Every man wants a chiseled chest, and every woman dreams of firm breasts without surgery.

The same goes for me, so over the years, I've tried every bodyweight exercise for pecs (and other parts of the body) I've come across.

You'll be happy to hear that it is possible to successfully grow your chest without going to the gym, but only by doing effective bodyweight chest exercises.

The following 19 are the most effective exercises for your pectoral region that you can do anywhere with no equipment at all. Let's get started!

You'll notice that most of the exercises I'm going to talk about are actually variations of push-ups.

Although they may seem very similar or even the same at first glance, each of these movements will affect your chest muscles differently, and you should incorporate them into your workout regime if you want a bigger chest without needing to hit the gym.

1. Standard Push-Ups

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, core, trapezius
Man Doing Standard Push Ups

I have to start with a household name in the fitness world - the traditional push-up.

I believe that each of you reading this article has done a traditional push-up at least once, and probably many times.

It's an indispensable exercise for all bodyweight workouts, but also military style workouts, CrossFit training, and warming up for the gym.

The standard push-up activates most upper body muscles, so always start with it before moving on to one of the variations.

While it's the most basic variation of the push-up, it may be too difficult for some gym-goers. Luckily, there are some adjustments that can be made to make the exercise easier. I'll discuss them in a moment.


  • Uses most of your body's muscles. 
  • Develops your chest and triceps. 

How To Do It:

  1. Get into a push-up position (also called a high plank position).
  2. Position your hands shoulder-width apart and below your elbows.
  3. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes.
  4. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe.
  5. Elbows should stay close to the body throughout the movement.
  6. Begin to bend at your elbows and lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor.
  7. Explosively push to return to starting position.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you're a beginner and can't do a single push-up, start with kneeling push-ups because you'll reduce the load that way. 

Also Check Out - Push Ups Vs Bench Press

2. Wide-Grip Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoids, triceps brachii, core, supraspinatus
Man Doing Wide-Grip Push-Ups In The Gym

You'll notice that wide-grip push-ups (commonly referred to as wide push-ups) have fewer target muscles compared to standard ones.

This doesn't mean that wide push-ups don't activate all those same muscles as well, but certainly to a lesser extent since most of the focus shifts towards the pecs (especially toward outer chest muscles).

The stretching of the outer part of your chest is noticeable during this exercise and it's where you'll fele the burn the most. Therefore you can expect delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) at least the first few times.[1]

I love the wide grip push up as I can feel it working my chest through a HUGE range of motion. 

Because of the hand position, wide push-ups are quite demanding on the shoulders, so I don't recommend them to clients who have recently had shoulder issues such as a rotator cuff injury, a torn labrum, or some other injury to that region.


  • Uses a wide range of motion. 
  • Places more emphasis on your chest. 
  • Great for more advanced gym-goers.

How To Do It:

  1. Start in a high plank position.
  2. Your hands must be wider than your shoulders.
  3. Brace your core.
  4. Bend your elbows to the sides to lower your body.
  5. Descend slowly and in a controlled manner.
  6. Press through your palms to rise back into a high plank.

Tips From A Trainer!

You can point your fingers forward, but the wide grip push-up will be even more effective if you angle your hands slightly, pointing them to the outside. 

3. Close Grip Push-Ups

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, coracobrachialis
Man Doing Close-Grip Push-Ups

Unlike wide push-ups, where the focus is on the part of the chest closest to the shoulder, the close grip push-up will primarily target your triceps and inner chest. They're two areas you NEED to develop if you want a thick looking chest. 

During both phases of the exercise, you will feel a significantly greater load on the triceps. These are probably my favorite version of the push-up as I LOVE building my triceps.

At the end of the movement, you may squeeze the inner chest to emphasize them further.

Inner pecs are often neglected, but they are equally important for a rounded chest look. Check out more inner chest workouts here!

I find this exercise very good for improving balance and stability in this position, which is mandatory for some of the advanced push-up variations.


  • Develops your inner chest.
  • Places emphasis on your triceps. 
  • Less shoulder strain.

