Can you build a killer chest at home?
Can you build a killer chest at home without weights?
Is it going to be easy?
Most people that try to build muscle at home think they can get results simply with a few sets of pushups per day. Pushups work, but only until they stop becoming hard. You need specific stimulation of the chest region, one that can mimic what’s possible in the gym.
Let’s go over some great, killer chest workouts to help you pack on size at home. Exercise descriptions are below.
Killer Chest Workout
Killer Chest Workout (starter workout, general strength & mass)
Use the following a starter muscle building workout if you’re new to in-home calisthenics chest training:
|Hand Release Pushups||3-4||10-15|
|Close Grip Pushups||3-4||10-15|
Killer Chest Workout for Mass
Once you’ve built a solid base, move onto the next phase using more difficult variations:
|1-Sided Elevated Pushups||4||10-12||60-90 seconds|
|Decline Deep Pushups||3||8-10||60-90 seconds|
|TRX Pushups||3||8-10||60-90 seconds|
|Hand Release Pushups||3||6-8||60-90 seconds|
Killer Chest and Back Workout
You can also save time and train chest and back within the same workout:
|One Side Elevated Pushups||4||10-12||60-90 seconds|
|Muscle Ups||2||4-6||60-90 seconds|
|Deep Pushups||3||6-8||60-90 seconds|
|Isometric Iron Cross||3||30 seconds||30-60 seconds|
|Assisted Pullups||2||6-10||60 seconds|
Killer Chest and Bicep Workout
We can also modify the above workout with a bicep-focus:
|TRX Pushups||4||10-12||60-90 seconds|
|Close-Grip Pullups||3||4-6||60-90 seconds|
|Deep Pushups||3||6-8||60-90 seconds|
|Rope Bicep Curl||3||8-12||30-60 seconds|
|Inverted Body Rows||3||10-12||60 seconds|
Killer Chest and Triceps Workout
Even though chest workouts do a good job of targeting the triceps, we can get more results by adding in some more specific, difficult exercises:
|Hand Release Pushups||3||10-12||60-90 seconds|
|One-Sided Elevated Pushups||3||10-12||60-90 seconds|
|Deep Decline Pushups||3||8-12||60-90 seconds|
|Deep Pushups||3||8-10||60-90 seconds|
|Bench Dips||3||12-15||60-90 seconds|
The following are 9 bodyweight exercises that will help produce the greatest mass gain:
Deep Pushups – Stretch Position
The pushup is what you call a typical mid-range movement, similar to a bench press. When you extend the range of motion of the pushup, you move into a stretch position exercise.
Stretching the muscle with resistance is a tried and true muscle building strategy. Study how Arnold would perform his dumbbell flyes – emphasizing the lower portion of the flye with heavy weights.
His muscles would literally be screaming in pain. There will be additional variations you can use to get that greater stretch and range of motion. For now, start with deep pushups.
Todd Kuslikis, author of Isometrics Strength shows you how to perform Deep Pushups:
Hand Release Pushups – Explosive
Generally momentum is a no-no when it comes to building muscle mass. You want to maintain strict form as much as possible. And yet, you regularly see bodybuilders using momentum on many of their lifts.
Even Arnold would use momentum on lifts such as t-bar rows and front deltoid raises. Why? What was the reason for this? Was it caused simply by the pursuit to lift heavy, or was there some legitimate reason behind this?
There is a reason. Explosive training forces your body to recruit a maximum number of muscle fibers. This movement is great as an end of workout finisher and would serve as a precursor for plyometric pushups.
Jen Sinkler, author of Lift Weights Faster explains how to perform this exercise, and also details some additional benefits of the exercise:
Wide Grip Deep Pushups – Stretch Position
To make your deep pushups more difficult, simply widen the grip. Wide pushups on there own are a great stretching movement.
The range of motion, ironically, will be much shorter then regular deep pushups, but the stretch will be greater. Gradually widen the position of your hands, opting for a short range of motion and greater pump.
Here’s a great tutorial showing you Wide Grip Pushups:
Decline Pushups – Compound Strength
The decline pushup is the next step up from the basic pushup. It’s like the incline bench press of bodyweight training, focusing on similar muscles – and then some. Mid range exercises are your basic, big lifts such as squats, bench, and deadlift. These are your mass builders.
Here’s how to perform decline pushups:
Decline Deep Pushups – Stretch Position
The next step up from decline pushups are decline deep pushups. These give you the benefit of decline pushups PLUS the benefit of a greater range of motion.
You get the idea, but just for fun, here’s a video on how to perform decline deep pushups:
TRX Pushups – Stretch Position
Now we’re moving into an advanced stage. The TRX is a portable gym system based on the idea of suspending your body above ground. The TRX pushups taxes maximum advantage of the stretch position, overloading your muscles with a greater percentage of your bodyweight.
Not only will you get the muscle building benefit in your chest region, but you will also be forced to recruit nearly every single muscle in your body, including your abs, to stabilize yourself while performing the movement.
The movement is simple to perform. Grab a TRX handle with each hand. Position yourself so that you are facing the floor. Keep your feet close to the wall or pole where the TRX is attached to. Extend the TRX out in front of you. From here, lower your body towards the ground to execute the pushup.
The following ar 3 other chest movements you can perform with a TRX system demonstrated by Suspension Revolution 2.0’s Dan Long:
One-Sided Elevated Pushups – Stretch Position
The one-sided elevated pushup isolates one side of the chest muscles, working it in the stretched position. The movement can be done in any number of ways: placing your hand on a step,on pushup handles, on a bosu ball, on a kettlebell, or on a medicine ball.
This is also a great movement to help you with the one-arm pushup. Scooby shows you how:
Dips – Compound Strength
The dip is your overall mass builder, training the chest, triceps, and shoulders. You can change the emphasis of which muscle group will get trained by your body position. Lean forward to hit chest, and keep your body more vertical to train shoulders.
Mirin from CalisthenicMovement shows you exactly how changing hand and body positions change which muscle groups are emphasised:
Close Grip Pushups – Compound Strength
Studies show that the close grip pushups work more of the chest then the wide grip pushup. This makes sense since you will be in a stronger position to push more weight. Think of wide grip pushups as more of an isolation lift.
The idea behind the close grip pushups is to bring your hands closer and closer as you get stronger. Scott Herman shoes you the most advanced version of the close grip pushup, the diamond pushup:
Killer Chest Workout and Progressions
Keys to Packing on Mass
There are, of course, many great pushup variations you can use. There are two keys to putting muscle on your chest:
#1 – Progressively Difficult Movements
Once the movements on the left side of the above table become easy, progress to the right side. There are additional things you can do to make your workouts even more difficult.
For example, you can start the one-sided elevated pushups with your hands on a block, then move onto an unstable surface such as a medicine ball.
Similarly, you can start off with hand release pushups, then progress to plyometric pushups without a clap, then add a clap, then try to perform a clap behind your body.
The possibilities are truly endless. Here’s a great video showing you pushup variations:
#2 – Train from Multiple Angles
As shown earlier in the video from Mirin, you can emphasize a different part of your muscle based on how you change your hand and body position.
It’s not by accident that individuals who can do handstand pushups, planche pushups, and muscle ups also carry a good deal of muscle mass. These are difficult exercises and require your body to have a certain level of strength
Combine bodyweight exercises with dumbbell training using a program such as TacFit BAD45 for maximum results!