You don't have to spend hours on the bench press to build a chiseled chest. Do these 4 bodyweight chest exercises and you'll have great pecs and shoulders in no time.
4 Bodyweight Chest Exercises
Bodyweight Chest Exercise #1: Push-Ups
Push-ups are one of the best bodyweight chest exercises for one simple reason: variety. Push-ups require very little space, but can be modified endlessly to change the way they challenge the chest and rest of the upper body.
Push-ups are on our list of the best bodyweight chest exercises because they work the shoulders, chest, triceps, and upper back. Plus, the core gets engaged to help stabilize the body and keep it from rotating.
Here are a few ways to modify the push-up to work various areas of the chest.
- Put your feet up on a bench or exercise ball to target the upper chest
- Use rings or a bench to elevate your upper body to target the lower chest
- Widen your hands to give the chest more of a stretch
- Bring your hands together (triangle push-ups) to target the middle chest and triceps
Bodyweight Chest Exercise #2: Dips
Dips are a great bodyweight chest exercise, but are often avoided like the pull-up, because they look difficult and intimidating. However, you should be doing them, as they will really work a ton of muscle.
Dips are a compound bodyweight chest exercise that primarily works your triceps and chest. However, this bodyweight chest exercise also engages the forearms, shoulders, and core to some extent.
As you complete each rep, it is best to use a slow and steady up and down speed to keep the muscles under constant tension and to eliminate momentum. The slower you go, the more you will feel the burn.
Bodyweight Chest Exercise #3: The Crucifix (Wide Arm) Plank
The Crucifix Plank is one of the most difficult bodyweight chest exercises you can do. Aside from being an incredible way to stimulate the chest, back and abs; it looks awesome, which is reason enough to do it.
The Crucifix Plank is essentially an isometric bodyweight fly, where you place your arms as wide as you can like a fly, then hold that position for as long as possible. This bodyweight chest exercise is a great endurance finisher or even a stand alone workout.
Tip: Try combining Crucifix Planks with Planche holds for an insane burn.
BODYWEIGHT CHEST EXERCISE #4: PLYOMETRIC (CLAPPING) PUSH-UPS
Plyometric push-ups are a great exercise for working the fast twitch muscle fibers of the pecs to develop explosive power in the upper body.
How to Perform a Plyometric Push-up:
- Start in a normal push-up position.
- Slowly lower your body down until your upper arm is just below parallel.
- Explode up and press body off the floor, as if jumping with your arms.
- If possible, try to clap your hands in front of you, before catching your body.
- Let your arms catch your body, by allowing your arms to bend into the next repetition.
- Repeat the prescribed number of repetitions.
Safety Tip: When performing a bodyweight chest exercise like the clapping push-up, it is best to focus on form and a small number of repetitions. Then increase repetitions gradually as you build strength and confidence.
Conclusion: These are four of the best bodyweight chest exercises you can do. Not only do they work a lot of muscle; they can be done anywhere and require little to no equipment. They also don't require you to spend endless amounts of time on the bench press.