Bodyweight Chest Exercises

When talking about dumbbell and barbell chest exercises, we emphasized that most workouts came down to a modification of a few things. The first is that a majority of the workouts can be tied back to either a press or a fly. This would seem limiting, but adding incline and decline introduces a larger variety of workouts. Finally, with barbell chest exercises we discussed that different hand positioning could target different areas of the chest (or even take a chest exercise and turn it into a tricep exercise). Without any equipment, flyes become more difficult to improvise – not impossible, but definitely more difficult. We know the push-up is a trusted ‘press’ exercise. Let’s discuss how to modify bodyweight chest exercises to help them target the entire chest.

Push-Up Variations

The standard push-up is great for working the entire chest. To make sure we’re on the same page with how wide your arms should be, in a standard push-up your arms should be shoulder-width or just a few inches more. One of the most popular ways to modify the standard push-up is to add an incline to target the upper-chest. This is simple, simply put your feet onto an elevated surface. Incline push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise to target the same muscles you would on an incline bench press. The same works the opposite way. If you instead place your hands on the incline with your feet on the ground, this will hit the lower part of your chest, similar to decline bench press. These modifications now add 3 variations of bodyweight chest exercises. However, placing your hands wider or narrow open up an additional 3 variations for each of these types. Remember, wider-grip push-ups will hit the outer chest.

As always, we’ll include a few bodyweight chest exercises below. If you don’t know how to compile these into a good bodyweight workout, check out Verner’s 7-minute blast on Daily Spot. His program updates every day.