Bodyweight chest exercises are challenging and tough but exceptionally rewarding.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fitness guru, bodyweight chest workouts have their advantages without needing a gym.
Read on to find out more about chest exercises using your body weight, things to consider, and which exercises to do.
Things to Consider Before Doing Bodyweight Chest Exercises
Before you begin bodyweight chest workouts, consider the advantages, affordability, and other benefits.
Advantages of Bodyweight Chest Workouts
There are several advantages to bodyweight chest exercises, including:
- Confidence boost: Many people are discouraged from working out because of all the equipment, gym anxiety, and difficulty level. There are modified chest exercises for beginners, and completing them gives a great sense of accomplishment.
- Workout at your own pace: With bodyweight chest exercises, you don’t have to hustle to the gym or feel obligated to advance to more challenging workouts, as you can work at your own pace at home.
- Gain muscle mass: With proper diet and consistency, you may gain muscle mass, feeling more vigorous and fit.
The best part of bodyweight chest exercises—it’s free!
Unless you do not plan to buy additional equipment such as bands or medicine balls, bodyweight chest workouts are cost-effective.
At most, you may need sturdy chairs, the floor, a wall, yoga blocks, or other standard household furniture.
A great feature about bodyweight chest exercises is that anyone can do them.
It doesn’t matter your age, height, or gender—they’re useful for everyone!
If you’re a beginner, that’s no problem, as there are modified versions of these bodyweight chest exercises for entry-level.
Advanced users can also benefit from modifications as well if they want to increase their level of difficulty.
If you have a more intense personality, there’s a workout that will fit your needs.
If you’re about slow, practical movements, there are exercises and routines for that as well.
With bodyweight chest exercises, you are not bound to a gym or anywhere in public.
If you wanted to work out in the comfort of your home, that would be an ideal situation.
You will also save money without having to buy a gym membership.
Time is precious, and the time it takes to get ready for the gym, workout, come back, shower can be a handful for busybodies.
In all, you’ll save time as well, and you won’t have to wait for anyone at the gym if the racks are occupied for barbell chest exercises.
While bodyweight chest exercises require little to no equipment, it doesn’t guarantee results.
Consistency and diet will be an intricate part of your workouts.
Eating enough protein is critical. If you want a bigger chest, you may have to eat at a caloric surplus.
There are various calculators to determine how much you should consume while working out.
If you want to remain lean while working out the chest, maintaining your calories is essential to avoid being at a caloric deficit, which will not grow your muscles.
Lowers Risk of Injuries
Because bodyweight chest exercises focus on posture and alignment, this helps for better balance.
If you are a beginner and aren’t used to weights at the gym, you may avoid injury by using your body.
Many novices tend to use heavier weights out of excitement, which may be detrimental.
Using your body weight is a full-body workout without needing any equipment that may cause overextending.
Increase Your Fitness
If you continually work out the chest, it’s inevitable that you will see results.
Your endurance and stamina may also increase without needing any advanced equipment.
Those who were not fit before can take advantage of the beginner-friendly exercises that are modified for entry-levels.
After you begin, you can continue to intermediate, then advanced workouts, all by sticking to a schedule.
As a result, your chest will be tighter or wider, depending on which exercises you did for months.
Bodyweight Chest Exercises
There are various bodyweight chest exercises you can do, wherever you want, including your home.
All you need is a mat (optional, for comfort), sturdy chairs, the floor, and your body.
Read on to discover 21 bodyweight chest exercises with modifications you can include in your routine or use to begin as a novice.
1. The Standard Push-Up
What would bodyweight chest exercises be without the infamous push-up?
The push-up is an effective workout, engaging the triceps, biceps, shoulders, and pectorals.
To get a better idea of how exceptional the push-up is, think of it as a bench press without the equipment.
The push-up is one of the best ways to increase your chest size and strengthen your arms, as it’s a classic everyone must master if they want to advance to more challenging workouts.
We will begin with the standard push-up:
- Place your body in a plank position with your knees and hands connecting to the floor shoulder-width apart
- Engage your core and glutes to align your back, as it must be straight
- Bend elbows and descend to the floor, keeping them at a 45° angle
- Once your chest and nose touches the floor, keep your core and glutes engaged
- Push back from the floor, starting from the same plank position. Repeat.
