Are exercises like pushups considered to be cardio? Can they be used to reduce weight?
The connection between weight loss and any exercise is relatively tenuous at best.
Weight loss isn't really your goal in any case. Fat loss is. You can lose fat without losing weight. You could even gain weight to lose fat.
In any case, Cardio is not a straight path to fat loss. It's a helpful tool, it can help you burn off excess energy, but it's not required. No exercise is really required. Eating less is the only requirement.
People generally consider cardiovascular work to be endurance related. I'd only lump push ups (or any exercise) in that category if:
- You can do them for more than 30 minutes straight
Cardio works things for a long time. Often you hear the truism: 15+ reps for endurance...that doesn't make it cardiovascular, it just means your muscles are building more mitochondria rather than myostatin.
- You stop before you reach exhaustion
When you work to exhaustion your body will utilize your faster twitch muscles AND your slow twitch muscles giving you a full muscular workout. Old school boxers use push ups to improve their pushing strength...it was an old myth that weight lifting slows you down. The proof is in the pudding, in any case, those guys were huge from just doing copious amounts of push ups.
If I were to guess, probably only .01% of the world (if even that) would be able to fit into both those categories. That means, no push would not be cardio - for most people.
On that note, neither are ab exercises. I'd caution you to only do ab exercises for the purpose of getting stronger abs. Ab exercises do not take much energy to perform, so they're completely ineffective at burning off your long term energy stores. If you want a strong core, be sure you're doing safe ab exercises (no sit ups!). If you want a six pack, EAT LESS!