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Push-ups Are A Better Abs Exercise Than Crunches


So I had a question the other day about push-ups…the client wondered if I honestly believed push-ups were better for your abs than things like crunches. Do I?  ABSO-FRICKIN-LUTELY!

Push-ups are a better abs exercise than crunches.

Oh yes, I said it and you’re darn right I believe it.

Crunches seem to be the Holy Grail for abs exercises, yet they don’t hold much water (or wine?) when it comes to really slicing off that layer of goo you have sitting on your stomach.

Sure they make your abs ‘burn’ and feel like you’re working your stomach, which in turn makes you feel like you might lose stomach fat, but they just don’t work that way.

Sorry to burst your crunching bubble, but they don’t.

But why are push-ups better than crunches to lose stomach fat?

For one they move a heck of a lot more muscle, which is the true key to losing fat.  In addition to working your core (which is much more than your abs), push-ups work your arms, chest and shoulders.  By my count, that’s a lot more muscle than just the “six pack muscles”.

Plus, as I just mentioned, push-ups do work your core.  When you take a step back and look at a push-up, it’s essentially a moving Plank (the Plank is the king of core exercises).  Your body is stable except you’re moving up and down…OK, so it’s not that stable, but you get the idea.

The big problem when it comes to push-ups and turning them into an effective core and abs exercise is that many people do them wrong.

I can count on one hand the number of new clients who have come in to my studio and done a perfect (or decent) push-up.  Most people’s cores are very weak when they start out and they try to make it easier, either consciously or subconsciously, by cheating.

Well, the Fit Dad is here to save the day with your push-ups because I made a video about how to do them properly and I included a beginner variation so even if you’re new to the workout world you can still make your push-ups an effective core exercise, not to mention an awesome strengthening and fat burning exercise.

How To Do A Push-Up

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Before I let you go I thought I’d share another video demonstrating a few different push-up variations.

I loves me some push-ups, but the standard ones get a bit boring once you have it mastered.  If you can do 10 reps of the standard push-up…it’s time to move on and step it up a notch.

Here’s that video…

Push-Up Variations (Still better than crunches for your abs!)

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As usual, if you have any questions or comments, leave a comment below.

I love hearing from you, either good or bad.  Speaking of bad, I just had a lady unsubscribe because she said I was boring.  I don’t think I’m boring.  I think I’m a pretty cool dude – which just by saying that means I’m not.

Have a great day!


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Comments (53)

  • Petra a.k.a. The Wise (Young) Mommy

    Awesome. I hate push-ups.

    I gave you an award on my blog, so go get it dude!

  • The Fit Dad

    Damn you’re quick! I just posted this like 30 seconds ago!

    I saw my award, thank you! I hope you’re feeling better. It seems like you told me over a month ago that you were coming down with something and it just came down with full force last week. Yikes!

    About the push-ups, they get easier. But as they get easier, you need to make them tougher. I’m going to make a video where I cover 50 different push-up variations. I’ve tried it before and have fallen flat on my face because I try to do too many…it hurts.

  • Doug

    Great site FitDad!

    If you’re interested in tracking the number of push-ups you do, check out Here’s my progress.

    The site helps you track the number of push-ups you do, provides metrics that keep you aware of your progress and compares your progress to others who are doing push-ups.


  • Aziz

    Thanks man. I’ve been doing it wrong really and I felt a lot of pain in my shoulders. So now that I’m doing it right, I feel a lot better. So thank you again.


    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      Hey Aziz,
      Glad I could help. You’re right. Doing push-ups correctly take a lot of strain off the shoulder joint and put it where it belongs – on the muscles.

      Keep working hard buddy and let me know if you need anything. I’m here to help.

  • Francisco

    Errrrrr! Wrong! “yet they don’t hold much water (or wine?) when it comes to really slicing off that layer of goo you have sitting on your stomach” I hope you aren’t implying that pushups are any better for trimming the fatty cells from your midsection? I agree that pushups are great for subtle core strength, but if you want to target a specific muscle group, then you must ACTUALLY TARGET THAT GROUP! You don’t do heavy squats and say “Well, calves are a secondary muscle group working here so I’ve just finished my calve exercises!

    I used to bodybuild, and I didn’t do many ab workouts in order to get a good midsection. But I did have to do some extremely specific and concentrated ab exercises to get a GREAT midsection.

    If you want to more athletic body composition (less fat, especially around the belly) then the only way to do this is by doing exercise at your target heart rate in excess of about 20 minutes. Thus, CARDIO! Below the 20 minute mark you are primarily burning Adenosine Triphosphate, Creatine stores, carbohydrates and protein. After about the 20 minute mark you get into lipids and fatty storage for fuel (resulting in that runner’s high).

