Calisthenics Chest Workout For All Skill Levels: Only 2 Exercises!

Are you ready to transform your chest and take it to the next level with only two exercises? Calisthenics is an amazing way to get fit and build a strong muscular body, and this workout is the perfect place to start for anyone looking to challenge themselves.

By combining two key pushing exercises together, you will be able to build serious size and strength that will turn heads at the beach or the gym. Whether you’re just starting out on your journey towards fitness or if you want some variety in your routine with bodyweight exercise, by following along with this calisthenics chest workout you can shape up quickly while having fun!

Chest Anatomy

The chest, also known as the pectoral muscles, is composed of two main muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. These muscles are responsible for movements such as pushing and lifting.

chest anatomy
  1. Pectoralis Major: This is the larger muscle of the two and makes up the bulk of the chest. It is divided into two parts, the clavicular head (upper chest) and sternal head (lower chest). The pectoralis major assists with movements such as pushing, pressing, and hugging motions.

  2. Pectoralis Minor: This smaller muscle lies underneath the pectoralis major and helps to stabilize the shoulder blade. It also assists with lifting and pulling movements.

Benefits of a Calisthenics Chest Workout

  • Strengthens the chest muscles

  • Improves posture

  • Increases push-up performance

  • Can be done anywhere

  • Builds functional strength

  • Can be modified for all levels

A chest calisthenics workout offers numerous benefits for anyone looking to improve their upper body strength and overall fitness. By targeting the pectoral muscles, these exercises can help to build muscle mass, improve posture, and enhance push-up performance.

Additionally, since they require no equipment, calisthenics workouts are convenient and can be done anywhere. They also promote functional strength by engaging multiple muscle groups, making them a great choice for those looking to improve their overall fitness.

Plus, with various modifications and progressions available, anyone can incorporate chest calisthenics exercises into their workout routine regardless of their fitness level.

Warm Up

Warming up your chest muscles before a workout is crucial for preventing injury and maximizing performance. A proper warm-up increases blood flow to the muscles, making them more pliable and reducing the risk of strains or tears. It also helps to prepare the nervous system for exercise, improving coordination and reaction time. Here’s what you warm up could look like:

  • 5-10 minutes of light cardio (jogging, jumping jacks, jumping rope, etc)

  • 3-5 minutes of dynamic stretches (arm circles, shoulder rolls, and chest openers)

Gradually increasing the intensity of these warm-up exercises will help to fully prepare your chest muscles for a safe and effective workout.

Overall, taking the time to properly warm up your chest muscles can help you get the most out of your calisthenics workout and prevent potential injuries.

The only 2 exercises you need:

Once your body is warmed up and ready to go, you’ll only need variations of 2 exercises to build your chest and increase your pushing strength.

  1. Push Ups

  2. Dips

With these 2 simple exercises, you’ll be able to hit your pec muscles with just your body weight. We’ll include beginner variations along with advanced variations you can progress to.

Push Ups

Push-ups are a classic calisthenics exercise that is highly beneficial for building and strengthening the chest muscles. They primarily target the pectoralis major, the largest muscle in the chest, but also engage other supporting muscles such as the triceps, shoulders, and core.

This makes push-ups an efficient compound movement that can effectively target multiple muscle groups at once.

For reference, here’s the proper way to do a regular push-up:

push up

calisthenics chest workout
  1. Start by lying face down on the ground with your feet together and toes pointed towards the floor.

  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, slightly wider than your shoulders, with your fingers facing forward.

  3. Raise yourself up onto your hands and toes, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.

  4. Engage your core muscles by squeezing your abs and glutes.

  5. Lower your body slowly towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your sides and pointing back at a 45-degree angle.

  6. Once your chest reaches a few inches off the ground, push up to the starting position.

  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps or until muscle fatigue sets in.

Here are a list of variations you can use to work out your chest:

wall push ups

Wall push-ups (Beginner) – This variation is the easiest as it involves pushing against a wall instead of the ground, reducing the amount of body weight being lifted.

Knee push-ups (Beginner) – With this modification, you are still on the ground but with your knees touching the floor, making it easier to lift your body.

Standard push-ups – The most common version of push-ups, involves keeping your body straight and lifting it with the strength of your arms.

Wide grip push-ups – Placing your hands wider than shoulder-width apart can shift the focus onto the chest muscles, making it more challenging.

Decline push-ups (Upper Chest) – Decline push-ups are great for targeting the upper chest. Elevating your feet onto a surface, such as a bench or chair, can increase the difficulty of push-ups by putting more weight on your upper body.

incline push up

Incline push-ups (Lower Chest) -Place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or step, this makes it easier to lift your body weight and is a good modification for beginners while also targeting the upper chest.

Ways to increase the intensity and difficulty of the push-up:

weighted push ups

Add Weight – Although the push-up is one of many great bodyweight exercises, weighted push-ups via a weighted vest, weighted backpack, or even placing a weight plate on your back while doing the movement is a great way to increase the intensity.

