Bodyweight Chest Workout – No Weights Needed!

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bodyweight chest workout

A Complete Bodyweight Chest Workout Guide – No Equipment Or Gym Membership Needed

A few things before we begin. Here we will see the best exercises for both developing the pectorals and safeguarding the joints. In any training program, or when choosing any exercise, joint protection should always be your priority.

We will therefore see different variations of bodyweight push-ups with a gradual increase in intensity in order to allow people of all fitness levels to make use of this guide and see results.

The push up is one of the best ever exercises to develop the muscles of the torso and allow you to simultaneously train the pecs, triceps, front shoulder, scapula stabilizers, spinal stabilizers and even your core.

The exercises in this bodyweight chest workout are recommended for both men and women.

As we will see, in all these push-up variations it’s very important to go down very low with chest by either touching the floor or stopping 1-2 cm above the ground. Furthermore, we will also see in the workouts below the importance of eccentric push ups, especially in the beginning.

In general, it is always good to remember that the lowering movement of push-ups should be performed in a slow and controlled way.

Knee Push-Ups

If you’re starting completely from scratch with push-ups it’s possible that in the beginning you will not be able to perform the classic push-up which we’ll cover shortly.

This doesn’t pose a problem at all. The solution is to start doing push ups while resting on your knees. After 2-3 weeks you can try doing classic push ups and see how it goes.

Typically, by the time you’re able to perform about ten knee push ups you’ll be able to do 1 or 2 classic push ups with a straight body.

Place yourself on a soft mat or soft surface such as a carpet or lawn area, or otherwise on a harder surface like a clean floor. Place your hands on the ground in front of you so that your elbows are at about 45 degrees with your body.

Execution: Place your knees on the floor on the mat and cross your feet. Now slowly lower yourself with your arms and when your chest touches the ground go back to the starting position. This is a push up.

Do as many push ups as possible with each set. Try to always maintain a controlled downward motion to increase strength.

NB: Don’t keep the elbows raised excessively as it can be aggravating for your shoulders in the long term. Joints must be our first concern when we train.

Classic Push Ups

Place yourself on a soft mat or soft surface such as carpet, lawn or a harder surface like a clean floor. Place your hands on the ground in front of you so that your elbows are at about 45 degrees with your body.

Execution: Rest on your toes keeping your body straight in the typical push-up position. You can keep your feet close together or further apart for more balance, whatever works for you.

Be careful not to lift your butt during the movement as it facilitates the effort and decreases the load on your chest.

Now that we have feet and hands resting on the ground, slowly go down with the chest towards the ground. We keep the hip straight in line with the body at all times throughout the movement.

To give you a reference for the timing of each push up, consider pushing up in 1 second and descending in 2-3 seconds. In this way both the concentric phase and the eccentric phase of the push up will be fully exploited.

When you’re first starting out with a bodyweight chest workout, do single push-ups where you focus entirely on your form in order to automate the correct movement.

Close-Grip Push Ups

This is just like the previous pectoral push-ups, but here the hands are close together, resting on the ground at the position of our chest while we are lying down. Keeping the body straight is simply a matter of pushing yourself up as in a classic push-up, in the usual controlled manner.

Wide Push Ups

These pectoral push ups are intense and difficult and are only recommended for advanced people who have already mastered the previous types of push ups. It involves performing a classic push-up but with the hands much further apart.

How much further apart? This depends because they can be done at various widths and clearly the more they widen the more intense it becomes so start gradually.

When you’ve found the distance you feel is right for your current strength level, find a way to keep your mark for the next workouts. The movement will be shorter than the classic push up so make sure you control your body throughout the movement and don’t do any explosive movements.

This exercise for the pectorals intends to simulate as much as possible the cable crossover exercise that you’d perform in the gym.

Feet Elevated Push Ups

This exercise is only suitable for people who have trained and practiced with lots of push ups. This is like the classic push up seen previously but this time the feet will be resting on an elevated surface.

The angle of the body will create an overload on the pectoral and anterior deltoid muscles, intensifying the push up. You can start from different elevation levels by using different objects (benches, boxes, chairs, walls) and making sure they are always firm and solid.

I suggest starting with relatively low elevations (30-50cm) and then gradually increasing over time as you improve. Be careful to keep your body straight throughout the range of motion.

Chest Training For Beginners

If you are starting from scratch, start with these workouts to start developing your chest and triceps in the most correct, gradual and effective way possible. Start with the first workout and move on to the next only when you’re able to achieve the minimum requirement listed at the bottom of each workout.

Eccentric push ups refer to the lowering portion of a push up without the push up phase. An eccentric repetition is very slow and must be performed by descending according to the time given in each workout listed below.

Bodyweight Workout 1

  • Knee Push Ups: Perform 4 sets of as many reps as possible. Rest 60 seconds between sets
  • Close-Grip Knee Push Ups: Perform 4 sets of as many reps as possible. Rest 90 seconds between sets
  • Eccentric Push-Ups (slow descent only): Perform 4 eccentric push ups that last 6 seconds each. Rest 20 seconds between each eccentric push up

Minimum Requirement

Once you can perform 4 sets of 6 reps with the knee push ups, move on to the next workout program.

Bodyweight Workout 2

  • Classic Push-ups: Perform 4 sets of 2-4 reps. Rest 120 seconds between sets
  • Knee Push Ups: Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Rest 60 seconds between sets

Minimum Requirement

Once you can perform 6 consecutive classic push ups, move on to the next workout program.

Bodyweight Workout 3

  • Classic Push-Ups: Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets
  • Close-Grip Push-ups: Perform 4 sets of 4 reps. Rest 60 seconds between sets
  • Knee Push Ups: Perform 2 sets of as many reps as possible. Rest 90 seconds rest between sets

Once you can perform 3-4 sets of 8 repetitions of classic push ups, you’re at a very high level of push up proficiency. You can now substitute the knee push ups from Workout 3 with wide push ups as follows:

Bodyweight Workout 4

  • Classic Push-Ups: Perform 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Rest 90 seconds between sets
  • Close-Grip Push-ups: Perform 4 sets of 4 reps. Rest 60 seconds between sets
  • Wide Push Ups: Perform 2 sets of as many reps as possible. Rest 90 seconds rest between sets

That wraps up pretty much everything you need to know when it comes to creating a bodyweight chest workout. Work your way up through each workout progression and be amazed with your fast results.

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