How To Do It:

  1. Take a push-up position.
  2. Your hands should be closer than shoulder-width apart.
  3. While bending your elbows, ensure they are about a 30-degree angle from your body.
  4. At the bottom of the movement, retract your scapula while maintaining your core engagement.
  5. Push back to starting position.

Tips From A Trainer!

The distance at which your hands will be the most comfortable depends on your anatomy, strength, and previous injuries. I recommend trying several distances to find the best one for you. 

4. Diamond Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, forearms
Man Doing Diamond Push Ups

The diamond push-up is an advanced variation of the close push-up. Some fitness coaches believe this exercise carries more risks than benefits, but I am not one of them.

However, you shouldn't include diamond push-ups in your training routine if you have a wrist, elbow, or shoulder injury.

By performing the diamond push-up, you'll place more emphasis on your inner chest, triceps, and front delts.


  • Works your inner chest. 
  • Emphasizes your triceps. 
  • Great for advanced gym-goers.

How To Do It:

  1. Put your hands under your chest, and your finger should form a diamond shape.
  2. Engage your core and glutes.
  3. Bend your elbows inward to lower your torso close to the floor, but you must not collapse to the floor.
  4. Keep your spine in a straight line.
  5. Press back up to fully extend your arms.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you think you are strong enough but the classic diamond push-up position is extremely uncomfortable, you can try the elevated version of the exercise. Use a medicine ball or slam ball to elevate your hands, this will place less strain on your wrist joints.

5. Pike Push-Up

Target: Anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, biceps brachii, core, obliques, trapezius, serratus anterior
Man Doing Pike Push-Ups

Even though the pike push-up is less taxing on the shoulders, elbows, and wrists compared to the diamond push-up, it is still not the best exercise for someone with injuries to those parts.

I've also found that you might feel dizzy if you suffer from low blood pressure, this is because of the position you put your head into. 

If you're healthy, though, this is a great exercise because of the vertical pushing power.

This is one of the few push-ups where the pectoralis major and minor are not the primary muscles, but the anterior deltoids are the main ones.

During this exercise, you'll activate practically the entire upper body plus some lower body muscles (glutes and quadriceps mostly).

If you want to do a handstand, pike push-ups are a must.

How To Do It:

  1. Start in a plank position.
  2. Slowly walk your feet toward your hands until your body forms an inverted V-shape.
  3. Place your head in between your arms.
  4. Keep your arms and legs straight (as much as possible)
  5. Bend your elbows to lower down while keeping them tucked in towards your torso.
  6. When your forehead touches the ground, push back up.

Tips From A Trainer!

Elevate your hands slightly using push-up handles or yoga blocks, by doing so you'll give your head room to move into, increasing the range of motion of this movement.

Related Article - Best Push Up Bar Exercises

6. High Plank Shoulder Taps

Target: Anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, core
Women Doing High Plank Shoulder Taps

Shoulder taps might look simple and easy, but they're tougher than they look. Only one arm will be holding your entire body weight, which requires full-body strength.

Don't be demoralized if you don't succeed on the first try. Over time, you'll achieve the necessary core stability needed to complete this movement.

If you suffer from lower back pain, shoulder taps will help you because you will strengthen not only your chest, arms, and shoulders, but also the quadratus lumborum and other muscles in the lower back/glute region.


  • Uses your entire body.
  • Improves shoulder stability.

How To Do It:

  1. Get into a high plank position.
  2. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Legs must be extended and wider than hip-width apart for stability.
  4. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position.
  5. From that position, raise one hand and tap the opposite shoulder.
  6. Alternate.

Tips From A Trainer!

You have to minimize the movement during shoulder taps.

If you are twisting at the hips or sticking your butt up in the air, try to distance your feet further and engage your core even more. 

7. Incline Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids
Woman Doing Incline Push-Up Exercise Outdoors On The Bench

In my opinion, the incline push-up is the BEST variation for beginners. 

If you've been doing push-ups for years, you probably think it's a piece of cake for everyone. But actually, it's not. There are a lot of people who can't do a few push-ups or even one.

They can start with the knee push-ups I already mentioned or with the incline push-ups variation. Both require less upper body strength, making it ideal for developing your base strength. 

