Armed with the right attitude you can achieve an awful lot in 10 minutes, and with this bodyweight chest workout you don’t even need equipment to hand to leave a lasting impression on your upper body.
You will need an iron will, however, because you’ll be doing a lot of press-ups. It’s one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do, especially when you add in some press-up variations to ensure you’re working your shoulders and triceps as well as your chest.
By tackling this 10-minute routine twice a week you’ll quickly build strength and size in your chest. If you then want to progress, tackle this chest workout for beginners, then graduate to this four-week chest workout plan for the gym.
How To Do This Bodyweight Chest Workout
For the workout below you’ll be completing a total of 30 press-ups in each round, and aiming to do three rounds. The bulk of the press-ups are done in the standard style, with some variations thrown in to target other muscle areas more effectively. There’s no rest between moves, but you do get a nice 90-second break at the end of the round to calm the burning sensation in your chest and arms. Have at it.
Reps 10 Rest 0sec
Get into a press-up position with your body in a straight line from head to heels. Make sure your core is braced and your hips aren’t raised because that will take tension off your abs. Also ensure your hips don’t sag because that will place stress on your lower back. Start with your hands directly below your shoulders and, as you lower, keep your elbows in to your sides rather than letting them flare out to the sides. Lower until your chest is almost touching the floor, pause for a second, then press back up powerfully. Complete all 10 reps, then go on to the next move without resting.
Reps 5 Rest 0sec
This is similar to a press-up but your hands are placed together so your thumbs and index fingers touch, forming a diamond shape. It’s essential to keep your elbows in to your sides rather than letting them flare out to the sides. If you’re unable to press back up, just do the lowering phase of the move as slowly as you can. Complete all five reps, then go on to the next move without resting.
Reps 10 Rest 0sec
Use the same form as you did for the first set of press-ups. By now you’ll be starting to fatigue so pay attention to your form. Complete all ten reps, then go on to the next move without resting. If you can’t manage ten reps, do as many as you can and then move on to the next exercise.
4 Eccentric press-up
Reps 5 Rest 90sec
An eccentric press-up is one where you only do the lowering part of the move. Start in a conventional press-up position, lower to the floor, pause, then reset to start in the top position again. Once you have done five reps you’ve completed one round. Rest for 90 seconds and go again. Aim to complete three rounds in total.
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Jon Lipsey worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Jon was deputy editor and editor from 2007 to 2013. He returned as editor-in-chief from 2016 to 2019. He also co-founded IronLife Media and the New Body Plan.
- Nick Harris-FrySenior writer