessness or brain fog. Should you experience any of these things, you need to stop for a few days so your body can recover.


Push-ups are very effective for training your muscles and boosting upper body strength. You can start slow by doing a few push-ups daily and then scale it up every two days. The key to achieving your fitness goals is consistency and proper form push-ups.

Many people think that the number of push-ups done is what is most important, but that is not the case; no matter how many push-ups you do, if you don't do them properly, you will not get the desired results.

Lastly, always give your body time to rest. If you begin to experience severe pains and decreased strength, stop doing this exercise daily. Give your body a day or two in between sessions to rest so you can avoid injuries.