At Home Advanced Bodyweight Chest Exercises

chest

Twelve Exercises That Build Strength and Size

For many, training in a gym may not be possible. This may be due to coronavirus restrictions, health concerns, busy lifestyles, location, amongst many other reasons.

However, it is very possible to make substantial health and fitness improvements without attending the gym.

In addition, not only is training at home convenient, free, and private, you don’t necessarily need equipment in order to enjoy a workout.

This article will briefly provide information on advanced training at home before moving on to detail twelve advanced bodyweight exercises that will help improve chest strength and size.

Advanced Strength Training At Home

When it comes to improving strength, it is imperative that the body is exposed to a training stimulus. As a result of this stimulus, the muscles will be forced to adapt and increase in strength and size.

However, if you have been training for a prolonged period the body will have become highly conditioned and more resistant to change.

Therefore, employing more advanced training exercises and methods can allow you to continue making progress once again (1). 

You may assume that advancing your training is not possible without having access to particular gym equipment. 

While attending the gym may make this easier, there is an array of advanced bodyweight exercises that require no equipment and allow you to make excellent progress with your strength.

Twelve Advanced Bodyweight Chest Exercises

A common goal, particularly with men, is to improve their chest strength and size. This is something that can be achieved through regular home training.

If you aspire to improve chest strength and size, utilize a number of the following exercises detailed below.

The push-up is the king of bodyweight chest exercise. Therefore, the vast majority of the following exercises are push-up variations. 

push-up

1) Wide Push-Ups

The wide push-up is one of the most effective strengthening exercises for the pecs. Generally speaking, a wide position recruits the pec major muscle more heavily than a narrow position (2).

Technique: 

– Begin with the hands much wider than the chest with the legs fully extended out behind

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Hinge at the elbows, control the descent, and drop right down to the floor

– Keep the elbows down from the line of the shoulders

– Contract the pecs and extend at the elbows to drive the body back up to the start position

2) Diamond Push-Ups

Although the diamond push-up places more demand on the triceps than the wide push-up, it highly activates the pectoralis minor muscle in the chest.

Technique: 

– Begin with the hands directly under the chest and extend the legs fully out behind

– Touch both thumbs and both index finger together to create a diamond shape

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Hinge at the elbows, control the descent, and lower as far as possible

– Keep the elbows tucked in tight to the ribcage

– Push the hard into the floor and extend the elbows to drive back up to the start position

push-up

3) Decline Push-Ups

By elevating the feet and increasing the angle of the body, a greater amount of stress is placed on the pecs.

Technique

– Begin with the hands directly under the shoulders

– Extend the legs fully out behind placing the feet on an elevated surface (i.e box or chair)

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Hinge at the elbows, control the descent, and drop the chest towards the floor

– Keep the elbows tucked in and avoid flaring

– Contract the pecs and fully extend the elbows to drive the body back up to the start position

4) One-Arm Push-Ups

The one-armed push-up requires a great degree of core strength, stability, and balance as well as chest and arm strength.

Technique

– Extend the legs fully out behind

– Place one hand on the floor directly under the shoulder keeping the other hand by the hip

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Hinge the elbow and control the descent as best as possible

– Drive hard into the floor to propel the body back up to the start position

– Having completed the desired number of reps, swap arms, and repeat

push-up

5) Plyo Push-Ups

Be aware that while the explosive push-up variation is an excellent exercise for improving power output, it is an intense exercise!

Technique

– Begin with the hands directly under the shoulders and extend the legs fully out behind

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Descend in a controlled manner by hinging both elbows

– As you reach the bottom position, explosively press into the floor to propel the body upwards and lift the hands from the floor

– Land with the hands directly under the shoulders and immediately perform the next rep

6) Gorilla Push-Ups

The gorilla push-up is very similar to the plyo variation and also demands a great amount of power, speed, and control.