I've also found this chest exercise to be great if you struggle with wrist strength, as you'll find the incline push-up a easier on your wrists than the regular push up. All you need is a chair, table, bench, or anything else stable and firm.

Over time you will progress and be able to do other types of push-ups.


  • Lower wrist strain. 
  • Best push-up variation for beginners.
  • Develops your base strength.

How To Do It:

  1. Place your hands on the bench or chair slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Arms should be completely straight in the starting position.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest is close to the bench.
  4. Push through your hand to return to the starting position with your arms extended.

Tips From A Trainer!

Incline wall push-up is an even less demanding exercise. The more you move your feet away from the wall, the harder it will be, so you can start practically leaning against the wall and only do it through the part of a range of motion. 

8. Decline Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi
Man Doing Decline Push-Up

Whether you find decline push-ups easier or more challenging than regular push-ups depends primarily on the strength of your upper pecs.

Consider whether the incline bench press or flat bench press is easier for you, and you will get the answer.

However, I've found that most of my clients think decline push-ups are tougher. This is largely because of the increased body weight placed on your arms. 

Decline push-ups are ideal for strengthening upper pecs and anterior deltoids, as well as triceps and other upper body muscles.

In this case, the wall variation is more strenuous. When you put your feet on the wall, your core and glutes will have to work very hard to keep you in the decline position and prevent slipping.


  • Increased upper pec activation. 
  • You can do them anywhere. 

How To Do It:

  1. Put your feet on a chair, table, or bench and take a push-up position.
  2. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  3. Do a push-up and tuck your elbows somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you don't want to place your feet on the wall, you can put your feet on any elevated platform such as a bed, bench, kitchen table, etc. 

9. Archer Push-Ups

Target: Anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, biceps brachii
Man Doing Archer Push-Ups

The archer push-up always looked to me like an upper-body version of the Cossack squat.

You load one side and then the other in order to trigger something called specific adaptation to imposed demand.[2]

It's a pretty tough movement if you ask me and should only be attempted by more advanced gym-goers.

Since the movement is not only up and down but also lateral, you will train your chest from a different angle and, over time, solve common imbalances between the left and right sides.


  • Uses a wide range of motion.
  • Ideal for advanced lifters.

How To Do It:

  1. Position your hands wider than your shoulders. Try to go as wide as possible but not at the expense of stability, and you should not feel pain.
  2. Point your fingers and shoulders outward.
  3. Keep your core tight.
  4. Bend your right elbow to shift your body weight to your right side.
  5. Keep your arm completely straight.
  6. Return to starting position.
  7. Now you can repeat the movement to the right side and do the whole set like that, then move to the left side. Or you can work alternately, right arm then left arm.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you're struggling to perform this movement, place your knees on the floor. By doing so you'll remove some of your body weight from your upper body.  

10. One-Arm Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, biceps brachii
Man Doing One-Arm Push-Ups At The Gym

The one-arm push-up is one of the most difficult push-up variations, if not THE most difficult. 

Therefore, if you are not an advanced exerciser without recent injuries, it is better to skip it.

If you want to be like Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky", you'll probably be very motivated to do at least a few reps. Remember that strength is not only what matters, but also technique.

The position of the legs and the whole body must be in proper form. Otherwise, you will not be able to do a one-arm push-up, even if you are the Hulk.

The exercise called uneven push-up is something between regular and one-arm push-up. You need to place one hand on a kettlebell or push-up bar.

So, you can emphasize one arm and pec at a time, but the other hand will help in performing push-ups.


  • Trains each side separately.
  • Ideal for advanced lifters.

How To Do It:

  1. Assume a push-up position.
  2. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your feet wider than hip-width apart. The further apart the feet are, the more stable you will be.
  3. Lift your left hand and put it on your back.
  4. Bend your right elbow until you are just a few inches from the floor.
  5. Push back up through the palm.
  6. Do 5 to 10 repetitions, then repeat with the left arm.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you want to make this movement easier, place your hand on an elevated platform. This will remove some of the weight from your upper body.  

