Chest Workouts

Calisthenics Chest Workout – Step-By-Step Bodyweight Strength

A strong and toned chest without weights? You've got it sister

Calisthenics can be a girl’s best friend. That’s why we love a calisthenics chest workout when we can’t hit the gym or just aren’t feeling the free weights. So, why not try this bodyweight strength workout today? All you’re going to need is yourself, those fabulous muscles, and an attitude set for success. Let’s do it, girl.

The main go-to calisthenics chest exercise will always be push-ups. And why not? They’re perfect for performing anywhere and are known to tone our whole upper body. Hell, forget toning, calisthenics are among the best bodyweight exercises to get a girl strong – period.

For this workout, you’ll be pulling out four different push-up variations. Variety is key in calisthenics because you have to get creative when building muscle with nothing but bodyweight.

Plus, changing things up keeps workouts fun and challenging. Who wants the same old sets and reps every week? Bore.

To give your body a break from push-ups (even though they’re awesome) you’ll also hit a set of chest dips. So, you’ll need to find the parallel bars in the gym or park. Or you could just grab two chairs to lean against at home.

Okay, enough of the calisthenics chit chat. We should probably get to work building that bodyweight strength, girl.

Calisthenic Chest Workout for Women

Lace up your favorite pair of circuit training sneakers because we’re going all in. Perform each exercise back to back for 8-10 reps, resting as and when you need. Then when you’ve finished all five, take a minute or two to rest.

This circuit will be three or four rounds long depending on how strong you are.

It’s up to you to push yourself so your muscles adapt and grow back stronger. As always, you’ll get out what you put in here, girl.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Exercise 1 – Push-ups
  • Exercise 2 – Wave push-ups
  • Exercise 3 – Chest dips
  • Exercise 4 – Diamond close hand push-ups
  • Exercise 5 – Incline push-ups

You didn’t think we were just gonna leave you to go at it alone, did you? No way – that’s not our style. We’ll break down exactly how to do each exercise for you now.

Woman performing push up strength training without weightsPush-ups

Performing a perfect push-up is just as much about technique as it is brute strength. So, learning all the key points can help you really get the most out of each one.

  1. First, you need to get into a plank position. Your hands should be under you and slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your legs straight and feet touching each other. This is the top part of your perfect push-up and your starting position.
  2. Tuck your elbows into your side as you lower your chest toward the ground. Keeping your arms in like this helps keep your shoulders healthy, as well as making sure you don’t waste any energy. Once you’re at the bottom, your upper arms should be at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Take a moment here and contract your working muscles. This is just a little tip to increase muscle damage and squeeze every last bit from the rep.
  4. Now push hard back to the top position. Keep those elbows tucked in and core tight as you push. Your body should feel like one straight line while you’re doing the whole rep.
  5. That’s it, one down and nine more to go. If at any point you feel your back bending and your form breaking – just stop and finish the set. That’s your body telling you your limit for that day.

Tip: If you find regular push-ups too tough, you can make them easier. Simply perform the same movement from your knees (and not your feet) until you’re ready for the full thing.

Wave push-ups

After perfecting your regular push-up, it’s time to move onto this tougher variation. Rather than just moving your arms, wave pushups get the hips and chest involved too. You might have also heard this variation called the Hindu push-up.

Are you up to the wave push-up challenge? Of course you are, girl. No calisthenic chest workout is complete without them.

  1. Set yourself up with both hands out in front of you, palms down at around a shoulders width and a half. Come up onto your toes so your feet are now in line with your hands.
  2. Raise your butt so your back is straight. Your arms, neck, and back will all be in a line right from your wrists to your booty. This position should look somewhat like a reverse-pike or a triangle shape with arms out in front and legs out back.
  3. When you’re ready, bend at your elbows in the same way as doing a push-up. But, as soon as your chest is about to touch the floor push it forward before extending the arms.
  4. Once you’ve gone as far forward as you can, press through your palms to return to the starting position. If you got all the steps right, you’ll have felt your body flow like a wave.

Tip: If you feel your hands slipping try wave push-ups on a yoga mat. Let your palms press and spread into the foam for better grip.

Woman performing chest dip as part of calisthenics chest workoutChest dips

Chest dips are super convenient for a calisthenic chest workout. They make a welcome break from push-ups and can be done nearly everywhere. Plus, they’re great for strengthening the shoulders and triceps for a total torso bodyweight workout.

We’re going to teach how to hit these on the parallel dipping bars. But if you’re doing this workout at home, you can use the flat part of two chairs and keep your knees on the floor.

