Working out at home with nothing but your bodyweight has its distinct advantages – it’s more convenient, there’s no commute and you can do it anytime. However, it doesn’t provide you with the range of exercise options that you find down at the local gym.
When it comes to training the chest, for example, most people run out of training ideas after doing push-ups. The reality is that there are many ways to effectively work your chest with your body weight.
Below we provide you with 6 of the most effective bodyweight chest exercises that you can combine into a killer chest bodyweight workout.
Push-ups are and always will be the most effective bodyweight chest exercise. This exercise is effectively a bench press in reverse. It works the pectoral muscles through its full range of motion and can be done with a huge range of variations to make the exercise easier or more difficult.
Here is how to perform the standard push up
Position yourself face down on an exercise mat with your hands in line with your shoulders and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. Straighten your arms to assume the push-up start position. Now lower to bring your chest down to touch the floor. Explode through your chest to power back up to the start position.
2. Hover Push-Ups
Hover or narrow range push-ups are an excellent finishing chest exercise to put in at the end of your workout. The short hover range keeps the tension on your pecs to allow you to eke out the last bit of strength and muscular performance. Keep going with this exercise until you literally fall flat on your face!
Here is How to Perform the Hover Push-Up
Position yourself face down on an exercise mat with your hands in line with your shoulders and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. Straighten your arms to assume the push-up start position.
Now lower to bring your chest down to touch the floor. From here hover to bring your body up around six inches and back down again. Perform your reps between this range to intensively target the chest muscles.
3. Floor Flyes
Floor Flyes are a bodyweight alternative to dumbbell flyes. It is an awesome exercise to stretch out your pectoral muscles and bring them back to full contraction. You will need to do this exercise on a slick floor such as vinyl or polished timber and have a couple of clothes in your hands.
Here Is How To Perform The Floor Fly
Lie down on a slick floor in the top push up position with a cloth under each hand. Bring your hands together under your body so that your thumbs are touching. Now spread your arms apart to lower your body to the floor under control.
Keep going down until your arms are fully extended. Feel the stretch through the pectorals in this position. Now reverse the motion to bring your hands back together. Contract your pecs tightly in the top position.
Dips are an effective overall chest builder. If you do not have access to a dip bar at home, you can improvise on the corner of a kitchen bench or by using two chairs (just make sure that they are counterweighted).
Here Is How To Perform The Dip
Begin in the top (arms extended position) with your knees bent. Lean slightly forward as you bend your elbows to come down to contraction. Feel a full stretch through the pecs and then squeeze through the pecs and triceps to push back to the start position.
5. Star Plank
The star plank is an isometric contraction that puts more emphasis on your pectorals. Use this one as your second to last exercise (before hover push-ups) and challenge yourself to hold for up to 2 minutes.
Here Is How To Perform The Star Plank
Get down on the floor in the top push up position. Then spread both your arms and feet as wide apart as possible. Hold this extended position, feeling the stretch through your chest muscles. Do not allow your hips to lift or sag during this isometric hold.
6. Plank Reach Under
The plank reach under is a great exercise to build lateral core strength and stability.
Here Is How To Perform The Plank Reach Under
Get down on the floor in the top of a push-up position. Bring your hands back a little so that they are directly under your shoulders. Now reach your right arms back to touch your left foot. Contract the pectoral muscles in the full extension position. Do the same with the other side. Alternate back and forth to complete your reps.
25 Minute at Home Chest Exercise Routine
These six exercises can be combined into an awesome chest workout that you can get through in about twenty-five minutes. Here’s how to do it . . .
You will be doing 3 sets of push-ups on a 45 / 15 second on/off tempo. That means that you will do push-ups at a steady rate for 45 seconds and then rest for 15 seconds. You will repeat this for 5 sets, being sure to stick to those times.
Rest 30 seconds
You will be doing 3 sets of 10-12 reps on dips with a rest period of 60 seconds between sets.
Rest 60 seconds
You will be doing 3 sets of 15 reps on this exercise with a rest between sets of 60 seconds.
Rest 60 seconds
Plank Reach Under
You will be doing 2 sets of 20 reach under on this exercise. Allow yourself just 30 seconds between sets on this one.
At this stage of the workout, your chest will be on fire. That will make this isometric hold especially challenging. Set your total focus, though, on holding this one for a full 120 seconds.
You’ve now made it to the last move. This finishing move will eke out the final bit of strength from your chest. Keep doing these mini hovers until you can’t do anymore. If you can get more than 30 of these, it’s a sure sign that you haven’t been working hard enough on the other exercises!
This article was last updated on March 12, 2021 .