Bodyweight Chest Workout: 4 Basic Calisthenics Exercises

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

March 21, 2020

In this article, I want to offer you a fundamental and yet very effective bodyweight chest workout that you can also do at home if you are in quarantine. It’s a simple calisthenics routine based on 4 essential moves or exercises:

  1. Regular Pushups
  2. Bodyweight Dips
  3. Elevated-Pushups, and
  4. Pushups with Adduction.

It requires almost no equipment besides stripes (TRX), parallel bars or a dip station (you can also use 2 chairs if you do it inside the home), and a box or anything else where you can elevate your hand from the ground by 20 centimeters.

Gym Closed on the Basis of Coronavirus. No Problem!

I’ve seen that many switched these days from weight lifting or any other sport discipline to mainly home bodyweight training, and it is a rush to find the best-suited workout routines.

One of the most debated into the world of bodyweight training is definitely a workout designed to hit the chest muscles. Bodyweight pushups and dips still considered not sufficient enough to hit the chest muscles properly as a bench press routine may be. And here is where I draw a line, and I want to help you get that thought out of your mind.

There are plenty of bodyweight exercises that work very effectively to develop your chest, big and robust. Calisthenics training recruits the whole muscles and generates enough tension if you know how to apply it progressively. In the end, it fatigues the muscles that cause them to respond and grow.

Bodyweight Chest Workout

The Bodyweight Chest Workout:

  1. Regular Pushups: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
  2. Bodyweight Dips: 4 sets of 15-20 reps
  3. Inclined Pushups: 4 sets of 20 reps
  4. Pushups on Stripes with Adduction: 4 sets of max reps.

The total volume that I accrued when I did this bodyweight pushup chest workout was of 260 reps. My chest was extremely sore, and that’s the sign I worked the muscles hard enough.

The break time from set to set is 60-90 seconds. Rest around 2-3 minutes after completing and moving to the following progression.

Form, Range of Motion and Explanations

The form has to be perfect. Dodge the number of repetitions based on it and also on the range of motion. Other said, do a maximum amount of repetitions per set, keeping form and range in mind. This applies mostly to beginners.

Don’t cheat on the range of motion, not even by two inches. The only way to hit the chest muscles well is if you respect this norm. Perhaps, in weight lifting, it’s more about muscle contraction, but in calisthenics is about slow-fast contractions as well as about recruiting the muscles required for stimulus. Doing a complete range of movement helps achieve that more effectively.

Pushups and dips are compound exercises that will engage more muscle groups at the same time, as a system. You can’t isolate muscles with these two, and that’s why you must work with enough reps, with a great form and complete range of motion.

Ultimately, once you have respected these, it’s about accruing as much volume as possible because it’s the amount of sets and reps done that fatigues and stimulates hypertrophy. If you are sad because the gym closed its doors and you can’t benchpress anymore, then focus on the essential aspects I mentioned and trust me that:

  1. Your strength will not drop for benchpress at all
  2. The chest will get pumped and sore on the following days
  3. You’ll have worked your functional strength and power
  4. You won’t lose strength. Instead, you may get even stronger and train more the slow-twitch muscle fibers too, that with bench press may not be trained as well at all times.

You shall train your chest with calisthenics exercises twice a week. On the second one, you can include exercises more dedicated to triceps even though they work every time you do pushing exercises because pecs and triceps are pushing muscles. Check out also the video version of this workout below:

Bodyweight Pushup Workout: BONUS!

You can also try out the following high-rep pushup workout for your chest. I promise it will pump and fatigue the muscle for good:

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