ListedFit is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.
If you’re looking to build a stronger chest without necessarily having to go to the gym or using any fancy equipment, maybe you have limited time or you’re in a hotel that has no gym facilities then this article should help you out.
Chest exercises are of course really important for your overall strength, and posture but the thing I love most about bodyweight exercises is the convenience– you can do them just about anywhere.
In this article, we’ll explore some useful bodyweight or calisthenic chest exercise ideas for all fitness levels, from beginner to advanced and also give you the suggested sets and reps for a decent workout. Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Beginner Bodyweight Chest Exercises
- Kneeling push-ups: Start on your hands and knees, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest towards the ground while keeping your core tight and back straight. Push back up and repeat.
- Incline push-ups: Find a sturdy surface like a bench or even a wall. Place your hands on the surface, slightly wider than shoulder-width. Lower your chest towards the surface, then push back up to the starting position.
For kneeling or incline push-ups aim for 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Isometric chest contractions:
Place your palms together in front of your chest, elbows out to the side. Press your palms together as hard as you can, feeling your chest muscles contract. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat.
For isometric chest contractions: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, holding each contraction for 5-10 seconds.
Intermediate Bodyweight Chest Exercises
- Proper form and technique: Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your chest is just above the ground, then push back up to the starting position.
- Variations: Try wide-grip push-ups for more emphasis on your chest, or close-grip push-ups to target your triceps.
Standard push-ups (or variations): 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps
Just like the standard push-up, place your feet on an elevated surface, like a step or a bench, or anything you can find. Perform push-ups as usual, with the added challenge of the decline.
For decline push-ups: 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
For this one, you’ll need a sturdy chair or a step. Lower your body by bending your elbows, then push back up. This exercise targets your chest, triceps, and shoulders.
Dips: 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
Advanced Bodyweight Chest Exercises
- Clapping push-ups: Perform a regular push-up, but as you push back up, explode off the ground and clap your hands. Land back in the starting position and repeat.
- Explosive push-ups: Same as clapping push-ups, but instead of clapping, lift your hands or feet off the ground.
Plyometric push-ups (clapping or explosive): 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps
Perform a push-up using only one arm for support. This requires considerable strength and balance. Make sure to switch arms for an even workout.
One-arm push-ups: 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps per arm
Start in a push-up position with one arm extended out to the side. Lower your chest towards the ground while bending the other arm. Push back up and repeat on the other side.
Archer push-ups: 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps per side
Tips for Progression and Workout Structure
- Start with exercises appropriate for your fitness level – There’s no shame in beginning with modified push-ups or easier exercises.
- Increase intensity – As you get stronger, gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise so that you get stronger.
- Mix and match exercises – For a more well-rounded chest workout that keeps things interesting and challenging mix things up and keep your body guessing.
Conclusion – Bodyweight Chest Exercises
Hopefully, you’ll find this short article helpful. Bodyweight chest exercises are an excellent way to build strength and muscle mass without needing any equipment, just a little bit of floor space and some basic items.
These exercises are versatile and can be tailored to suit your fitness level, so they’re accessible to everyone. The same applies as it always does, stay consistent, challenge yourself, and maintain a growth mindset.
By putting in the effort and dedicating time to improving your chest strength, you’ll undoubtedly see positive changes in your overall fitness. Enjoy the process.