The Best Calisthenics Chest Workout

You don’t always need barbells and machines to build a muscular chest. The bodyweight calisthenics chest workout can help you develop a stronger chest.

Whenever I do weight training for the chest, I always mix up bodyweight chest exercises because these exercises improve my strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance.

Neutral push-up, narrow push-ups, and dips are the best examples of calisthenics chest exercises that strengthen and tone your chest muscles and help you build an athletic upper body.

In this article, you’ll see a list of the best calisthenic chest workout and routines.

Related: The Best Calisthenics Back Workout And Exercises

Calisthenics Chest Workout (with how-to instructions)

1. Neutral Push-up

One of the major muscles activated during the regular push-up is the pectoralis major aka chest.It works effectively.

When I was a beginner, I used to do 50 push-ups (in three to four sets). And I feel my chest pumped and strong.

Even several studies also suggested push-ups elicited higher activation in pectoralis major followed by arms, shoulders, and core.

Push-up Workout
Calisthenics Chest Push-up Workout

I hope you know how to do push-ups. I’ll just share some tips that you can keep in mind while performing them.

  • Your core will be engaged and your body will be staying in a straight line during the movement.
  • Hips will also move throughout the entire push-up.
  • Your arms will be below your shoulders.
  • If regular push-up on your toes feels hard, you can do it on your knees to make it easy.

2. Narrow Push-up

Narrow push-up generates greater activation for both the triceps and chest major muscles – The Journal of Athletic Training study suggested.

The narrow push-up works more on the larger middle chest (pectoralis major) than the wide hand position push-up.

Calisthenics Chest Workout - Narrow Push-up
Image by Mad Barz

So, these push-up variations must be added to your calisthenics chest workout in my opinion.

  • Get into a high plank position with your arms straight underneath the shoulders and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bring your hands together under your chest with your right thumb touching the left thumb.
  • Keep your core tight and maintain the neutral spine position. This is your starting point.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the ground. And then squeezing your chest, press up until your arms are fully extended, that’s one rep.

If you find it difficult to perform on your toes, you can do that on your knees.

But make sure to squeeze your chest during the movement for a better contraction.

You may also like: Calisthenics Full Body Workout, Routine, And PDF

3. Wide Push-ups

Wide push-ups can be effective for developing a wider chest. Research suggests that the serratus anterior (side of the chest) is highly activated during the wide push-up variations. So doing them will help you build an expanded chest.

Calisthenics Chest Exercise- wide push-up
Calisthenics Chest Exercise

How to do wide push-up

  • Get on your all fours with your arms four to six inches wider than shoulder-width.
  • Extend your legs behind you and keep your toes on the ground so your heels facing away.
  • Make sure your body is straight from head to heels. That’s the setup.
  • Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, lower your chest until it reaches close to the floor.
  • Pause for a second, and then press into the floor with your palms to return to the starting position.
  • This is your one repetition.

If you’re beginner, you can do on your knees.

4. Chest Dips

Difficult but effective, dip is one the best calisthenics workouts you can do for your chest.

The bodyweight dips stimulate both the pectoralis major and minor and build noticeable muscle.

On my chest day, I always do dip because it increases upper-body strength while developing a more muscular chest and arms.

parallel bar dip

This can be challenging for beginners.

So if you’re a beginner, I would suggest you doing supported chest dips, meaning taking your partner’s help.

How to do chest dip:

  • Grab the handles and lift yourself off the floor.
  • Keep your arms fully straight and upper body slightly lean forward, chest up.
  • Bend your knees behind towards your buttock.
  • Brace your core and lower body muscles.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Lower your torso by bending your elbows until you feel the contraction in your pecs.
  • Pause for a moment and then press back until your arms are fully straight.
  • That’s your first rep. Do the next few repetitions.

5. Incline Push-up

Doing incline push-up can help you build the upper chest which is usually skipped during flat push-ups.

Bodyweight exercise is limited for building muscle mass so including it in your calisthenics chest workout can be useful for your chest.

The incline push ups are easy to perform compared to flat push-ups.

How to do an incline push-up

  • Place your hands (shoulder-width apart) on a flat bench or higher object and keep your arms straight.
  • Your feet will be hip-width apart.
  • Your body will stay in a straight line from top to the bottom. That’s the starting point.
  • Lower your chest toward the bench and then press back until your arms are straight. This is your one rep.

