Elevate Your Fitness with These Essential Chest Calisthenics

Chest calisthenics is one of the core groups of calisthenic exercises. These movements build strength and power in your muscle groups. They require minimal equipment but can be enhanced with the addition of some pieces. If you’re looking to develop a sculpted torso with high muscle definition, chest calisthenics are the way forward.

This guide will share 7 chest calisthenic workouts to help you build upper body strength, flexibility, and mobility. We’ll also share a short list of additional equipment you should consider using to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts.


Targeted Muscles: Both the major and minor pectorals, triceps, and anterior deltoids. Plus, by engaging your core, you’ll activate lower back muscles, too—a real full-body exercise.

Description: Everyone has done a push-up at some point in their lives. They might seem simple, but they are incredibly effective. They’re also difficult to master. Focus on form over quantity. 10 great pushups are better than 100 poor ones.

  1. Prepare: Get yourself into a plank position, resting on your toes and your hands. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders and positioned directly beneath them. Engage your core and try to get into a straight position from head to toe. (This is an exercise in itself!)
  2. Descend: Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor. Keep your elbows close to your sides.
  3. Depth: You should not hit the ground. Instead, your chest should hover an inch or so above it.
  4. Return: Drive through your hands and arms until your body returns to the starting position.
  5. Repeat: Start with 3 sets of around 10-15. This will increase as you develop.

Once you feel confident with standard push-ups, you might want to consider these variants:

Decline Push-Ups

The same setup as previously, but place your feet on an elevated bench or similar. This decline version places greater emphasis on the upper chest and shoulders.

Diamond Push-Ups

Set up as a standard push-up, but put your hands together below your chest and create a diamond shape using your thumbs and index fingers. Complete the exercise as normal. This variant targets the triceps and inner chest.

Archer Push-Ups

Start as the standard push-up but with your hands much wider. As you lower, lean into one arm so that the other is elongated. You’ll look like an archer drawing a bow. Return and repeat for the other side. You’ll be working both sides of the chest independently, which is useful to enhance balance.

Parallel Bar Dips

Targeted Muscles: The major pectorals, anterior deltoids, and triceps. You should also find this works your core if engaged.

Description: This is an exercise that does require equipment. If you’re a beginner, you might find them harder to complete than other options. That’s due to the extra coordination required. Consider building up to them.

  1. Prepare: Grip the bars and lift yourself up into a starting position where your arms are straight. Try to have your legs hanging down straight.
  2. Lean: Tilt your torso forward. You’re aiming for around 30 degrees. Doing this shifts focus onto your chest muscles. Engage the core.
  3. Lower: Lower yourself down until your elbows reach right angles. Try to keep them tight to your body rather than flared.
  4. Return: Drive through your arms until you return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat: Aim to complete 3 sets of around 6-8 to begin with. A smaller number of reps with great form is absolutely fine.

Chest Dips

Targeted Muscles: Lower pectorals, triceps, shoulders, and core.

Description: These are variations of the parallel bar dips and can be completed using the same equipment. The position is slightly altered to focus on a different muscle group.

  1. Prepare: Grip the bars, hoist yourself up, extend your arms, and tilt slightly forward from the vertical.
  2. Tilt: As with the parallel bar dip, lean forward but even more so than before. This makes the dips more tricep-focused.
  3. Lower: Lower your body to the point where your elbows are at 90 degrees. Keep the chest tilted forward to promote that muscle group use.
  4. Return: Driving through your palms, return to your starting position.
  5. Repeat: Aim to complete 3 sets of around 6-8 to begin with. A smaller number of reps with great form is absolutely fine.

Once you’re happy with your form, try doing only one leg at a time or standing on the edge of a platform.

Chest Calisthenic Workout Equipment

The equipment on this list is designed to enhance your workout. It’s not compulsory but is certainly going to make your workouts far more efficient and effective.

  • The Fit! Home Gym: You can certainly do push-ups anywhere you’d like. The lounge, the garden, the park, or the office. Other chest calisthenic exercises require equipment such as parallel bars. An all-in-one solution such as the Fit! app home gym is a perfect space-saving, effective gym. This particular piece of equipment encompasses everything you need in calisthenics:
    • Use the parallel bars to complete a range of dip-style exercises. It’s perfect for all the options listed above.
    • The pull up bar ensures you have full range of movement.
    • The base allows you to complete a range of push-up exercises to best fit your program.
  • Yoga Mat: Any fool can be uncomfortable. Get one to make your hands and feet comfier.
  • Resistance Bands: These are great for stretching but also can support early progression on pull-ups or parallel bar dips.
  • Weighted Vest: If you’re progressing well, consider a weighted vest to increase difficulty.
  • Gloves or Hand Grips: Your hands will get sore pretty quickly doing parallel bar work. A pair of training gloves or hand grips will ease some of that discomfort.

Key Takeaways

Working these chest calisthenics into your workout routine will help you build incredible strength quickly. Not only that, you’ll hit another level of sculpting. Give them a try, and remember, form is always your priority.

  • Progress at your pace. Don’t push it too hard too soon, or you’ll risk injury.
  • Consistency is more important than infrequent monster sessions.
  • Balance these leg workouts with upper body and cardio for a rounded routine.