If there are any issues with your shoulders, elbows, or wrists, it may be that the tendons aren’t adapted to working out and need to loosen up.
Problems may be avoided by warming up before working out.
The constant clicking of the joints or pain may signal you need to do a modified version of the push-up.
If you are unsure, speak with a doctor.
2. Modified Push-Up
A modified push-up is best for beginners to build the muscles necessary to complete a standard push-up.
It’s also known as the kneeling push-up.
To do a modified push-up, follow these steps:
- Lay down flat on the floor with your hands below your shoulders and elbows bent at 45°
- Cross your knees and engage both the core and glutes
- Push up from the floor with back aligned
- Descend while the core is engaged, bending elbows and keeping alignment. Repeat
Despite being an easier version of standard push-ups, modified push-ups work out the upper chest and triceps.
3. Wall Push-Up
The wall push-up is considered a modified version of the push-up, less challenging than the kneeling push-up.
However, it engages the triceps, and chest, shoulders, as these muscles are essential for working out the pectorals.
To begin a wall push-up:
- Stand in front of a wall at arm’s length
- Place your palms shoulder-width apart on the wall
- Ensure your legs are parallel to your hands
- Lean forward and bend the elbows until your chest meets the wall, as close as it can
- Maintain posture by engaging your abs, with hips and back inline as you are leaning
- Hold onto the position for a few seconds and push against the wall. Repeat.
Wall push-ups are much easier on the joints if you cannot do a modified or standard push-up due to popping noises or pain.
If you’re at an intermediate level, you may try the decline wall push-up:
- Crouch near the wall and kneel, with the soles of your feet up against the wall
- Slowly walk up the wall, holding steady with an aligned back and tight core
- As you lower yourself onto the floor, you will feel the deltoids activated, and upper pectorals expand
- Push back against the floor, and repeat
Decline wall push-ups require some stability and work the upper chest more than the regular wall push-up.
4. Slow-Motion Push-Up
If you’re ready to do a more advanced push-up after completing a standard push-up effortlessly, try a slow-motion push-up.
To perform a slow-motion push-up:
- Lay down in a basic push up position, with arms shoulder-length ready to ascend and elbows outward
- Slowly push up against the floor with abs engaged and glutes, ensuring you’re perfectly aligned
- Each time you push up, count for 10 seconds
- As you descend, count another 10 seconds. Repeat
Slow-motion push-ups put more pressure on the muscles, feeling the burn and strengthening smaller parts of the arms and chest for better toning.
5. Wide Grip Push-Up
Want a broader chest?
Try wide grip push-ups, which work out the pectoral muscles more than a standard push-up.
This exercise is considered intermediate, as it’s not for beginners.
The biceps and triceps will be less engaged, while the shoulder and chest will feel most of the burn.
To begin a wide grip push-up:
- Start with a standard push-up position with the body aligned and engaged, but with a broader shoulder stance than usual by placing hands more outward
- To avoid injury, do not overextend based on your capabilities. Find a stable spot where your shoulders engage comfortably without risking the joints
- Bend as if you were doing a regular push-up, holding steadily for a moment as you descend
- Push up from the floor to the initial position. Repeat.
Also, due to increased pressure on the shoulders, do not rush this exercise.
Additional body weight on shoulders that are not fully developed may cause injury.
Want more of a challenge? Consider the wide grip crucifix push-up that targets the outer pectorals and front deltoids:
- Assume the same position as a wide-grip push-up
- Extend your arms more outward, where you should feel the burn on your front deltoids
- Push back from the floor slowly. Repeat.
6. Hindu Push-Up
If you’re familiar with yoga, the Hindu push-up may be in your best interest, as the exercise is the infamous downward dog position.
This exercise targets multiple body parts while still building your chest.
The Hindu push-up makes the standard push-up boring, as it works out more muscles, such as the hips, spine flexor, abs, besides the chest, triceps, and biceps.
