The best bodyweight exercises for your chest

The best bodyweight exercises for your chest

SHARE

IF YOU’RE LOOKING to make your pecs pop, you probably think you need a barbell or, at least, some heavy dumbbells. But that’s just not the case. There are plenty of great moves you can do without any equipment at all—and some that can be done using your own bodyweight and a TRX or band. While these exercises are great for attacking your chest—the pectorals major and minor—they’ll also help get your deltoids, triceps, abs, and more muscles in on the action.

In other words, the following moves, courtesy of Andia Winslow, professional athlete, sports performance coach, and founder of Winslow Way Conditioning, will help you get that chest you’ll want to show off on the beach this summer—and carve the rest of your body. Combine them for the ultimate Chest Day bodyweight workout. Or, sprinkle a few in to your total body routine.

1. Traditional pushups

Why it’s great: “Nothing beats the original,” says Winslow.

Pro tip: To avoid being that guy with the bad pushup form, make certain to keep your body in alignment from head to toe, and think about leading with your sternum as to avoid a craned neck and sloppy body position.

Do: 12-15 Reps x 3 Sets

2. Dips: Eccentric lowers

Why it’s great: “The ultimate in body control and timing, eccentric dips will add challenge to your routine in a different way,” says Winslow.

Pro tip: The key is to maintain a consistent lowering speed all the way through the bottom of the move. Don’t rush, “slow” wins this race.

Do: 8-10 Reps x 3 Sets

3. Side-step chest press

Why it’s great: “This is a great way to work the chest while challenging lateral stability and resisting rotation,” says Winslow.

Pro tip: Anchor a super band to about hip height, laterally lunge away from anchor point and press band out, fully extending arms in front of chest.

Do: 8-10 Reps x 3 Sets.

4. Dive bomber pushups

Why it’s great: “This move is part deep stretch and part strength-builder,” says Winslow.

Pro tip: Just as in yoga, merge your breath and body to get the most out of the dive bomber. Inhale in downward dog to start and exhale as you transition into cobra. From downward dog, you’ll “dive” your chest down so that it comes close to—but doesn’t touch—the ground momentarily before finishing in a slightly arched position at the top of the move. Return to start by pushing in the opposite direction. Make the move more difficult by slowing your lowering pace in both directions.

Do: 5-7 reps x 3 Sets

5. Isometric presses: High, medium + low

Why it’s great: “These are sleeper moves that can be performed after weight-bearing moves, during rest, or on their own,” says Winslow. “Isometric exercises can generate force without motion, and are a great way to experiment with body control and generate static strength.”

Pro tip: Press hands together as hard as you can, arms extended, with a slight flexion in your elbows.

Do: 8-10 Reps x 3-5 Sets

6. Roll out ladder pushup switch outs

Why it’s great: “This is a pushup variation that taxes your chest and your core as much as it helps build coordination,” says Winslow.

Pro tip: If you don’t have a roll out ladder, don’t worry—all you really need is a line on the ground: basketball court, soccer field, extended shadow in your yard. Make certain to really push through the ground and keep shoulders stacked over hands as your body moves laterally through the ladder or across the line, stopping to do pushups as you go.

Do: 10 yds each direction x 3 Sets.