Doing five sets of 50 pushups will help a person gain muscle mass and muscle strength. Doing 10 sets of 25 pushups with shorter rest periods between sets will help burn fat and build stamina, according to LoveToKnow Exercise.
The number of pushups to include in a set depends on an individual's current level of fitness and fitness goals. People who are trying to gain muscle mass should do as many pushups in a single set as their bodies will allow, according to Men's Health, and then rest until they feel ready to do another set of the same length.
If the goal is to burn fat, build lean muscle and increase stamina, an individual should do more sets of fewer pushups (about half of the maximum number of pushups the body will allow in a single set) with very short rests between sets, according to LoveToKnow Exercise.