Start a Hindu push-up with these steps:
- Begin at a standard push-up position with an aligned back and feet hip-width apart
- Raise your buttocks, forming an inverted V. Use your arms to push the lower body back, keeping the limbs straight
- Slowly descend, arching your back, bending your elbows, and bringing your hips close to the ground, with your nose almost brushing the floor.
- Raise your chest upwards with your palms and fingers spreading evenly on the floor, extending your arms
- Push back outwards into the inverted V. Repeat.
If standard push-ups are brutal on your joints, the Hindu-push is one of few exercises that may lubricate the joints for better mobility.
7. Diamond Push-Up
A famous, advanced push-up is the diamond push-up that emphasizes the triceps.
As the name suggests, you form a diamond with your hands, activating the inner chest, shoulders, and core.
To perform a diamond push-up:
- Get into a plank position with your hands on the floor shaped like a diamond with index fingers and thumbs touching under your chest
- Ensure your body is aligned flatly, core engaged, and no flaring of the elbows
- Begin descending as low as possible, and return to the initial position
Despite being for intermediate and advanced individuals, there is a modified diamond push-up:
- Assume a kneeling push-up position
- Place hands on the floor, creating the diamond shape in the middle of your chest
- Slowly descend, do not allow elbows to flare outwards
- Push upwards. Repeat.
For the ultimate level up, try the elevated diamond push-up:
- Position yourself on a sturdy chair or anything that can hold your feet
- Once you are elevated, place your hands on the floor and create the diamond shape
- Descend to have the chest towards the ground
- Push through with your arms and chest and return to the starting point, keeping the body aligned and an engaged core. Repeat.
Overall, diamond push-ups are excellent for increasing strength and working out the upper body.
8. Atlas Push-Up
If you’re looking for deeper push-ups that work the shoulders, try the Atlas push-up.
The elevation is the key as your body lowers itself, requiring more muscle engagement and core strength.
You can use yoga blocks, two separate push-up bars, a doorway pull-up bar (such as the Iron Gym), or anything else that stays sturdy that separates the hands.
To begin an Atlas push-up:
- Ensure the platform you will be placing your hands on is strong and about 18 to 24 inches apart
- Place palms on each platform and fully extend your arms. Keep legs together with toes facing down, with an engaged core
- Maintain good posture as you lean forward, descending and bending your arms
- Hold momentarily to feel the muscles working, then repeatedly push down and push back
Besides the shoulders, Atlas push-ups are excellent for the upper chest and triceps.
9. Pike Push-Up
The pike push-up is similar to the Hindu push-up, as it includes variations of the downward dog.
If the Hindu push-up was too challenging, the pike push-up is considered a modified version.
To do the pike push-up:
- Place arms and legs on the floor, push the buttocks up, similar to a downward dog in yoga, and place hands and legs shoulder-width apart. Form the inverted V, just like you would a Hindu-push up.
- Descend and bend your elbow, pushing the floor while you are in the inverted V shape, gently touching your head to the ground
- Do not alter anywhere else on your body, as this exercise is straightforward and contains less movement than the Hindu push-up
- Push upwards and downwards. Repeat.
The pike push-up works the upper pectorals and front deltoids.
It’s also a great way to strengthen the limbs to do more challenging exercises, allowing you to activate the chest.
10. Uneven Push-Up
The uneven push-up is a great bodyweight chest workout that can help beginners toward the infamous one-hand push-up.
Begin an uneven push-up following these steps:
- Get into a standard push-up position
- Using a platform such as a yoga block, book, hardcover book, anything that can remain in place that is about 4 to 7 inches off the ground—place one hand on the object, with the other hand, maintaining arms shoulder-width apart
- As you descend, feel the elevated arm deeply stretch. Maintain alignment with a tight core and flat back.
- Ascend slowly and repeat the motion
Uneven push-ups activate the triceps due to the slight elevation in addition to the chest.
11. One-Hand Push-up
An advanced level push-up is using only one hand, requiring a rock-hard core and perfect alignment.
One hand push-ups require warming up the body first before diving into this challenging exercise to avoid injury.
The best ways to warm up to prepare for one-hand push-ups are standard push-ups or diamond push-ups.