11. Grasshopper Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, core, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors
Woman Doing Grasshopper Push-Up

If you want to strengthen the upper and lower body simultaneously, and improve the flexibility of the hip area and cardiovascular fitness, go with a grasshopper push-up.

The exercise is difficult but well worth your effort. You will notice that a strong chest, arms, and shoulders are not enough.

Your core, glutes, and hip flexors must be equally strong because different parts of your body will have to be in different positions and angles.

While it doesn't directly work the chest, it will help you develop a strong upper body.


  • Works your entire body. 
  • Suitable for most abilities.

How To Do It:

  1. Start in a regular push-up position.
  2. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  3. To maintain a straight back, tighten your glutes and core.
  4. Start a regular push-up, and then somewhere in the middle of the movement, push the left leg in the space between the right hand and right foot all the way to the right side.
  5. Simultaneously return the leg to the starting position and press back up.
  6. Alternate legs, or do one set with the left leg and then the right leg.

Tips From A Trainer!

Some may disagree, but I consider the Spiderman push-up a simpler variation of the grasshopper push-up.

You will perform the Spiderman push-up by bringing one knee to the elbow on the same side while doing the push-up. It's definitely easier and a great progression for the grasshopper push-up. 

12. Clapping Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, core, anterior deltoids
Man Doing Clapping Push-Ups

A clap push-up, also called a plyo push-up, is one of the most explosive push-ups variation. It is a type of plyometric exercise that will elevate your heart rate quickly.[3]

In addition to the fact that you will strengthen the upper body, by regularly doing clapping push-ups you will also burn calories, thus reducing body fat and improving cardiovascular fitness since high-intensity activities can cause body composition improvements.

This is a very advanced move that requires a lot of explosive power and strength. While you're doing the movement, it's important to take care of your wrists to avoid injury.

I love this movement and always try to perform a few sets of these during my chest workouts to develop my explosive power.


  • Develops your explosive power. 
  • Best for advanced lifters. 
  • Burns a lot of calories.

How To Do It:

  1. Start in a standard push-up position.
  2. Perform a push-up, but press up faster to make your hands leave the floor.
  3. Clap your hands.
  4. Land carefully.

Tips From A Trainer!

You can also try behind-the-back clap push-ups. They are even more challenging because you have to push off the ground even harder. 

Related Article - Best Push Up Bar Workouts

13. Floating Plank

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, core, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior
Man Doing The Floating Plank

Floating plank can refer to two exercises. One version is significantly easier and refers to holding a plank in a wide push-up stance, and you need to lower yourself to a mid-push-up position.

Then hold in that position for 30 to 60 seconds, rest, and repeat.

Another version is called a planche push-up and requires almost superhuman strength. Kudos to all those people on YouTube who seemingly effortlessly perform the planche push-up.

The planche push-up will make your whole body stronger, but to be honest, if you can perform it, you are already colossally strong, so performing this exercise probably brings you satisfaction for completing the challenge rather than just doing it as a part of a regular workout.

Now I need to warn you, this is one of the most advanced calisthenics movements around. I don't know many people who can actually do this movement. TRUST ME, it's tough.


  • Uses your entire body. 
  • Strengthens your core. 
  • Develops stability. 

How To Do It:

  1. Get in a standard push-up position.
  2. Then rotate your hands outwards and place them a little above your hips.
  3. Push your hands to lift your body.
  4. Engage your core and bring your legs together.
  5. Raise your feet and legs in the air.
  6. While bending your elbows, lower your chest to the ground so that your legs go higher in the air.
  7. Hold in that position as long as you can.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you're new to this movement, use a spotter to help you balance. 

14. Star Plank

Target: Core, obliques, deltoids, biceps brachii, pectoralis major
Man Doing The Star Plank

The star plank is good for intermediate exercisers, and I regularly implement it into my clients' workout routines after a few months.

It primarily strengthens the core but also the pecs, shoulders, and the rest of the upper body.

You can form a star shape in two ways. One way is the classic push-up position, which I will explain here, and the other way is to turn sideways.

You should lie on the floor on your side and rise on one hand with your arms straight. Legs should be straight, and feet should be one on top of the other.

