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Pushups are a superior exercise when it comes to developing muscle and stamina. While the move is included in numerous workouts aimed at burning fat, the pushup itself does not burn fat off any area of your body -- including your chest. Spot fat reduction is simply not possible. To lose chest fat, you must lose fat all over your body.
You cannot cause fat to shrink from a specific region no matter how hard you try, notes the American Council on Exercise. If you have excess chest fat, you must commit to a low-calorie diet and increased exercise -- pushups included -- to lose weight. When you lose weight, your body will drop fat -- some of which will come off at your chest.
Pushups, along with barbell presses and flyes, will build the muscles that lie underneath your chest fat. As you lose weight, the defined muscles will become more apparent. If you do not lose weight, the added muscle may actually make your chest appear larger.
Pushups may not burn fat directly, but they are often part of a workout plan that helps you burn major calories -- contributing to fat loss. Pushups engage your upper body primarily but also activate the muscles of the back, abs and legs to assist and stabilize the movement. Doing numerous pushups in quick succession raises your heart rate. If you include them as part of a strength and cardio circuit -- along with sprints, squats, lunges and planks -- you have a workout that can help you burn off total body fat.
Pushups are a great start, but you need to participate in at least 250 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity weekly, such as power walking, to lose weight, says the American College of Sports Medicine. Pushups may be part of a resistance training program that will help you build lean muscle mass so you burn more calories while at rest, also helping you lose body fat all over and potentially at your chest. Include additional resistance exercises for other major body parts, including the arms, back, hips, legs, hips and abs, on two nonconsecutive days per week. Even though pushups activate many of these muscles, you need additional moves that target them directly for a complete strength routine.