The Best 20-minute Bodyweight Chest Workout

Some guys can’t imagine an effective chest workout without a bench and a set of dumbbells. After all, such gym staples can build a 50-inch, suit-busting slab of granite that anchors an impressive physique. But it’s possible to blast your chest with just your body weight—even if that weight currently hangs on a scrawny, 36-inch chest.



Having a series of go-to workouts that can be done with little or no equipment is key if you travel a lot or are constantly in a time crunch. That way, you can train in a hotel room, park, or beach.

The 30 Best Chest Exercises of All Time

This eight-exercise, two-set circuit will challenge your chest with only your body as resistance. We’ll alternate pushing and pulling movements so you keep moving without rest, providing an aerobic component to your training as well.

Pete Williams is a NASM certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.

The 20-minute Bodyweight Biceps Workout

1. Cat/Cow

Why it works: This familiar compound yoga move improves flexibility to the lumbar and cervical spine but also opens up the chest, which is especially important if you’re training after a long day of sitting.

How to do it: Start on all fours with hands beneath your shoulders and knees on the ground. Inhale, dropping your chest as you push your hips and shoulder blades back into cow position. Lift your chin and chest and gaze forward. For cat, exhale as you draw your belly button to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling.

Prescription: 2×10 reps


2. Chest and Lumbar Opener

Why it works: Like Cat/Cow, this move opens up your chest but more from a rotational standpoint. It serves as an effective warmup for any chest workout.

How to do it: Lie on the ground on your left side with legs bent at 90 degrees. Keep both arms straight and parallel to your knees. Keeping your knees together and on the ground, rotate your chest and right arm to the right, putting your back on the ground. Hold for two seconds and return to starting position.

Prescription: 2×10 reps, each side

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3. Plank-to-Pushup

Why it works: This combines two effective chest-blasting, core-strengthening moves in one.

How to do it: Begin in a forearm plank position. Push from your triceps, placing your right hand on the ground, then your left, gradually rising to pushup position. Return to forearm plank by placing your right forearm down, then your left.

Prescription: 2×10 reps

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4. Pullup

Why it works: Sure, this creates a V-shape back and powerful shoulders. But it’s also a terrific chest maneuver.

How to do it: Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Hanging from the bar, pull your shoulder blades back and down to lift your body up. Finish the movement by pulling up with your arms. 

Prescription: 2×10 reps

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5. Dip

Why it works: You use your chest, along with your triceps and biceps, to lift your entire body weight.

How to do it: Position yourself above and between the bars, grabbing them with an overhand grip. Cross your ankles behind you. Lower yourself slowly, then push back up in a controlled manner. Bodyweight workouts tend to be done without equipment or at least outside the gym. So this can be performed on steps, a stable chair, or even the floor.

Prescription: 2×10 reps


6. Three-Way Pushup

Why it works: By doing three sets of 10 pushups in three different positions consecutively, we’re amping up this workout quickly while challenging our chest and shoulders from three angles.

How to do it: Do 10 traditional pushups (hands directly below the shoulders) followed by 10 “diamond” pushups (index fingers and triceps touching), followed by 10 wide-grip pushups (hands wider than the shoulders).

Prescription: 10 reps of each



7. Burpee

Why it works: It’s a full-body push-up-like exercise that gives you all the benefits of pushups while also challenging your cardiovascular system and ratcheting up the intensity of your workout, which is especially important when you only have 15 minutes.

How to do it: From a standing position, squat, place you hands on the ground, and “jump” your feet out into a push-up position. Perform a pushup and then jump your feet to your hands. Then jump as high as you can, throwing your hands over your head. 

Prescription: 2×10 reps

José Mandojana

8. One-Foot Pushup

Why it works: By lifting one leg off the ground, you raise the intensity, placing more of the emphasis on the chest.

How to do it: From a pushup position, lift one foot three inches off the ground while keeping your legs straight. While keeping your chest stable and hips square to the ground, bend the elbows to lower yourself toward the ground. Push back up. Switch legs after the first set.

Prescription: 2×10 reps

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The post The Best 20-minute Bodyweight Chest Workout appeared first on Men’s Journal.

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