Top 7 Body-Weight Chest Exercises

body-weight chest exercises

Owning expensive equipment or going to the gym aren’t the only ways to get a solid, defined chest. Your own body-weight is enough to challenge yourself in order to improve strength and muscle mass, as well with losing fat while doing cardio at home.

These 7 body-weight chest exercises will help to build your upper body’s endurance, strength, and muscle mass. All of these chest exercises also target your triceps, core, and back, but some more than others. These exercises are not limited to just men; women can do these body-weight chest exercises as well for a more firm and defined chest.

7. Classic Push-ups

body weight chest pushupThis is the well known classic push-up which is great for everyone. It’s been tried and tested, and is probably the most well known body-weight exercise in the world (and for good reason).

The push-up activates many different muscles of your body. It requires you to keep a good rigid posture which strengthens your core, unlike laying on a bench. It also works out your triceps, shoulders, back, and of course your chest. Push-ups also help to enhance your muscle and cardio endurance, so it’s no wonder why it’s still the standard for testing endurance in the U.S. Department of Defense.


6. Incline Push-ups

incline body-weight pushupsIncline push-ups are a an easier version of the regular push-ups  This exercise is very similar to the regular push-up  except you put your hands at a higher position. This can be a bench, stairs, chair, or anything that is more than 1-2 feet in height.

This takes away some of the difficulty from a regular push-up as you’re not using as much of your body-weight and resistance is reduced.

For less resistance, increase the elevation of your hands, and for more resistance decrease the elevation or preform regular push-ups.

5. Narrow Grip Push-ups

narrow grip pushupsThis is another great body-weight exercise for the chest, as well as shoulders and triceps. To preform this chest exercise, place your hands slightly inward compared to your regular push-up stance, keep your back and legs straight, and preform a push-up.

Building a strong and defined chest is all about targeting all areas of your chest, so narrow grip push-ups are a great addition to any chest workout.

4. Diamond Push-ups

diamond pushups chestDiamond push-ups are similar to the narrow grip push-up  but they work more of the triceps. This is great addition for a full body-weight chest workout, as tricep strength is very important to building a strong chest. Like other push-up variations, it also works out your shoulders, core, and back as well. If you think your shoulder strength is lacking, you can check out these shoulder exercises.

This chest exercise is preformed by placing both of your hands directly under your chest, making a diamond shape with your hands with your thumbs and index fingers touching. This is a more advanced push-up  so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do too many. For beginners  you can start the push-ups from your knees and work up until you can full diamond push-ups.

3. Wide Grip Push-ups

wide pushups chestWide grip push-ups are a great body weight exercise that targets more of the chest compared to diamond push-ups or narrow grip push-ups  They activate different muscles than the regular push-up due to the hand positions and spacing of the hands. For all push-ups, a simple change in hand positions will work out a different part of a muscle.

Wide grip push-ups are a great chest exercise for directly targeting the chest, while putting less pressure on the triceps and deltoids (compared to other body-weight chest exercises).

2. Dips

body-weight dipsThis is the only non push-up exercise to make it in this body-weight chest exercises list, and it’s #2 at that! Dips are a very underrated body-weight exercise for chest, but it definitely deserves this rank. Dips target the lower chest area which is difficult to target otherwise, as well as your triceps.

Most people neglect working out the lower chest, but it’s important not only for a symmetrical physique but for overall strength and endurance.

You preform this exercise by gripping both sides of a dip bar and pushing your body up with your arms and hips straight. Then lower your body down until you can feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest, and then push yourself back up. If you don’t have access to a dip bar, you can use two chairs side by side. It’s important to keep your arms and legs straight and to “feel” the muscles being worked. Try to contract your chest and triceps during the whole exercise.

1. Decline Push-ups

decline body-weight pushupsDecline push-ups are a variation of the classic push-up  except that you need to have your feet elevated slightly higher. This can be done by either elevating your legs on a bench or other object, or placing your feet on a wall with the help of your core and chest muscles, where the height is greater 1-2 feet. It’s an excellent way to challenge yourself if you find regular push-ups too easy, or if you just want to add variety to your chest workout.

For beginners, starting off with less height is best. From there, keep your back and legs straight, and preform a push-up. To keep track and set goals for how many pushups you can do, you can follow this program here.

This chest exercise is more difficult than the regular push-up because you’re forced to do push yourself up with more of your body-weight at a longer range of motion. It also helps to target the upper chest more directly. To make it even more difficult, you can try preforming them with alternating legs.


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