To begin a one-hand push-up:
- Assume the standard push-up position, but with the legs wider than usual
- Put one hand behind your back, engage the core, and maintain balance
- Bend your arms and lower the chest as you would any push-up
- While rising, maintain alignment and a tight core
- Switch arms. Repeat.
If done correctly, the one-hand push-up can be twice as effective as the standard push-up, increasing muscle mass and overall strength.
Also, this exercise works out the entire upper body.
12. One-Leg Push-Up
Unlike the one-hand push-up, the one-leg push-up is much easier if you can do a standard push-up.
However, the one-leg push-up requires more engagement from the core and obliques.
To get started doing a one-leg push-up:
- Begin positioning yourself as if you were doing a standard push-up, with hands and arms aligned flatly
- Raise one of your legs and maintain your posture, and tighten the core
- Bend your elbows and have your chest touch the ground with your leg in the air
- Keep the body in a straight line as you repeat this movement upwards and downwards
- witch legs after any amount of reps you choose. Repeat.
With one-leg push-ups, you will work out the hamstring and quads, including the chest, signaling this is a full-body intense workout.
13. Knuckle Push-Up
Besides working out your chest, you can begin to have massive forearms by doing knuckle push-ups.
These are similar to standard push-ups, except your arms are closed fists and not open palms.
Fighters tend to do knuckle push-ups, as it strengthens the phalanges.
To do a knuckle push-up:
- Assume the position of a standard push-up, with a flat back and arms shoulder-width apart
- Instead of an open palm, close your fists
- As you lower your chest to the floor, you will feel the fingers and hand adjusting, with the forearm engaging
- Push back as you ascend, keeping a closed fist. Repeat.
If you want more of a challenge, consider doing a single leg knuckle push-up:
- Get into the same position with a closed fist and a regular push-up sequence
- Lift one leg off the ground and cross it behind the other foot
- As you descend, engage the core for better balance
- Push upwards, activating the abs and glutes to maintain alignment. Repeat.
Knuckle-push ups are popular with martial artists and great for those getting into kickboxing, including beginners.
14. Side-to-Side Push-up
The side-to-side push-up is an upgraded variation of the standard push-up.
With a side-to-side push-up, you active more muscles besides the chest, biceps, and shoulder.
This exercise is also known as the Archer push-up because of its motion.
To do a side to side push-up:
- Assume a basic push-up stance with arms more broad than normal
- As you lower your chest to the ground, slowly sway to one side by extending your arm, which is the assistance limb. You should feel the other arm engaged as it’s bending.
- Hold the position and slowly ascend and repeat on the next side. Repeat.
- If side-to-side push-ups are too challenging, it’s possible to do it kneeling as you would a modified push-up.
15. Staggered Arm Push-Up
Are you looking for a challenge with an asymmetric workout?
The staggered arm push-up requires more strength and efficiency, as it’s a diagonal movement that works out the front deltoids, pectorals, and triceps.
Perform a staggered arm push-up by following these steps:
- Position yourself as if you were going to do a standard push-up, with arms slightly wider than usual
- Place one hand slightly lower than the shoulder, and keep the other hand in place. The arrows should be diagonal from each other.
- Keep your body aligned with an engaged core, as the body may begin to feel uneven and may want to adjust
- Slowly lower the chest, slightly touching the floor, bending elbows, and maintaining posture
- Hold this position, slowly ascend, switch hands, and repeat
The staggered arm push-up is a great way to challenge the smaller muscles in the arms and legs while working out the chest.
16. Clap Push-Up
One of the most challenging chest workouts involving a variation of the push-up is the clap push-up, and not everyone can do them.
To do a clap push-up:
- Get into a position as if you were doing a regular push up, shoulder-width apart
- Lower your chest to the floor as you bend your arms
- Hold momentarily, and push upwards with significant momentum to generate enough speed to clap in the middle of your chest
- As you head back down, place your arms shoulder-width apart. You will feel the pressure in your shoulders as gravity begins to play a role
- Continue this movement for 2-3 reps
Clap push-ups add some fun to the boring standard push-up, as this advanced movement is an outstanding achievement, working out the shoulders, chest, and biceps.
