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Bodyweight Chest Workouts

I was wondering what the best bodyweight workout for the chest is? My guess would be the hand armed push-ups, but that seems to work the arm as much if not more than the chest.

the other thing i was thinking about are weighted dips. what do you think?

umm… yes. Check out the search function and there should be many articles to give you ideas. Weighted dips isn’t really a bodyweight exercise(its weighted) but as for bodyweight exercises try clapping pushups, and wiping pushups for lack of a better term where you get two peices of cloth or similiar and on a slick floor place a hand on each cloth in pushup position and slide your hands out to the sides without bending your elbows much and back up. Like you are wiping the floor.

search revealed not much except push ups.

the main thing is that ive noticed that my legs are doing amazing because of one legged squats, where my bodyweight is pretty much my 1 rm max … in contrast my push ups, which is probably like %40 of my 1 rm, i think, has caused my chest to be my weakest body part. I love the idea of bodyweight training in that you can do it anywhere and its so versatile. But my chest just isnt developing.

You may want to check out this article by Chad Waterbury. It includes “slide push-ups.”


Don’t forget Hindu Pushups.

[quote]hiroprotagonist wrote:
I was wondering what the best bodyweight workout for the chest is? My guess would be the hand armed push-ups, but that seems to work the arm as much if not more than the chest.

the other thing i was thinking about are weighted dips. what do you think?[/quote]

If you want to hit your chest try wide grip (stance) Push-ups with your feet on a bench.

If that is still to easy have a friend place a weight on your back. As you get stronger you can increase the weight. If you like, you could use a wt. vest instead of the weight on your back. I have trained both ways.

You have three things going here that will hit your pecs: 1. Wide grip. 2. Feet elevated. 3. Weight on your back. You can further manipulate any of the above three in order to get a tougher workout.

Try just three sets, going to two reps short of failure. See how you feel the next day. It might do the trick!

wow thanks! this is perfect!

1-Parallette training
2-Handstand Pushups (yes WILL work ur chest)
3- Elevated pushups
4- different hand positions
5- suspended pushups (rings, chains, blocks)
6- One hand pushup variations.
6a- raise one leg in the air
6b- elevate both legs (mentioned prior
6c- elevate one hand on a medicine ball
6d- wider the legs, easier it is to do a one hand pushup.

I spent a few months earlier this year doing bodyweight-only training. From my experience a combination of pushup bars and differing angles makes the difference. If you have a slick kitchen or garage floor the wiping version already mentioned is pretty awesome. I almost always alternated some form of pushup with some form of chin which made for a pretty decent pump. Believe it or not, the change to bodyweight only training for a couple of months helped me put on some noticeable size in my chest and back. Don’t do it exclusively for long though.

hm? why not? bodyweight just can’t possibly offer enough resistance?

-one-arm pushups

-decline pushups(feet above ground)

-weighted pushups and dips(vest, belt…)

-towel pushups from Chad Waterbury’s “Huge Chest in six weeks” article.

-wide-grip pushups for reps

There’s more to bodyweight exercises than most people think. The old “the heavier you lift the bigger you are” is not set in stone. Just look at all the volume programs out there that work excellent for hypertrophy.

Push-ups on a balance-board or wobble board as some call them…

Check out www.power-systems.com
I’ve personally tried pushups on this one and found it worked well: http://www.power-systems.com/nav/closeup.aspx?c=Srch&g=891#

They offer a large variety. They’re fairly expensive for what they are, but you can easily craft one yourself if the cost is prohibitive.

One-arm handstand push-ups on a 12" swiss ball on a glass floor covered with a 1" thick layer of olive oil.

Seriously, though, exercises on Power Rings:

-Ring Dips,
-Ring flies,
-Maltese crosses.

I have done all of these and can say from exerpience that they are excellent chest exercises.

[Okay, ALMOST all of these]

what in the name of all that is anabolic and anti-estrogenic is a maltese cross?


Jason Gatson performing a Maltese during the 2004 US Olympic Trials

The Maltese will tend to heavily stress the biceps, forearms, traps and shoulders. It is difficult to say which area is worked the hardest, as everyone’s weak link is slightly different. The chest is also worked, but not nearly to the same degree.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

Needless to say the original poster will not be performing a “Maltese” anytime in the near future. Nor will anyone else who has posted on this thread.

However, a set of rings will go a long way in upping your interest (and muscle) regarding body weight only movements.

Manipulating time under tension at different stages throughout the movement and your strenght developement will help alot.Good rule of thumb-go slow on the way down,stay down to relaese any stored tension, explode on the way up.
BTW, I have incorporated alot of gymnastic movements into what I call the freaky strength moves, and the maltese is one of them.I’ll post some pics soon now that I’ve gotten over my shyness.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my Branding Iron columns for an awesome bodyweight chest exercise:

Well, if you’re staying at a hotel in the central Midwest region, you could call up my buddy Tater and he’ll bring one of his fat sows to hoist on your back while you perform a few push-ups. If that doesn’t tickle your farmin? fancy, then perform one-arm Side Push-ups. Here’s how to do them:

  1. Lay on your left side, legs straight and feet together.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor at chest level. Your fingers should be pointing toward the top of your head as if you’re performing a traditional push-up.
  3. Depending on the length of your arms, and strength levels, your right hand should be placed about 4 inches away from your left pectoral region (further away if you’re stronger).
  4. Bend your left arm and place your forearm behind your head so your head is resting on it (as if you were using it for a pillow while sleeping).
  5. With your right hand on the floor, tighten your abs/glutes, and push yourself up off the floor while keeping your body rigid.
  6. Lower down to starting position under control and repeat.
  7. Perform 2-3 reps before switching to the left arm.
  8. Rest 60s between sets and perform 6 sets.

This is one brutal sumbitch of an exercise. Definitely not for those with a low tolerance for pain, or for those with average, or slightly above average, maximal strength levels. This is a very advanced exercise and I’ve only encountered a few trainees who can perform it properly. If you can perform them properly, you’re in the elite. Initially, if you can’t perform them throughout a full ROM, do the following:

  1. Hoist yourself to the top position.
  2. Hold for 5-6 seconds isometrically (no joint movement).
  3. Immediately switch to opposite arm and hold.
  4. Rest 90s between sets (after using each arm).
  5. Repeat for 6 holds on each arm.
  6. Perform holds for 2-3x/week.

Once you can perform the aforementioned holds, start performing ? movement Side Push-ups. From the top position lower yourself a few inches before pushing back up. Rest and repeat as prescribed in the original parameters. Before long, you’ll be performing a full ROM.
Give this exercise a try. You might soon be calling me for Tater’s number instead!