Unstable Handle – Doing push-ups with an unstable base or handles can increase the intensity of the exercises. You can do push-ups on hanging gymnastics rings and or a BOSU ball to help you improve balance and stability.

Slow Reps – Slowing down your reps can help you focus on proper form and chest activation. To really feel your muscles being worked, pause at the bottom of the movement for 1-2 seconds before coming up.


Dips are another exercise that is great for targeting the chest muscles. They involve pushing your body weight up and down using just your arms, making them a challenging yet effective way to strengthen and build your chest muscles.

No matter which variation you choose, dips are an excellent exercise for building strong and defined chest muscles. It is important to maintain proper form and gradually increase the difficulty as you become stronger.

For reference, here’s the proper way to do a regular bodyweight dip:

  1. Begin by placing your hands on the parallel bars

  2. Keep your elbows close to your sides and slowly lower yourself until your arms reach a 90-degree angle.

  3. Push back up to the starting position, keeping your chest lifted and core engaged.

  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Here are a list of variations you can use to work out your chest:

bench dips

Bench dips – This variation allows you to adjust the difficulty by changing the height of the bench or chair. Start with a higher surface and gradually lower it as you become stronger.

Parallel bar dips – As mentioned earlier, using parallel bars is a more challenging variation compared to bench dips due to the increased range of motion and core stability required.

straight bar dips

Straight bar dips – This variation is similar to parallel bar dips but with a straight bar instead. It requires more shoulder and chest strength.

Ways to increase the intensity and difficulty of the dip:

Add Weight – You can add weight to your dips via a weighted vest, weighted backpack, weight belt, or by holding a dumbbell between your feet.

Unstable Handle – You can do dips on hanging gymnastics rings to improve your control and stability.

Slow Reps – Slowing down your reps can help you focus on proper form and chest activation. To really feel your muscles being worked, pause at the bottom of the movement for 1-2 seconds before coming up.


After a challenging workout, it is important to properly cool down your body. This allows your heart rate to gradually return to its resting state and helps prevent injury and muscle soreness.

You can cool down by doing some light walking on the treadmill or by doing some static stretches to alleviate soreness.

Here are a couple of static stretches you can do to stretch your chest:

single arm chest stretch with wall

Single Arm Chest Stretch (With Wall) ^

reverse chest stretch

Reverse chest stretch^

Tying it all together

Now that we know the different variations of the 2 exercises for your chest, let’s tie it all together for each skill level.

Rep counts and variations will vary depending on skill level, but these are just examples. Do what you can with where you’re at.


As a beginner start slow and do what you’re able to. The goal isn’t to exhaust yourself or dread the next workout. You can begin with the easier variations and work your way up to standard movements. Try this:

  1. Warm-up/Stretch

  2. Wall or Knee push-ups ( 3-5 sets of 8-10)

  3. Bench Dips (3-5 sets of 8-10)

  4. Cool down (stretch for 3-5 minutes)


As an intermediate, you can start adding variations that are standard or close to the difficulty of it. If you want to hit all areas of the chest you can try this:

  1. Warm-up/Stretch

  2. Standard push-ups (2 sets of 8-10 or 1-2 reps shy of failure)

  3. Incline push-ups (2 sets of 8-10 or 1-2 reps shy of failure)

  4. Decline push-ups (2 sets of 8-10 or 1-2 reps shy of failure)

  5. Dips (3 sets of 8-10 or 1-2 reps shy of failure)

  6. Cool down (stretch for 3-5 minutes)


As an advanced athlete, you can start increasing the intensity as your body weight becomes too easy to lift. Add a weight vest, slow down your reps, or try doing them on unstable surfaces. Try this if you want to increase your strength:

  1. Warm-up/Stretch

  2. Standard push-ups (2 sets of 20 to warm up) – While warming up, you can do these reps quickly just to get your body ready for the movement.

  3. Weighted push-ups (3-5 sets of 10-20 or 1-2 reps shy of failure) – Gradually add weight over time to increase your strength and muscle growth.

  4. Weighted dips (3-5 sets of 10-20 or 1-2 reps shy of failure) – Gradually add weight over time to increase your strength and muscle growth.

  5. Cool down (stretch for 3-5 minutes)

Final Thoughts

To conclude, calisthenics is an excellent way to progress your chest gainz without the need for fancy gym equipment. By following the exercises outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to a strong and impressive chest. All it takes is proper form, consistency, and hard work – two qualities that anyone can commit to with a bit of effort!

Trust us, don’t let any setbacks or detours stop you, and reach for success through calisthenics. Start slow if you are a beginner, challenge yourself if you have intermediate skills, and get creative with new techniques once you reach the advanced level. Now go ahead and give those ‘gainz’ everything you’ve got and start pushing!

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