Training

14 Chest Exercises For Your Home Workout

It’s everyone’s favourite day of the week — International Chest Day. But this one feels a little bit different to normal. Rather than fighting to secure that free bench at your gym, you’re stuck at home wondering how you’re going to build those bigger pecs.

Most of us don’t have access to facilities or equipment that allow for full utilisation of the chest muscles — so we need to improvise. This article will provide you with super-simple exercises, that can be performed from the comfort of your living room, with little or no equipment.

Give these exercises a try, along with the recommended sets and reps, and building that bigger chest has never been easier. And, you didn’t even need to step foot in the gym.

 

Best Chest Exercises without Equipment:

 

1. Press-Ups

4 sets of 12 reps

 The press-up is probably the most popular bodyweight move in the world. That’s partly because it can be performed anywhere, without the need for much space or any kit. But above all its effective, working your chest, core, triceps and shoulders.

 

 

  • When in the press-up position, tense the core and ensure the body is straight.
  • Arms shoulder-width apart and elbows tucked in.
  • Get as close to the floor as possible in a slow-motion before pushing back to the start.

  

2. Tense and Hold Press-Ups

4 sets of 12 reps

You can take the press-up and make it slightly harder.  At the top of the press-up, hold the position and purposely tense the chest muscles.  This adds an extra workload to the muscles and increases the difficulty.

 

 

  • When in the press-up position, tense the core and ensure the body is straight.
  • Arms shoulder-width apart and elbows tucked in.
  • Get as close to the floor as possible in a slow-motion before pushing back to the start.
  • Pause just before locking the arms and tense the chest muscles for a 1-2 second hold.

3. Wide Grip Press-Up

3 sets of 12 reps

Wide press-ups are a simple yet effective way to build your upper-body, core strength and target your shoulders slightly. If you’ve perfected the regular press-ups and want to target your muscles a little differently, these are for you. Positioning your hands further apart targets your chest and shoulder muscles.

 

 

  • When in the press-up position, tense the core and ensure the body is straight.
  • Arms set wider than the shoulders and hands facing out to maintain comfort.
  • Release towards the floor slowly and controlled before pushing back to the start position.

 

4. Spiderman Press-Up

3 sets of 10 reps

The advantages of doing a Spiderman press-up are that it helps your chest and arm muscles work harder. When you move your leg forward, it shifts your weight, which means that your muscles must adjust to the new position. This helps to work different muscle groups, including your pectoral muscles, deltoids, and triceps.

 

 

  • Get into a traditional press-up position.
  • Lower yourself toward the floor and bring your right knee to your right elbow, keeping it off the ground.
  • Press back up and return your leg to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the alternate leg.

 

5. T Press-Up:

3 sets of 10 reps (each side)

Breathe some life into the standard push-up and build additional strength in the chest, shoulders, arms and core in one fluid movement.

This move will work your core again and again, first by supporting the press-up motion and then by rotating your body. Better still, if you hold the T position then your core needs to work hard to keep you upright.

 

 

  • Start with your hands and feet on the ground with your body in a straight line in a regular push-up position. Bending at the elbows lower your chest to the ground and then push yourself back up.
  • Next, you’re going to lift your left hand off the ground and rotate all your weight onto your right hand. Rotate until the side of your body is parallel with the floor. Feet should then rotate as well.
  • Both arms should be extended so that your body resembles the form of a “T”.
  • Rotate your body back to push-up position.

 

Best Chest Exercises with Household Items:

 

6. Decline Press-Up

3 sets of 10 reps

With the decline press-up, your feet are elevated so that your body is at an angle to the floor rather than parallel. This works the upper chest and front shoulders more than the regular push-up.

 

 

  • Lie on an exercise mat in the press-up position with your object positioned behind you.
  • Plant your toes on the surface behind you and take up a straight body as you would a normal press-up with a straight body and tensed core.
  • With your hands shoulder-width apart, elbows tucked in, release towards the floor slow and controlled.

 

7. Incline Press-Up

3 sets of 10 reps

This simple movement targets the main muscles of the chest, the pectoralis major and minor. In addition to exercising the chest, the incline Press-Up engages the shoulders (deltoid), arms (triceps) as well a long list of muscles throughout the abs, back, hips, and legs that act as stabilizers and prevent any sagging or arching of the spinal column during the movement.

 

 

  • Lie on an exercise mat in press-up position with your object positioned in front of you.
  • Plant your palms on the surface in front of you and take up a straight body as you would a normal press-up with a straight body and tensed core.
  • With your hands shoulder-width apart, elbows tucked in, release towards the floor slow and controlled.

 

8. The Alternating Shuffle Press-up

3 sets of 10 reps

Now, if you want to challenge yourself, add this into your routine. A great conditioning exercise further strengthening your core with added movement.  The same basics apply but for the alternating hands-on and off the object ensuring the feet move in tandem as you go.  If you want to give this a try and need to take it easy, simply complete the motion then shuffle between hands.

This adds an element of balance and stability to the regular push up, forcing you to engage your core more. By using a stability ball or alternative object, you also allow your muscles to move through a wider range of motion.  A great “all-in-one” movement working a wider range of the chest muscles than usual.