6. Decline Push-up

The decline push-ups will challenge your strength as they are difficult to perform than other push-ups for chest.

With the help of decline push ups, you can strengthen your upper and lower chest.

This push up is also called feet elevated push-up.

How to do a decline push-up:

  • Place your feet (shoulder-width apart) on an elevated surface.
  • Keep your hands on the ground with your shoulders over your wrists and elbows slightly bent.
  • Your body will be in a downward position.
  • Brace your core and lower body muscles, and lower your chest to the floor.
  • Pause for a moment and then press back to return to the start.
  • This is your one rep.
  • Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

7. Standing Wall Press

Standing wall press is a beginner calisthenics chest exercise that strengthens pectoralis major and minor.

The above calisthenics exercises for the chest can be hard for beginners, so they can do the standing wall press.

How to do the standing wall press

  • Stand in front of the wall (one step away) with your feet together.
  • Place your hands on the wall (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart).
  • Keep your arms straight, body lightly leaning forward, your back should be straight and chest up.
  • This is your starting position.
  • Bring your chest toward the floor by bending your elbows and then squeezing your chest press into the wall to return to the start.
  • That’s your one repetition.

To do the wall press, you don’t always need the wall. You can do it with the help of any standing object.

8. Triangle Push up

If you ever did dumbbell squeeze press, you would know how well your pecs engaged during that exercise.

You’ll know how well your pecs engaged during a dumbbell squeeze press if you’ve ever done one.

If you’ve ever done a dumbbell squeeze press, you’ll be familiar with how nicely your pecs engaged throughout that workout.

Triangle push-ups works in the same way. It also create greater activation in your chest and triceps muscle.

How to

  • Get into a high plank position with your hands making a triangle shape below your chest.
  • Keep your body straight in line and brace your abdominal and Glutes muscles.
  • Now, bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor and then press into the floor to return to the start, engaging your chest.
  • This is your one repetition.

9. Push up hold

In your calisthenics chest exercise, you can also try push up hold.

It is easy to do and suitable for all fitness level.

Even a study suggested that Isometric strength training can help you maintain and build muscle strength.

You can do the push-up hold exercise at the end of your calisthenics chest workout session.

To do the push-up hold, get into high plank position and lower your chest close to the floor.

Hold in this position for 10 seconds, more or less according to your strength and then lower your knees on the ground and return to the start.  That’s one rep.

Go for 10 to 15 repetitions.

Chest Calisthenics Workout Routine

Beginner Calisthenics Chest Workout Routine

  • Standing Wall Press – 10 reps x 2 sets, 1-minute rest
  • Support Chest Dips – 5 reps x 3 sets, 2 min rest
  • Inline Push-up – 10 reps x 2 sets, 2 min rest
  • Nuetral Push-ups – 10 reps x 2 sets, 2 min rest
  • Narrow Push-up – 8 reps x 2 sets, 1 min rest
  • Push-up Hold – 5 reps x 1 set, 10-15 seconds hold in each rep

Intermediate Calisthenics Workout Routine for Chest

  • Chest Dips – 15 reps x 3 sets, 2 min rest
  • Incline Push-up – 20 reps x 2 sets, 1 min rest
  • Neutral Push-up – 30 reps x 2 sets, 2 min rest
  • Wide Push-up – 20 reps x 2 sets, 2 min rest
  • Decline Push-up – 15 reps x 2 sets, 2 min rest
  • Triangle Push-up- 20 reps x 2 sets, 2 min rest
  • Push-up Hold – 10 repetitions with 15 seconds hold between each rep

Do Calisthenics Workouts Build Chest?

Calisthenics chest exercises are limited in variations and provide limited gains.

You’ll have a few options of exercises to build your chest and you may eventually reach a plateau.

But, calisthenics exercises are still worth it because they can enhance strength, endurance, flexibility balance, and tone muscles.

My Last Words on Calisthenic Chest Exercises

Callisthenic chest exercises strengthen and tone chest muscles and help in developing a strong physique.

Chest dips, narrow push-ups, and regular push are the best calisthenics workouts for developing a muscular chest.

Calisthenics exercises aren’t easy to do, but consistent practice will help you build greater strength. And you’ll be able to do the hardest exercises.

Make sure you feed your muscles the proper amount of nutrients such as protein, carbs, and fats.

Because, whether you want to lose weight or increase muscle mass, you need to take nutrition according to your goal or else it will be difficult to achieve the fitness you desire.

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Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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