    This isn’t just my personal training experience talking, its also an $80K college educationin Exercise Science. =]

    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      Hi Francisco!

      I appreciate your comments and it sounds like you’re a very knowledgeable individual and you have to understand WHO I’m talking to.

      I’m not talking to the bodybuilding market, nor am I talking to the people that have loads of free time to devote to exercise. I’m talking to the busy moms and dads out there.

      If you don’t have much time to exercise, why the hell would you even attempt to “isolate” a muscle group? If I’m working with a busy executive/dad, why on earth would I even tell him to do any type of crunch variation, when he most likely has back issues, and it’s an ineffective way to spend time.

      It’s a pretty widely known fact that Planks are great at working the abs, right? Well, unless my eyes deceive me, a properly completed push-up is essentially a Plank that’s moving up and down.

      Your abs are engaged…if you are doing it properly.

      But again, I’m not talking to the bodybuilding market. Telling busy moms and dads to train like a bodybuilder is stupid (I’m not saying you’re stupid). I’m giving people a way to get their workouts done in a fraction of the time.

      As far as your cardio explanation – I’ve read that before too. I have the same textbooks. Big deal. Doesn’t mean it’s the best way for my clients to work. And, while I do agree that cardio is valuable and has its place, telling people that if they want to lose body fat, their best bet is to do cardio for at least 20 minutes is flat out wrong. It’s outdated information. Does cardio work? Yes. Does it have its place? Yes. Is it the ONLY way to lose fat? Nope. Is it the BEST way to lose fat? Nope. Is it the most time effective way to lose fat? Nope.

      Push-ups are a great way to work the abs. Period.

  • Fernando

    Man, thanks for sharing this important video with us. I was doing push ups way wrong and now I see why it benefits abs! I see that going all the way down really works it out, but also I feel that you make more effort in your arms, haha… But no pain, no gain! Keep up the good work! I will try to do my part.

  • T

    The 100 pushups website coincides with this pretty good.
    I tracked off of my normal routine to do this and see where it gets me. At the moment it’s pushing my limit at week 4 day 1.
    Plus, as far as muscle builders go, how many can say they can do 100 pushups?

  • Farhan

    I heard that pushups also work out the upper and lower back somewhat, especially the Hindu pushup. What do you think?

    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      I love Hindu Push-ups and you’re right – they do work the upper and lower back.

      If you’re using good form and tempo, the lowering phase of the push-up specifically works the upper back plus the shoulder stability of the entire exercise helps.

      The lower back is strengthened simply from maintaining the push-up posture – straight line.

  • O'Dane

    Hey, FitDad…..ummm — just a few quick questions:

    1) How often should pushups be done (alternate days, consecutive days)?

    2) Is the pushup exercise effective by doing a straight 100, or breaking them up in at least 4 sets, to failure?

    Appreciate the video by the way, confirmed a lotta stuff that I considered and your video is bound to reach masses far and wide.


    • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

      Hi O’Dane!

      It really depends upon your fitness level and the amount of push-ups you’re doing.

      I’ve known people who are very fit to do hundreds of push-ups every day. while I don’t recommend that, I won’t say that you can’t do them every day.

      I typically do push-ups every day – but I also don’t do a lot of horizontal pressing movements with weight (bench press, etc.).

      When i write programs I tend to put them on alternate days – so anywhere from 2-4 days per week.

      As for your second question, it depends. The more difficult the type of push-up, the less likely you’ll be of doing very many in a row.

      For instance, if your workout calls for Decline Push-ups, it’s going to be much harder to do 100 of those than it would regular push-ups.

      I think that if you’re just trying to do as many push-ups as possible, that is quite limiting and you may set yourself up for shoulder injury because you’ll be working one plane of motion a ton while probably neglecting other movements (like the upper back).

      Mix up the type of push-ups done to increase their difficulty and effectiveness.

      Hope that helps.

  • Cat

    This is great! I am so glad I found your site!

    I’m 54 years old and in the past year, I have taken off 30 pounds using an elliptical machine at work and bicycling on local trails, with slight diet modification…more fruits and vegies, smarter portions. While I can see a big difference in my lower body, I want to see more difference on my upper body.

    Today is Day #2 of doing pushups. Hopefully this will help pick up the pace a bit, as I’ve been at a plateau for several months and I want to lose 30 more pounds.

    Just a note: I work full time night shift (12 hour shifts) and can use our gym during work hours.

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  • Ed Scow, aka 'The Fit Dad'

    I love ‘Hindu’ Push-ups and do them regularly. They are tough and you need to have a pretty strong and healthy core to do them properly, but if you can master them, they are awesome.


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