Lift your hips align, and then lift your upper leg and arm in the air to form a star shape. Hold in that position.


  • Trains one side at a time. 
  • Uses your entire body. 
  • Develops your core.

How To Do It:

  1. Start from a press-up position.
  2. Move your hands and feet out and away from your body.
  3. Once you reach a star shape, brace your core, and hold.
  4. Then walk back to the starting position and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you find it too challenging to balance on your hand, use your forearm instead.  

15. Dips

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, forearms, anterior deltoids
Man Doing Dips Outdoors

Dips are one of the exercises you will find in the workout routine of almost every calisthenics athlete, bodybuilder, and regular gym-goer. And they're one of my all time favorite chest exercises. 

That shows how effective and versatile this exercise is. For most people, bodyweight dip is enough.

A weighted dip is for all those advanced exercisers who want to make this very demanding exercise even harder.

This movement isn't for everybody, it uses a large range of motion (which is great), but it can place a lot of strain on your elbows, shoulders, and chest. So if you're prone to aggravation in those areas, you might want to give this one a miss.


  • Uses a wide range of motion. 
  • Develops a thick chest. 
  • Excellent for tricep development.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand between the dip station and hold it firmly with both hands or use a bench.
  2. Extend your arms to reach the starting position.
  3. Brace your core and depress your scapula.
  4. Bend your elbows to start descending your body.
  5. Control the movement throughout the range of motion.
  6. When your shoulders are below your elbows, straighten your arms to lift your body up.

Tips From A Trainer!

If you lean forward, you will emphasize your chest, while if you want to focus on your triceps, stay more upright. 

16. Resistance Band Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, core, trapezius
Man Doing Resistance Band Push-Ups

Technically speaking, the resistance band push-ups are not a bodyweight exercise because you are using a piece of equipment.

Yet, this is definitely more similar to bodyweight exercises than free-weight exercises, such as the resistance band bench press, which is why it is included in the list.

The great thing with resistance bands is that there are a large number of different tensions, so you will be able to constantly progress, whether you are a beginner or have been doing this for years.

Once you hit a fitness plateau with push-ups, bands will help you.

I've used the resistance band push-ups many times while I've been travelling. It's a great way to overload your chest muscles without needed weights. 


  • Great for travelling. 
  • Places large amount of force through your chest. 
  • Develops your core strength.

How To Do It:

  1. Take both ends of the resistance band in your hands and wrap it around your back (bend should go just under your shoulders)
  2. Get into a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body.
  4. When you are parallel to the floor, energetically push back up.

Tips From A Trainer!

Ensure that the resistance band is relatively flat across your back. If it's twisted, it can sometime pinch your skin... trust me, it hurts a little.  

17. Standing Chest Press

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, core
Woman Doing Resistance Band Chest Press Exercise

You can use a resistance band or suspension trainer for standing chest press. The goal is to simulate the bench pressing, the most popular and one of the most effective chest exercises.

In general, this is a simple exercise but requires a stronger core than regular push-ups since the core must act as a stabilizer.

As with the resistance band push-up, this is the ideal movement for anybody who's on the move. 


  • You can do them almost anywhere. 
  • Strengthens your core. 

How To Do It:

  1. Attach the suspension trainer or resistance band around a sturdy object.
  2. Grab the handles/ends of the resistance band.
  3. Move a few steps forward to tighten the band.
  4. Extend your arms without locking your elbows.
  5. Bend your elbows and repeat.

Tips From A Trainer!

Make sure you have attached the resistance band/suspension trainer tightly to the anchor point. The last thing you need is the resistance band slapping your back, it hurts. 


18. TRX Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi
Woman Doing TRX Push-Ups

The TRX push-up can be a variation of the incline and decline push-up.

I personally prefer the incline TRX push-up, so I will talk about it now, while the next exercise - Suspension Chest Fly, is more effective than the incline TRX push-up (also called suspension push-ups).

The main difference between the regular decline push-up and the TRX decline push-up is the engagement of the core.

The core has to work all the time to stabilize your legs that are attached to the TRX. If you don't have the TRX, you can try TRX alternatives that are just as effective.


  • Uses a wide range of motion. 
  • Great for intermediate and advanced lifters.

