Hypertrophy can be achieved through bodyweight exercises. Resistance is resistance after all. The body does not know the difference between push-ups and bench presses. It only knows that both hurt. The maximum muscular potential of many upper body parts can be reached solely through bodyweight exercises.
There are many reasons why people dismiss bodyweight training. The idea that you need a well-equipped gym to build muscle has been spread by the industry because the gym membership business is very lucrative. There are facilities that require the individuals to sign one-year contracts. It’s business as usual.
There are plenty of misinformed gym members who move from machine to machine, day after day, year after year, with absolutely no results. They read the magazines, look at the pictures, do the routines and still fail. The cause of their failure is that their efforts are spread thin. Doing a little bit of many things results in energy expenditure with no visible results.
If a natural bodybuilder focuses on pull-ups, dips, and push-ups, his/hers chest and lats will have no choice but to grow bigger and stronger…within the natural limits, of course.
At the end of the day, tremendous upper body strength and mass can be developed solely through bodyweight exercises.
The downside of performing only bodyweight exercises is that you can’t hit your legs and spinal erectors in a convenient fashion. Yes, there are many bodyweight exercises for the legs and the core, but usually, they are limited by balance, and progressive overload with them is inconvenient. Nevertheless, it’s worth nothing that a vast majority of the upper body work done in a gym can be replaced by gymnastic training.