Technique

– Begin with the hands directly under the shoulders and extend the legs fully out behind

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Descend in a controlled manner by hinging both elbows

– As you reach the bottom position, explosively press into the floor to propel the body upwards

– In mid-air, rapidly slap your chest with both hands before landing

– Land with hands directly under the shoulder and immediately perform the next rep

7) Shuffle Push-Ups

To complete the shuffle push-up you will need a great amount of core strength and stability as well as chest strength.

Technique

– Begin with the hands directly under the shoulders and extend the legs fully out behind

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Move one hand from the floor and place it much wider than shoulder-width

– Perform a full push-up and then return the hand to under the shoulder

– Repeat the process using the other arm

push-up

8) Crossover Box Push-Up

A further progression on the shuffle push-up is the crossover box push-up. This variation involves crossing the hands over each other which demands focus and good coordination.

Technique: 

– Begin by placing the right hand on a box and left hand on the floor

– Ensure that the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Lift the left hand from the floor, crossover the right hand, and place it on the box

– Once completed, lift the right hand and place it on the floor

– Perform a full push-up and then alternate sides and repeat

9) Resistance Band Push-Up

While this exercise predominantly uses bodyweight, simply adding a resistance band can increase the intensity of the exercise and lead to greater strength improvements.

Technique: 

– Begin by holding onto a resistance band and wrap it around the upper back

– Assume the push-up position while holding the band in the same position

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– With hands under the shoulders and body long, control the descent to the floor

– Drive powerfully into the floor to return to the starting position

10) One-Foot Push-Up

By lifting one foot from the floor, the body becomes less stable and the amount of stress placed on the pecs increases.

Technique: 

– Begin with the hands directly under the shoulders and extend the legs fully out behind

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Prior to hinging the elbows, lift one leg off the ground and then begin the descent

– Drop down as far as possible before driving back up to the starting position

– Alternate leg and repeat

push-up

11) Plank Push-Up

On the face of it, this exercise looks simple. However, after performing only a few reps you will feel fatigue rapidly building in the chest and the shoulders.

Technique: 

– Begin in a forearm plank with elbows directly under the shoulders and legs fully extended

– Engage the core and glutes in order to keep the back flat and hips in place

– Move from the plank position to the push-up position by moving the arms and placing the hands on the ground

– Perform a push-up, drop down to a forearm plank once again and repeat

12) Suspended Chest Dips

Although push-ups are undoubtedly excellent for upper body development, wide dips also effectively work the pecs, shoulders, and triceps (3).

Technique: 

– Find an appropriate structure that allows you to hold your body up (i.e corner of a worktop)

– Place the hands flat on the structure and ensure they are slightly wider than shoulder-width

– Push into the structure to lift the body from the floor and bend the knees to ninety degrees

– While keeping the core engaged, hinge the elbows and drop down towards the floor

– Continue to lower until the elbows create a ninety degree angle

– Pushing hard through the hands in order to bring the body back up to the starting position

Final Word

Strength training comes in many different forms. Bodyweight training is an excellent tool that is highly versatile, convenient, and effective.

By incorporating a handful of the advanced bodyweight chest exercises detailed in this article, it is possible to significantly increase pec strength and size.

References:

1 – Krzysztofik, Michal; Wilk, Michal; Wojdała, Grzegorz; Gołaś, Artur (2019-12). “Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16 (24). doi:10.3390/ijerph16244897. ISSN 1661-7827. PMC 6950543. PMID 31817252.

2 – Kim, You-Sin; Kim, Do-Yeon; Ha, Min-Seong (2016-2). “Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar width on muscle activities”. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 28 (2): 446–449. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.446. ISSN 0915-5287. PMC 4792988. PMID 27064571.

3 – Bagchi, Amritashish. “A COMPARATIVE ELECTROMYOGRAPHICAL INVESTIGATION OF TRICEPS BRACHII AND PECTORALIS MAJOR DURING FOUR DIFFERENT FREEHAND EXERCISES”. Journal of Physical Education Research.

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Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.