Think the bench press and the pushup are your only chest exercise options? Think again.
There MANY ways to target your chest without weights.
Let’s take a look at a few you might not have tried yet.
Chest Exercises Without Weights – Bodyweight Options
The pushup is a fundamental upper body exercise, and one would do well to master it. But let’s look at some not-so-common variations that can really target your chest.
Grab a basketball, soccer ball, homemade medicine ball, or other inflatable ball.
Place your hands one either side of the ball, and push your hands together, hard.
You should feel a strong contraction in your inner chest (much like doing cable crossovers on a weight machine).
While flexing, crank out some pushups. You should feel much more activation in your inner chest than with standard pushups.
To turn this move into more of an upper chest exercise, try elevating your feet onto a chair.
Wide Stance Pushups
Generally, the wider you place your hands while doing a pushup, the more it becomes a chest exercise, and the less it targets your arms.
Since the upper chest is often stubborn to develop, try doing wide stance pushups with your feet on a chair, or if that is too difficult, try doing wide stance jackknife pushups (bent at the waist – check YouTube for detailed instructions).
Explosive Ball Pushups
For this chest exercise without weights, place one of your hands onto a ball on the floor. Do a pushup with your one hand on the ball and other hand on the floor.
At the high point of your pushup, quickly switch hands on the ball.
Go back and forth explosively.
Decline Pushups on a Suspension Trainer
Suspension trainers are extremely useful pieces of equipment. Don’t stress if you don’t have the $200 or so to spend on a retail model, do a quick Google search for a DIY suspension trainer and you can find several great ways to make your own for around $15.
For this exercise, set the suspension trainer up so the handles are an inch or two off the ground. Put your feet on a chair, grip the trainer’s handles, and do a pushup.
This is my personal favorite chest/upper body exercise.
To target the optimal muscle growth range (4-8 reps per set), add some weight (pea gravel works well) into a backpack for this exercise.
Some trainers claim this exercise is safer AND more effective than the bench press for upper body strength!
Don’t Forget to Balance Pushing With Pulling
Doing only pushing motions will lead to muscle imbalances that make you prone to injury. So, don’t forget to balance all these pushing motions with pulling motions like body rows (the suspension trainer works well for this move).
A good way to get a complete upper body workout is simply doing 4 sets of decline pushups, each set alternated with a set of body rows.
Try these chest exercises without weights out for yourself and see how they work for you!