How To Do It:

  1. Attach the TRX and adjust the length.
  2. Place your feet in the TRX handles.
  3. Fully extend your arms to reach the starting position and keep your hands a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Bend at your elbows to lower your body below the height of your feet.
  5. Press back up.

Tips From A Trainer!

The more upright your body is, the easier the exercise will be. The lower your body is to the floor, the more challenging it'll be. 

19. Suspension Chest Fly

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, serratus anterior, biceps brachii, core, triceps brachii
Man Doing Suspension Chest Fly

For me, flys are an essential part of a chest workout. If you don't want to use dumbbells or a machine, a suspension trainer is a solution.

You can also use a resistance band if you don't have a suspension trainer. The goal is for the chest muscles to go through a full range of motion.

Full ROM is important not only for strength and rounded pecs but also for injury prevention. Your shoulders will be grateful for this movement.

With the help of chest fly, you will strengthen smaller muscles located deep which can prevent shoulder dislocation, labrum tear, and even collarbone fracture.

I've recently added this to my chest routine and I love it.


  • Uses a wide range of motion. 
  • Develops your chest and core. 
  • You can perform them in most places (with a secure anchor point). 

How To Do It:

  1. Grab the handles.
  2. Walk backward until your body is in a straight line.
  3. Stretch your arms away from you but do not lock your elbows completely.
  4. When you feel the deep stretch, bring your arms back together.

Tips From A Trainer!

Once you return to the starting position, remember to squeeze with your pecs too, not just your arms. 

Chest Muscles 101 – Anatomy Explained

The pectoralis major is a large, fan-shaped muscle that we usually equate with the chest. But there are several other muscles on our chest, not just the pec major.

There is another confusing thing regarding chest anatomy. When you read texts about lower chest workouts, you will see that lower pecs, middle, and upper pecs are often mentioned.

This can falsely lead you to think that there are three different muscles, such as the three deltoids around the shoulder joint.

Regional hypertrophy is possible, and that is why we are talking about the lower, middle, and upper chest.[4]

In fact, it is all one muscle - pectoralis major- with numerous origins and insertion points due to its size. This muscle consists of two heads - the sternocostal head and the clavicular head.

The sternocostal head originates at the sternum and makes up approximately four-fifths of its total size. It is the lower and middle part of the pec, while the clavicular head is the upper part that originates at the collarbone.

The muscle fibers are oriented in different directions, so the angle at which you bring your arm forward determines which part of the pectoral muscle will be more engaged in the movement.

The pectoralis minor is a significantly smaller, triangular muscle, located deeper, under the pec major. It is attached to your ribs and the coracoid, a small hook-like structure on the top of the scapula.

The serratus anterior is another muscle located in this region. In most anatomy books, it is not classified as a chest muscle, but its origin and insertion points are very close to the pectoralis. That is why it has a similar function, primarily in moving the shoulder blades.

5 Benefits Of Bodyweight Exercises For The Chest

1. Convenience and Accessibility

In my opinion, one of the main benefits of bodyweight exercises for the chest is that they're convenient and extremely accessible.

Unlike most other exercises which require specialized gym equipment, bodyweight exercises can be performed almost anywhere. Whether you're at home, in a park, or even in your office.

This can make incorporating them into your daily routine much easier.

Exercises such as push-ups, dips, and their variations require nothing more than your own body weight for resistance, and are some of the best chest developing movements you can do. 

2. Versatility and Adaptability

Bodyweight exercises offer a high level of versatility, allowing you to target all areas of your chest by using modifications.

For example, by adjusting your hand position while performing push-ups can emphasize certain muscle groups, such as your upper chest, lower chest, or even your triceps and shoulders.

So there's no need to swap and change machinery if you want to hit another body part, making each exercise highly adaptable and convenient.

3. Lower Risk of Injury

Most bodyweight exercises, have a lower injury risk compared to lifting heavy weights, providing that you use the correct form.

I've found that using bodyweight exercises allow you to focus on your form, technique, and control, which are key components for effective, safe workouts. 

