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Do Push-Ups Increase Stamina? (Explained For Beginners)

You’ve probably heard us say many times by now that push-ups are a great exercise.

As great as push-ups are though, it’s interesting to note that people do push-ups for different reasons.

Some do them as part of a muscle-building program while others prefer to use them as part of a cardio or endurance training program.

So, we’ve put this article together to tackle some of this confusion.

In it, we discuss the differences between aerobic endurance and muscular endurance, whether push-ups are better suited to developing one more than the other, and how many push-ups you should be doing if you’re trying to improve your aerobic or muscular endurance. 

Man doing a push-up on the carpet

The Difference Between Aerobic And Muscular Stamina/Endurance

The first thing to think about when deciding whether push-ups can increase stamina and endurance is to consider what’s actually meant by the terms stamina and endurance.

When looking at push-ups, we need to consider that stamina can mean one of two things – aerobic endurance and muscular endurance.

If you’re deciding whether push-ups have a place in your endurance training program, it’s important to have a clear understanding of which type of endurance you mean.

Aerobic endurance usually refers to your overall level of cardiovascular fitness e.g. how long you can maintain cardio-based exercises before needing to stop and recover.

Muscular endurance is not so much about how long you can do an exercise for, but rather, how many reps of a resistance exercise you can do before needing to stop and recover.

Once you’re clear on the type of endurance you want to work on, you can then look to add push-ups into your training plan dependent on what you’re actually trying to achieve.

Do Push-Ups Increase Aerobic Stamina & Endurance? How?

Push-ups certainly can increase aerobic stamina but this isn’t the primary focus of the exercise.

When doing push-ups, there are multiple muscles working at the same time. Your chest, shoulders, arms, core, back, and even some of your leg muscles all activate to make the movement happen.

With so many muscle groups working together, your heart rate has to increase to get oxygenated blood to all of them as they continue working.

An increased heart rate over a sustained period of time (like when doing multiple sets of push-ups) is one of the ways to increase aerobic stamina and endurance.

How Many Push-Ups Should You Do To Increase Aerobic Stamina & Endurance?

The number of push-ups you ultimately do will mainly depend on your ability to do them in the first place.

If you’re a beginner, then push-ups may be extremely challenging for you and you might not be able to do many before needing a break.

However, as a general rule, multiple sets of more than 20 push-ups is usually a good range to aim for if you want to increase your aerobic endurance.

Do Push-Ups Increase Muscular Stamina & Endurance? How?

Yes, push-ups increase muscular stamina and endurance, but only if you do enough of them.

If you only ever do 10 – 15 push-ups, you won’t actually be increasing your muscular endurance (or strength).

That’s not to say that doing 10 – 15 push-ups is bad, it definitely isn’t, it’s just that by doing them repeatedly without increasing the number of reps, you’ll only ever be maintaining your current level of muscular endurance.

By increasing the number of reps, your muscles adapt to being put under stress for longer periods of time.

This is essentially what muscular endurance is – your muscles being able to work for longer than they previously could.

How Many Push-Ups Should You Do To Increase Muscular Stamina & Endurance?

This will be completely dependent on your current level of muscular endurance.

If you can do 5 push-ups before needing to stop, then doing multiple sets of 5 can be useful until the working muscles adapt and are able to do more consecutive repetitions.

However, if you can already do 30 push-ups, you’ll have to do multiple sets of 30 until the working muscles are able to cope with doing more.

A simple answer is to do as many push-ups as you can until you’re able to add reps to even one of your sets.

Repeat this until you’re able to increase the rep range of each set of push-ups you do.

Are Push-Ups More Strength Or Cardio?

Although push-ups can be used as both a strength exercise and a cardio exercise, they’ll always predominantly be a strength exercise.

The fact that you’re lifting up to 70% of your total body weight using the muscles in your upper body definitely makes them fall more into the category of strength training than cardiovascular training. 


In summary:

  • Push-ups can help increase stamina as they work multiple muscle groups, so your heart has to work hard to pump blood to each of these muscle groups.
  • Since push-ups are predominantly a resistance exercise, they’re not the best for increasing your aerobic stamina and endurance.

That’s all for this article, but are decline push ups harder than regular? Or do push ups reduce face fat?

Hope this helped!


Aerobic & Muscular Endurance