Are you just a normal guy with a dream. and is that dream to have a strong chest with well-shaped pectoral muscles that pop through your shirt. Welcome to the club!
In order to achieve that goal, bench press and its variations are considered the best approach, for men and women alike.
Personally, I would choose calisthenics over bench press any day of the week. If you think that only weights can transform your chest, you’re dead wrong.
Training with your own bodyweight proves to be way more effective; they can build mass on just about every part of your body (chest and arms are some examples), while strengthen your core muscles at the same time.
Another benefit of bodyweight exercises is that they don’t require any special equipment. Therefore, you can work out pretty much anywhere you like.
Although I’m still fairly new to calisthenics (only about a year into it at this very moment), I can honestly say that my pecs now definitely look more shapely than it was when I only did weight training.
What’s funny is that I realize I’m capable of handling such massive weights I could only dream of before.
If you want to venture into the world of calisthenics, these three simple bodyweight chest workouts are good starts.
By mastering these techniques, not only your chest is developed but you will also feel the improvements in overall strength, explosive power and endurance.
What Are Bodyweight Exercises?
Bodyweight exercises are claimed to be one of the best methods for building strength. Some advantages that bodyweight exercises offer include flexibility, relatively low cost and higher efficiency.
As the results, bodyweight training has become a popular training trend recently.
You can watch the following video for a detailed comparison between bodyweight workout and traditional weight workout.
The benefits and practicality of this training style has set a new benchmark in developing strength and gaining mass.
- Being able to physically handle your own weight is a powerful technique that you definitely should acquire for yourself.
Few Things You Should Memorize For Maximum Effects
1. First of all, you should understand the general structure of your chest: there are four major parts including
- The upper
- The lower
- The inner, and
- The outer
The majority of chest workouts hit all four parts simultaneously.
However, it is advised that you should also train each part separately for the best results.
And I will show you how to do just that with bodyweight chest exercises later on.
2. Each exercise should be carried out correctly with the full range of motion. Main focus should be on your pectoral muscles.
3. Slowly increasing the number of reps and sets and change between different variations of the exercises are recommended to keep a constant pressure on your muscles. It actually helps developing resistance in the long run.
4. Don’t forget to warm up before each training session and stretch your body regularly. They are very helpful in protecting you against preventable injuries, and also in improving your performance.
Bodyweight Chest Workout
1. Push-ups & variations
In my opinion, I think that the push-up is among the ultimate workouts for upper body.
Besides effectively building up your chest muscles, it’s also good for shoulder and tricep development and core strengthening. It’s like hitting not only two but many birds with one stone.
Firstly, you should learn the proper form and technique of a basic push-up, with the help from this tutorial video.
As I mentioned earlier, there are four major parts that form you chest; and each part requires some modifications to maximize the impacts:
- To focus on the upper chest, elevating your feet is a must; for example, putting your feet on a chair or a bench. The difficulty increase in proportion with the angle of your body. However, going too high might exert more pressure on your shoulder.
- Decline push-up is recommended for the lower part. This video will show you how to do it.
- Simply put your hands further apart to work on the outer part of your chest.
- On the other hand, smaller gap between your hands will shift the focus onto the inner muscles. This variation is called the diamond push-up.
And Even More Variations
In this article, I will just focus on some of the most popular and beginner-friendly alterations.
Incline & Decline Push-Up:
Your feet and your hands should be on different levels for these two variations. This disparity shift the emphasis of the exercise on separate areas of the chest. An incline requires placing your hands higher than your feet, targeting the middle section of your chest.
Meanwhile, your feet must be on higher level in a decline, which put more emphasis on your upper chest and shoulders.
Bosu Ball Push-Up:
This variation is slightly different because you will work out with a bosu ball. It takes the concept of the standard push-up to a new height by adding the instability of the ball.
As the results, this modified push-up strengthens your pecs, triceps and shoulders, while developing overall balance and stability. What’s more, you can even further enhance the exercise with many different variations.
The name Spiderman push up is quite revealing, right? It’s another modification of the basic push-up, which imitate the famous climbing movement of ‘your friendly neighborhood’ Spiderman. By adding hip flexion, this is an excellent exercise to develop your obliques and hip flexibility.
Dip exercises are great for triceps and chest alike, provided that you understand the difference between the two.
Basically, chest dip is quite similar to tricep dip in terms of positioning. What’s different is the distinctive angle of your torso (or body) while dipping, which inclines about 30 degree forward.
Your core and glutes should remain contracted throughout the exercise.
In order to emphasize the pecs instead of the triceps, you can put your feet up further back while leaning forward as far as your shoulder’s flexibility allow.
By changing the position of your body, you will shift the workload intensity from your triceps to you chest. In fact, the difference is hard to miss; you will notice your chest muscles fire up in the bottom position.
Chest dip is a perfect alternative to the decline push-up.
You always can raise the bar by adding weights or attempting isometric hold (~ 2-5 seconds) in the bottom position. Some chest dip variations are included in this video below.
If you consider yourself a beginner, try this assisted chest dip exercise; however it requires going to the gym for the assisting machine.
Or better yet, stay home, get yourself a dip bar and get working!
As you can see, there are many different options for bodyweight chest workouts that don’t require any fancy equipment at all. Hopefully, you can now take your top off more comfortably; for example, at a beach or a swimming pool and start showing off your incredibly well-shaped pecs.
For more awesome bodyweight exercise ideas, check out our five best bodyweight ab workouts, as well as our six most powerful bodyweight tricep workouts.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment in the section below, I reply to all comments as soon as I get a chance.