Are you looking for the best bodyweight chest exercises? Congratulations, you just hit jackpot!
I have listed the 8 best bodyweight exercises for your chest – and also provided instructions on how to do them. And to top it off, I have combined the exercises and crafted a super-effective bodyweight chest workout program!
Let’s jump straight to it, shall we?
At-Home Bodyweight Chest Exercises That Builds REAL Strength
Before you move on – if you are looking to strengthen other parts of your body as well, be sure to bookmark my killer bodyweight workout plan for beginners. Here you’ll find loads of helpful stuff to get your calisthenics adventure going in no time!
Ok, let’s look at the exercises:
Are you surprised that I’ve included this old-school classic?
Of course not…
This straightforward exercise helps build up your shoulder (deltoids) and chest muscles (pectorals) better than no other equipment-less exercise. To put it simply, this should be the number one pick in EVERY chest workout at home!
So, do as follows:
When you lie down and then push yourself up, you want to make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart with your legs stretched out behind you.
Make sure your hands are below the chest area for better results. Then, push your body up off the floor pressing through your hands until your elbows are straight.
During the movement, keep a plank position, and make sure to engage the core at all times – avoiding your butt to “sag.”
Keeping a good form throughout the entire exercise is essential to maximize its potential and prevent any injuries.
Ideally, do at least four sets of 8-10 for a time before adding more. But, any other variations can be done as well as you build yourself up…
The traditional push-up will be the “cornerstone exercise” to build several push-up variations upon. So be sure to do them correctly!
NB! As you get stronger, the resistance from your body weight will no longer be sufficient to challenge your muscles to promote growth.
When you reach the stadium where more resistance is needed, invest in some resistance bands or a weight vest. I use a hefty resistance band when I do my push-ups, and it sure gives those pecs a good beating!
These push-ups hit your pectoral muscles from a different angle, bringing the difficulty level one step up.
The difference between this version and regular push-ups are the placement of the feet above your hands on a vertical plane.
You can place the toes of your feet on a chair, your couch, a table, steps, or whatever you have around your house. While resting your hands on the ground, you’re creating a decline from your feet to your head.
Next, go through with the same push-up routine while maintaining a straight line with your body.
These exercises are a great way to further develop your chest muscles as well as the shoulders, arms, and upper back.
The difficulty varies with how much higher your feet are compared to your hands. But beware. The larger the angle, the more you will challenge your shoulders.
If your main goal is to work out your pecs, try keeping your legs no higher than at the height of a chair.
Towel Fly (Slide-Out & Slide-In versions)
To do this exercise, you need to be on a smooth surface with two towels that allow you to glide along the surface…
Here in Norway, we use wool socks in the winter; these slide pretty darn well on smooth surfaces. If you have a pair, put one on each hand – and you’re ready to rock!
Assume the primary push-up position where you are at the top of the push-up movement – but with each of your hands on a towel (or in the wool socks you got from your granny).
Instead of pushing yourself off the ground, gradually open the arms outward when you bend your elbows and let your chest slowly sink toward the ground.
Your hands placed the towels will be sliding slowly off to the side…
Then, when your chest hits the ground, slide your arms back inwards, bringing your hands (and the towels) back to the starting position. This is the slide-out version.
“WHEN YOU WANT TO SPECIFICALLY ZERO IN ON THE CHEST, THE ONE WAY TO DO THIS IS WITH FLYES. SINCE THE FLYE MOVEMENT WILL PLACE MUCH MORE EMPHASIS ON THE PECTORAL MUSCLES, IT’S A GOOD MOVEMENT TO USE DURING YOUR CHEST WORKOUT FOR MAXIMUM DEFINITION.”
Reference: bodybuilding.com – Expand Your Chest Dimensions With Flyes!
In the slide-in version you will only need to use one towel (if your still not using those cozy socks).
Lay the towel on the floor before you assume the standard push-up position. Both your hands should be placed on the towel.
While you push up, slide your hands together, making them touch each other at the top push-up position.
Slowly lower yourself to the starting position while your hands slide back to the sides. Repeat.
As mentioned a couple of times by now, make sure to keep the core tight and a proper form during the whole exercise.
These versions work out your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps (upper arm muscle).
Yet another push-up variation, but you don’t need other than the weight of your body to complete them.
This one has your hands next to each other with your index fingers and thumbs touch to create a diamond shape on the ground, thus the reason for its name. Then, you press upward as in a regular push-up, but with your hands close together.
Nothing fancier than that.
This type of push-ups works your pectoral muscles, as well as your elbow flexor, because you tend to squeeze these muscles to complete the repetitions.
Also, this push-up version gives the triceps a real beating as a bonus.
Yeah, I sure do love those push-ups variations!
For this version, assume a straight push-up position to start. Then flex one of your elbows while moving to the same side, lowering yourself close to the ground. However, don’t touch the ground!
You return to your starting position by pushing up to the top of your push-up, then flex your other elbow and move over to the other side.
A more challenging version is when you flex downward to one side, and then crossover to the other side low to the ground -but not touching, before pushing back upward.
Well, then watch this video to check out how it’s done:
Find a spot where you can either use two chairs to put on either side of you or some other firm furniture that is of even height.
With the chairs flanking you, place a hand on each chair and push yourself up. Lock your elbows, and lift your legs off the ground.
To target the pecs instead of the triceps, make sure to lean a bit forward (about 30 degrees or so).