  1. Set yourself up comfortably on the parallel bars so that both arms are straight. Think about pulling your shoulders in tight to take out any slack and look straight ahead.
  2. Press your chest out a touch as you lower your body down slowly. To help keep things stable brace your core, cross your feet, and bend your knees slightly so your heels move toward your but a tiny bit.
  3. Descend down until your elbows flex to a tight angle. Your hands will be in line with the top portion of your chest and you’ll feel the tension in your chest. You should also feel your upper-back squeeze together as you come to a natural stop. Don’t drop down really fast if you can help it as it could hurt your shoulders.
  4. Make sure you’re stable and push using the power of your arms and chest until you’re back to the top. Maintaining a firm core will help you be the most efficient and not waste any energy. If at any point you lose form, finish the set right there.
  5. Awesome! That’s job done, girl. Keep going until you’ve crushed the whole set unless your form became broken.

Tip: If you’re finding it too hard to hit your first rep, put your feet on the floor. As you progress you can move them further away, to one foot, and then to none at all. Strength is all about listening to your body and trying these natural progressions.

Diamond push-ups

We’re gonna go back down push town with this diamond variation. While it may look cute, it’s an absolute killer of a calisthenic chest workout. Especially for the upper chest.

You’ll also feel this exercise really home in on your triceps too. So, it’s an ideal bodyweight strength workout move if you’re looking to target your arms. Did somebody say hella toned tris? Yassss, girl.

Here’s what you’re gonna do:

  1. Start in a top plank as you did for the first push-up. Now, move your hands in so your thumbs and forefingers touch. Look down and you’ll see a diamond shape. We’d make a joke about these being a girl’s best friend, but we all know that’s squats and peanut butter. Are we right?
  2. Now, brace your core and tense those glutes. Pull your shoulders back and inward too to stabilize them.
  3. When you’re ready, lower your body as one straight line until your chest touches your hands. The diamond will now be directly under your sternum and your elbows will be tucked in tight. It’s okay if they flare out a tiny bit but try to keep them as close as possible.
  4. Using the power in your chest and tris push-up back to the top. Take a breath and then go again!
  5. That’s one of many, sister. We told you they were a tricep killer – good work!

Tip: Just like in the regular push-up, if you find these tough, go from your knees. This is a really common way of scaling push-ups so they’re accessible to everyone. Then when you feel strong and ready try the full thing.

Incline push-ups

This is your last and final exercise. We’ve included it as a great way to target the lower chest as well as give you a less intense movement to finish.

It’s up to you what gradient of incline you use. The steeper you go, the easier things become. Bodyweight strength workouts are all about gauging what level of intensity you need to challenge your muscles. A low bow or step will provide a much tougher test than leaning against a wall. As always, it’s your call girl.

Hit these steps to finish strong:

  1. Set up in a top plank position with your hands on an object. Your body should now be on an incline meaning your hands are higher than your feet. An example of this would be having your arms extended on top of a step.
  2. Brace your core and tense those glutes. Pull your shoulders back to they feel tight and secure.
  3. Lower your body in one straight line so your chest approaches the object. Remember to keep your back and neck completely in line with one-another.
  4. Without letting your elbows become loose and move outward push-up back to the top. Pause and breathe to get you ready for the next rep.
  5. Go again until you’ve completed that set.

Tip: If you feel your form break down just stop and take a rest, that’s your body’s signaling it’s reached today’s maximum workload. Stay positive and try again next time, girl – getting strong takes time.

Woman performing wave push up as part of calisthenics chest workout

Final rep of the Calisthenics Chest Workout

You did it, girl! Not that we doubted you – but not everybody is cut out for a hardcore calisthenics chest workout.

Take this workout and tailor it to your goals. Try new variations of the key chest exercises like push-ups and dips or mix in other body parts too.

As you get naturally stronger, you also might want to add more sets and reps. This is something related to progressive overload theory, which means making things harder over time encourages your body to adapt.

Progressive overload is important for your strength goals – fact. Only by consistently testing your body can you keep making changes, which is why we encourage you to step it up when you’re ready.

Add more reps, increase your sets, shorten your rest times, or just go harder – it’s down to you.

Finally, enjoy the process. Set strength goals and celebrate when you achieve them. If you finished all four rounds of push-ups easy maybe try 12 next time. But on the other hand, if you found going from the knees more comfortable, work toward that perfect push-up as your own unique goal instead.

Good luck on the gym floor, girl. As always, drop a comment below if you have any questions.

Your sister in the squat rack,


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