4. Functional Strength And Core Engagement

Most bodyweight exercises not only target your chest muscles but also your core and other stabilizing muscles. This leads to improved functional strength that can be applied to other exercises.

By developing your functional strength you'll be able to perform daily activities more efficiently without discomfort. For example, push-ups primarily work your chest but also engage your abdominal muscles, lower back, and even legs.

As your whole-body is engaged during these body weight chest exercises, you'll seen improved posture, better balance, and increased strength.

5. Cost-Effectiveness

Lastly, using your body weight is cost effective. You don't need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fitness equipment, making your body the ultimate piece of gym equipment if you want to save some money.
Man in Gray Zip Up Jacket Doing Push Ups Outside

3 Tips For Bodyweight Chest Workouts By Your Goal

The bodyweight chest workout approach will not be the same if you want to build muscles or just warm up before some other type of training.

Since the chest muscles are a large group of muscles, you can train them several times a week.

This is also supported by the fact that recovery from bodyweight exercises is usually shorter than after lifting weights.

If you want to work more than your chest using bodyweight exercises, head over to our ultimate full-body calisthenics workout program for beginners

1. For Strength

When you train for strength, the aim is to be close to failure.

Beginners will quickly notice a significant improvement in strength, while experienced ones will need more time and will have to focus on the most challenging variations.

I advise newbies to do five to six beginner bodyweight chest exercises from the list and to do each one for 3 to 5 sets.

You should be close to failure during each set, but it is not necessary to reach failure every time. Otherwise, it will prolong the recovery.

The same applies to seasoned athletes, only the number of repetitions will be higher, and the exercises will be more difficult.

2. For Building Muscle

Muscle gains will follow strength gains.

But if your primary goal is to build muscles, then it is equally important to pay attention to the range of motion, angles, and the negative phase of the exercises.

The range of motion is very important for the shape of muscles, and when you increase tension as the muscle lengthens, muscle growth is improved.

The choice of exercises is the same as for strength, but try to overload the muscles in different ways.

3. For Warm-Ups

The pre-exhaustion training technique was very popular in the 70s and 80s, but it has been proven that it does not bring many benefits and can even be counterproductive.[6]

That's why when you use bodyweight chest exercises to warm up, the goal is not to get tired but only to prepare the body for the efforts that follow.

Do a few sets of 10 to 12 reps of standard push-ups as well as a few simpler variations like incline and close-grip push-ups. I like shoulder taps during warm-up too.

Commonly Asked Bodyweight Chest Workout Questions

Can I build an impressive chest with just my own body weight?

There is no doubt that you can build a muscular chest with just a body weight. Barbells, dumbbells, and cable machines are not necessary. You just need to be patient because it will take you a little longer to achieve results when you do bodyweight exercises compared to going to the gym.

Which push-up position works the chest the most?

The pecs are the primary muscles in practically every push-up position, and you will put them under the greatest stress when you place your hands about double shoulder-width apart. That way, you will further reduce the involvement of the shoulders and arms in the movement.

How often should I train chest muscles per week?

It depends on factors such as your recovery and training routine, as well as fitness level and goals, but generally, you can train your chest muscles two to three times per week. I recommended you train pecs on non-consecutive days.

How can I increase my chest size in 7 days at home?

Let's make one thing absolutely clear - it is impossible to naturally increase chest size in 7 days at home. That is not even possible with the use of anabolic steroids. If you do some of the above-mentioned best bodyweight chest exercises for mass three times a week, consume enough macronutrients, and take creatine supplementation, you will notice improvement within seven days.


This is my list of the best bodyweight chest exercises to chisel your pecs.

You must be aware that chest bodyweight exercises have certain limitations, but they also have advantages compared to other types of exercises.

The final result will be the same or even better; you just have to be patient and persistent.

Add a few of the exercises from the list above to your workout routine and watch your chest grow. 


1. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Delayed_onset_muscle_soreness_(DOMS)
2. https://www.bettermovement.org/blog/2009/0110111
3. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/what-is-plyometrics
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34743671/
5. https://www.opexfit.com/blog/the-difference-between-relative-strength-vs-absolute-strength
6. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.01424/full

Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.