Now the hard part starts:
Slowly flex your elbow to dip downward. Your underarm should not move during this movement, only your upper arm.
When reaching a 90-degree angle in your elbow joint, lift yourself upwards pressing with your chest and triceps until your arms are straight.
For the couch dip, sit on the edge of a couch and then slightly lift your body using your hands and walk your feet out.
When your knees are above your heels, bend your elbows and lower your hips toward the ground before pushing yourself back up.
The trick is to keep your hips going up and down and not moving towards or away from your furniture prop.
To make the exercise harder, find another piece of furniture to place your feet on. So, instead of resting your feet on the ground below your knees, hold your feet straight and rest your heels at the same height as your hands.
In addition to working the pectorals, dips also are a great way to strengthen your triceps, core, shoulders, and back. Dips are one of the exercises that should be included in every home workouts for chest building.
Burpee Push-Up AKA “Bastardo”
Raise your hand if you do not love the burpee. Did you keep it low?
I hope so, cause the next exercise involves some burpee-action:
Burpee is as you might know a type of aerobic exercise. It haves you moving continuously and gets the blood flowing like crazy.
If you add the push-up element to it, then you get a complete workout while strengthening your pecs at the same time. Nice, huh?
Begin in a standing position before dropping into a squat. Then, kick your feet out behind you while your arms remain extended, making you land in the upper push up position.
Next, do a push-up and get back into a low squat position. Raise your arms above your head and jump as high as you can up in the air.
Land in a standing position and clap your shoulder…
You just did a burpee with a push-up, excellent work!
Keep repeating the process (without the shoulder clapping) over and over at a steady tempo.
Doing 2 minutes of this burpee variation each morning will have your general fitness level reach new heights in no time!
Crucifix Push Up
Are you getting bored now? Here’s yet another version of the, you guessed it; The push-up.
So, what’s so special about this one then?
Let me explain:
The crucifix push up is extremely hard, but it’s worth mastering as it gives both the deltoids and core a real bang for the bucks in addition to making your muscle hurt…
Lie down with your chest front against the floor. Your arms should be straight to your sides and in line with your shoulders – having you in a crucifix position.
Not too hard, right?
Well, let’s see how you manage the nest part..:
Lift your body pressing through your hands and fingertips until your chest is elevated several inches above the floor.
Hold for a couple of seconds, and SLOWLY lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor again.
Hah, that should have you struggling!
To make it easier, place your hands closer to your shoulders. Just make sure you remain in the crucifix position even while they are closer to your body.
When you manage ten proper repetitions, move your hands gradually further away from your shoulders until you reach the full crucifix position.
Here on out, you will need to add extra resistance by adding a weighted vest to the mix, or if you have kids, – let them sit on your back while doing your push-ups.
The No-Equipment Bodyweight Home Chest Workout
Okay. Now that you know how to do a couple of at-home bodyweight chest exercises let’s combine some of them and set up a super-effective home workout for chest routine!
Reference: livestrong.com 5 Facts About Push-Ups
As you might know, I’m all about time-efficient exercises.
As a father of two and a working-class 9-5 hero, I do not have that much “me time” on a day-to-day basis.
That’s why I swear to the concept of “Myo reps.” This routine will follow these principles – but with a little twist.
Start the workout with a couple of minutes of star jumps or whatever activity makes your body going.
You are allowed 10-20 seconds rest between each set.
Between each exercise, you are granted 30-40 seconds rest. Each activity will start with a high number set to have your muscles activated, followed by multiple low repetitions sets, hitting the targeted muscles through every single repetition.
It is essential that while doing the low repetition sets, you should NOT be able to do a single repetition more than the given number.
If the stated number of repetitions is 4-6, you should struggle to do the sixth – and you should not be able to do seven.
If you can do more than the required number, you need to add more resistance.
When you feel warm and ready, start the workout:
- Push-ups:One set 12-20 repetitions, followed by five sets of 4-8 repetitions.
- Decline push-ups:One set 8-16 repetitions, followed by five sets of 3-6 repetitions.
- Towel Flys: One set 8-16 repetitions, followed by five sets of 3-6 repetitions.
- Chair/ Couch dips:One set 8-16 repetitions, followed by five sets of 3-6 repetitions.
If you have anything left to give, top the workout off by adding this little bad a**:
- Crucifix push ups:five sets of 2-6 repetitions.
There you have it.
This routine comes with a hometraininghero chest-pump guarantee.
Even though it might seem “childish” just playing around with your bodyweight, I promise you it ain’t…
Doing this chest workout home routine regularly will help you build massive chest strength, and also strengthen both your core and other supporting muscles.
Why don’t you put your laptop or whatever to the side and try for yourself?
Final Words: At Home Bodyweight Chest Exercises Builds Muscle!
I hope you made it to the end, and that this article has inspired you to try out some of the exercises for yourself.
It’s a typical misinterpretation that you need to do bench press to build chest strength.
I have not been to a gym for the last six years, and to be honest – I have never been stronger.
One thing though:
As you get stronger, your body weight might not be enough anymore…
But with low investment, you can get yourself a weight vest or a resistance band to add those extra pounds, making these exercises still more than enough to build lean muscle!
To get access to tons of AMAZING calisthenics, be sure to check out my massive guide to bodyweight workouts for beginners. If you are serious about working out, this will be one of your go-to resources!