 

 

  • Maintain Press-Up position with a straight spine and tensed core throughout the movement.
  • On either side of the object, ensure the arms are the same distance apart and slightly wider than the shoulders.
  • Shuffle feet accordingly to keep the body in line. Walk between the positions for an easier movement.

 

9. Bottle Slider Flyes

3 sets of 10 reps

This chest flye alternative helps maximise the recruitment of muscle fibres in the chest and anterior deltoids because of its non-fixated pattern.  This puts a strong demand on the muscles and with the added gravity, is a great exercise to improve your power to weight ratio.

 

 

  • Take a press-up position while using your knees rather than your feet and hold the bottles. Keep the body straight and core engaged.
  • Slight bend on the elbows and release away in a flye motion towards the floor.
  • Slide the arms back in and tense the chest for a 2-second squeeze.

 

10. Weighted Chest Flye

3 sets of 10 reps

The chest fly doesn’t only strengthen your chest and shoulders but additionally improves your posture. This works the shoulders as well as the large, fanlike pectoral muscle of your chest. Flyes also engage the rhomboids in the upper back and the biceps as stabilizing muscles.

 

 

  • Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor and hold the weight straight up over your chest.
  • With a slight bend in the elbow, slowly open arms wide out to the side.
  • Squeeze your chest as you bring the weights back together at the top and tense for a 2-second hold.

 

11. Kitchen Sieve Close-Grip Press-Up

3 sets of 10 reps

Picture the Diamond Press-Up.  Now take this and slightly elevate the movement.  This slightly changes the angle of the chest muscles worked and will isolate the Triceps even more so.

 

 

  • Take a diamond press-up position on the sieve while keeping your body straight and core engaged.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in.
  • Lower to the Sieve before pushing back to the start.

 

Dumbbell Chest Exercises

 

12. Dumbbell Pullover

4 sets of 12 reps

The classic dumbbell pullover is a widely used resistance exercise that primarily strengthens the muscles in the chest (pectoralis major) and the large wing-shaped muscles in the back (latissimus dorsi). By making variations to the movement, you can also engage the core muscles and the back of the upper arm (triceps).

 

 

  • Take the dumbbell in both hands at one end.
  • Lie flat on your back, slightest of bends in the elbow.
  • Keeping your arms straight bring the dumbbell back behind your head before returning to the start position directly above your chest.

 

13. Dumbbell Bench Press

4 sets of 12 reps

Using dumbbells allows a greater range of motion than using a barbell and this, in turn, means you can work more of the pec muscles during the exercise. Your pecs are the main muscles targeted by the exercise, but as a bonus, it also works your triceps.

Opting for dumbbells also trains each side in isolation, so you can’t rely on a stronger side to muscle up the weight like you can when using a barbell. If you do find that one side is struggling when using dumbbells, you can then focus on building your strength on that side to balance your body.

 

 

  • Lie on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand and your feet flat on the floor. You can rest your feet up on the bench if it’s more comfortable.
  • Push the dumbbells up so that your arms are directly over your shoulders and your palms are up. Ensure your forearms and wrist are parallel for comfort and support.
  • Keep your head resting throughout.

 

Tip: Grab a pair of dumbbells and rest them vertically on your thighs while sitting on the seat of the bench.  Thrust with your knee the dumbbells up into position as you lie back.

 

14. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

4 sets of 12 reps

The incline press works the top of the chest and the front of your shoulders harder than the standard exercise, boosting the strength of your muscles and hopefully increasing the amount you’ll be able to lift when performing the standard flat bench press.

 

 

  • Set an adjustable bench to an incline of 30-45 degrees. Lie on your back on the bench and hold a pair of dumbbells directly above your shoulders with your arms fully extended.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together, and slightly stick out your chest. Lower both dumbbells to the sides of your chest. Pause, and then press the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  • Lower the dumbbells until they are level with your chest.

 

Tip: Grab a pair of dumbbells and rest them vertically on your thighs while sitting on the seat of the bench.  Thrust with your knee the dumbbells up into position as you lie back.

 

How To Progress 

You can alter the difficulty of the exercises by changing the sets, reps and rest period or even the time under tension ensuring the movement is performed at a slower rate.  Other ways to make these easier can include moving to your knees for the movements.

 

Take Home Message

Whatever the reason or obstacle, you can always alter your training and fulfil your goals from home.  You can still work towards your desired chest while being unable to go to the gym and with the freedom to alter the workouts to change the difficulty, you will have no issues reaching your targets.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton

Writer and expert

Chris is an editor and a level 3 qualified Personal Trainer, with a BA honours degree in Sports Coaching and Development, and a level 3 qualification in Sports Nutrition. He has experience providing fitness classes and programs for beginners and advanced levels of clients and sports athletes. Chris is also a qualified football coach, delivering high-level goalkeeping and fitness training at a semi-professional level, with nutritional advice to help maintain optimal performance. His experience in the sports and fitness industry spans 15 years and is continuously looking to improve. In his spare time, Chris likes to dedicate it to his family while training in the gym.


Extra 30% Off Markdowns | Use Code: EXTRA Be quick, shop now!