17. Inchworm Push-Up
The Inchworm push-up is beginner-friendly once an individual can do a standard push-up.
This bodyweight chest exercise is designed to use the shoulders more, which comes in handy for yoga-like push-ups, such as Hindu push-up and pike push-up.
To do an Inchworm push-up:
- Stand straight on the floor or on a mat
- Bend down slowly, keeping your legs straight, with the knees slightly bending. If your legs are not flexible, this may be harder to do, but do not force it
- Walk on your hands as you reach the floor into a plank position and do a regular push up
- Walk back on your hands into the standing position. If you want to repeat the workout without getting back into the upright position, walk the hands to your feet with your lower body near the floor. Repeat.
The Inchworm also works out some leg muscles, increasing circulation, making it a great warm-up exercise.
18. Incline Push-Up
The incline push-up is an upgraded variation of the standard push-up using a chair, couch, or gym bench at a 45°.
While it is similar to the Atlas push-up, the incline push-up requires two hands on one platform.
To do an incline push-up:
- Position yourself in front of the platform, whether it’s a chair, box, gym bench, etc., and place your arms shoulder-width apart onto the device
- Align your body with a straight, flat back
- Lower your chest onto the platform, bending your arms, engaging the core and glutes. Do not allow the elbows the flair outwards
- Push back as you would a standard push-up, extending the arms. Repeat
This bodyweight chest workout is excellent for the lower pectorals and triceps, posing a challenge for beginners after completing the standard push-up.
19. Grasshopper Push-Up
The grasshopper push-up activates the entire body besides the chest as it workouts the core and the obliques.
Because there’s a twisting motion, every muscle plays a part in this challenging exercise, including the glutes, quads, shoulders, abs, and more.
Start a grasshopper push-up by following these steps:
- Begin with arms shoulder-width apart, assuming a standard push-up position
- Ensure your core is tight and your back is flat
- As you lower your body with your chest touching the ground, swing your leg underneath to the opposite side. Twist your body to follow the leg, engaging the core and feeling it in your obliques.
- Once you push upwards, bring the leg back, straightly align your body, and make the same motion with the other leg
The grasshopper push-up takes some time to adapt and may need some warming up with light cardio as it’s a full-body workout.
20. Chest Dips
One of the most common bodyweight chest exercises is chest dips.
This exercise is popular in gyms, with machines and bars catering towards chest dips only.
Because you’re suspended in the air, chest dips require phenomenal upper body strength, including strong arms.
To do chest dips:
- Grab and jump between two sturdy chairs, bars, or anything that mimics two pillars
- Lift yourself as your arms fully extend with legs in the air, or cross them
- Dip the body as low as you can, with the most effective way being 45° or less. Lean towards the front slightly as you dip.
- As you rise, fully extend the arms again. Descend once more, and repeat.
Chest dips are great for shoulders and may alleviate shoulder pain.
However, if you don’t do chest dips correctly, it may cause injury, especially if you overextend. Some individuals have weights in between their legs to boost strength.
21. Inner and Outer Push-Up
An excellent bodyweight chest exercise to work the inner pectorals is the inner and outer push-up.
It is similar to the clap push-up but requires a closed grip push-up, which is also akin to the diamond push-up, bringing several variations into one.
To do an inner and outer push-up:
- Get into a normal push-up stance
- As you lower your chest, hold momentarily, then explode upwards and bring your hands together in the middle of your chest
- Perform a close grip push-up by having your hands next to each other towards the inner chest
- As you push upwards, spread your hands back shoulder-width apart. Repeat.
The inner and outer push-up is another bodyweight chest workout that uses the triceps and requires an advanced skill level.
There you have it! An impressive list of bodyweight chest exercises to get going, no matter your skill level.
Bodyweight chest workouts are a great way to begin your fitness journey.
From there, you can level up by doing intermediate or advanced exercises, which will further increase your fitness, stamina, endurance, and much more.
Overall, starting bodyweight chest exercises is a rewarding experience, with consistency and diet playing a large role in the best results.
Create your own routine with these workouts and start today!