Beginner Calisthenics Chest Workout Guide

How to build your chest with bodyweight training

In this post, I collected some beginner calisthenics chest workouts that you can do at home. We’re also going to talk about:

  • How to target the different parts of the pecs with bodyweight exercises.
  • If it’s possible to build chest mass and strength with calisthenics.
  • What are the most beneficial calisthenics exercises?

Calisthenics chest workout examples for beginners

Novice Push Up Workout

Perform as many reps as you can for each exercise and have 1-2 minutes rest between.

  • Normal: 2 Sets (2nd Super Set: Knee)
  • Diamond: 2 Sets (2nd Super Set: Diamond knee)
  • Wide: 2 Sets (2nd Super Set: MAX Wide Hold)
  • Pike: 3 Sets
  • Chest dip: 3 Sets (optional)

Chest Workout At Home

4 sets of push-ups  (1-2 min rest)


  1. Wide
  2. Standard
  3. Diamond

Take a 3-5 min rest.


4 sets of this superset (1-2 min rest)

  1. Decline
  2. Incline

Chest Routine

calisthenics beginner chest

What are the best beginner bodyweight chest exercises?

Of course, push-ups! They target the chest well with others, such as the triceps, back, and core. They’re among the best exercises for the upper body.

Another benefit is that we can choose from numerous variations to target different sections of the chest or for our fitness level. We can turn the push-ups more challenging by using exercise equipment such as push-up bars, stability ball, medicine ball, etc. Also, we can do plyometric versions that develop explosive power. The variations are almost endless.

Another calisthenics exercise for chest the dip on parallel bars. It mainly strengthens the triceps. But, by leaning forward slightly, we can put more load on the chest.

Beginners should focus on regular, incline, and decline push-ups to master these moves before switching to more advanced bodyweight training.

How to target various parts of the chest?

Ok, before getting into the details, we have to see the anatomy of the chest. It includes mainly two muscles the pectoralis manor and pectoralis minor. That means there are no such muscle groups like lower or upper chest since those areas are the part of the mentioned pectoral muscles. But, that doesn’t mean we can’ target those areas.


How to target them?

  • Full: Exercises that are done with a parallel body to do the floor, so the load is distributed on the entire chest. For example, regular push-ups.
  • Upper: Moves when your lower body is higher than your upper body, so there is more load on the upper chest. For instance, decline push-ups.
  • Lower: When your upper body is higher than your lower, so more load is put on the lower pecs. For instance, incline push-ups.
  • Inner: By making push-ups with a narrow stance, we can target the inner chest better, but the triceps are also activated more.
  • Outer: With wide push-ups, we can target the outer portion of the chest, but the back is activated more.

That means we can have a complete bodyweight chest workout with no equipment, or we can cure those lagging parts.

Can you build chest muscles with only calisthenics training?

The muscle growth depends on several factors, but the most important ones are your nutrition, the training, and rest.

Let’s focus on the work.

Why do the muscles gain?

When you do weight training frequently, the fibers need to adapt to it; that is why they grow. They don’t care about if the load comes from lifting weights or using your own body as a load. If they consistently get a new impact, they adapt.

When do they stop growing?

When we do the same exercises with the same reps and sets all the time, after a time, they get used to the work, and they won’t grow as the beginning.

That is why we need to utilize the technique of progressive calisthenics. That means frequently we modify the workout to give a new impact on the muscle fibers. In this case, the chest muscles.

How to do it?

  • Switch to more advanced exercises, for example, from regular push-ups to decline.
  • Do more reps or sets.
  • Increase the intensity having less rest between the sets.
  • Add more types of bodyweight chest exercises.
  • Vary the angle of the movement.

This way, the chest continuously needs to adapt to the new conditions. That is true for calisthenics workout and any other strength training.

As I mentioned before, rest is also crucial since that is the time when the muscles recover. Having enough rest is particularly essential for beginners to avoid overtraining. I recommend having at least two-day rest between the workouts.

Finally, nutrition, which is a huge topic, but the point is that we should give the proper nutrients for the body to gain. My simple rule is: eat healthily and more protein.

Learn more about how to build a chest at home without tools.

Written by Imre

Imre has been working out for over 20 years. He likes all sorts of strength training and boxing. Since he's a busy father he works out only at home.