3 Best Chest Exercises for Intermediates in Calisthenics

chest exercises for intermediates

Have you mastered the chest exercises we discussed for you in The 3 Best Chest Exercises for Beginners in Calisthenics? Than this follow-up article is for you. In this blog, we provide you with 3 more great chest exercises for intermediates in calisthenics. And we have chosen the ones that you can do from the comfort of you own home. As always, we keep things simple and realistic for all.  

About Your Chest Muscle

First, let us remind how your chest is build up. Your big chest muscle (pectoralis major) is your main focus when you want a bigger chest. It consists of 3 parts: 

  • Upper chest (pars clavicularis)
  • Middle chest (pars sternocostalis)
  • Lower chest part (pars abdominalis) 

These parts all start at a different point in your chest (upper, middle or lower) but all end on the inside of your shoulder (crista tuberculli majoris). You need to know this if you want a complete chest workout. Because every part needs to be hit separately to achieve the biggest gains. Calisthenics will help you do just that. Here are the 3 best exercises for intermediates in calisthenics.

The 3 Best Chest Exercises for Intermediates in Calisthenics  

1. Super Push-up 

The super push-up is just like a regular push-up but uses more of your own bodyweight. By putting your hands lower than the rest of your body the push-up becomes more difficult

Starting position 

Face the the floor and place your hands under your chest. So not next to your chest but lower. Your fingers face forward and your elbows are aligned next to your body and point in the direction of your feet. You need to do this so the triceps are triggered as well. The chest and triceps work together as a pair and this gives you a couple of extra repetitions. Keep your legs extended and you tuck in your toes for balance. Make sure you contract your abs.

How to Perform the Exercise 

From the starting position you push up your body and extend your elbows. Make sure your abs are contracted and move your body up like a planche. As you come up your shoulders should always stay a bit in front of your hands. The same applies when you return to the starting position. This creates more pressure on your chest muscles. If you feel pain in your shoulders during this exercise it may just be too heavy or you may have an injury. Click here to find out what to do in the case of shoulder injuries. Exercises should always be pain free. Make sure you keep looking at the floor to keep your head in a neutral position.  

How to Progress 

Start with 3 times 10 repetitions and increase to 3 times 20. If this becomes easy, paralettes are a good way to increase difficulty. Alternatively, you can use a resistance band in both hands and around your shoulder to add resistance. 

Put your feet higher than your body

2. Switching Push-Ups 

Switching push-ups are sometimes called by different names. We always stick to switching push-ups. 

Starting Position 

Start in the same position as in the case of a regular push-up. Now, change your hands as follows. Put one hand under your chest like in the case of a super push-up, so lower. And put the other nhand under your shoulder, so higher. 

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How to Perform the Exercise 

The lower part will need to work the most so make sure you do an even number of sets. Just lower your chest towards the ground as with the regular push-up and slowly come back up. Make sure your chest touches the lower hand. You can switch the position of the hands after one set and continue.  

How to Progress 

When switching hands becomes too easy with 3 times 15 reps 4 you can make it a more explosive exercise. This means you switch hands with every rep by pushing yourself up explosively and switch hands mid-air. Using paralettes or a resistance band is another great way to improve difficulty. 

3. Decline Push-Up 

The decline push-up is one of the great chest exercises for intermediates. It works your whole chest muscle with a focus on the upper parts and shoulders. It’s a great exercise if you want to learn how to perform a hand stand push-up. 

Starting Position 

Your feet need to be elevated on a higher platform. We prefer a bar or a bench, but it can be anything. Start on something low like a low step-up. The optimal angle is around 5-15 degrees for beginners and up to 35 degrees for more experienced athletes. Besides this, your starting position is pretty much the same as in the case of a regular push-up. Position your hands under your chest, fingers facing forward, elbows narrowly aligned with your body. Extend your legs and you tuck your toes as you tighten your abs and glutes. 

How to Perform the Exercise 

You push almost the same as in a regular push-up. But while you come up you make sure that your shoulders are aligned with your hands. This is to manage the increased pressure on your shoulders. It can cause injuries to keep your shoulders in front of your hands while pushing up. Stretch the elbows as far as you can. While going down, make sure your shoulders are in front of your hands. This works your chest muscle the most. Touch your hands with your chest to maximize your range of motion.

How to Progress 

If you can perfrom 3 times 20 reps try, to increase your degree angle to 35 degrees. Something like a chair would do. This will increase difficulty a bit. Alternatively, you can use the resistance band the same way as with the super push-up. 

More Than Chest Exercises

These 3 chest exercises for intermediates together work your whole chest and give you a great workout. If these seem a bit too difficult for you, please check out the 3 best excercises for beginners in calisthenics and try to master these first. 

Chest exercises will also train your triceps. There is more you can do to get bigger triceps though. Click here to check out our guide for the best triceps exercises for beginners in calisthenics. If you need any of the equipment we mentioned, like resistance bands or paralletes, click here for the recommended equipment that we use ourselves.

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