If you think you need to spend many hours on a gym bench to build a big chest, you are wrong. The important thing is that you still get your chest workout in, that’s why we have come up with these 14 chest exercises at home to help you keep track of how to achieve your fitness goals.
Why are your chest muscles important?
The chest muscle is shaped like a fan-like appearance and it is made up of two main muscles – the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor – commonly called ‘pecs.’ The pectoralis major is the largest of both muscles, and it extends across the upper chest attaching to the breastbone and the shoulder. The pectoralis minor on the other hand is a small, thin, triangular muscle located just below the larger pectoralis.
So, what do these muscles do exactly? Yes, they are very important when it comes to controlling the movement of your arm. From the rotating and pulling your arm towards the center of your body. It’s just like swinging a tennis ball, or pushing a heavy object away from you.
Exercising your chest helps you look your best on the beach or in the gym. And can also help you to do various daily activities, such as lifting or pushing objects. On top of all that, as you improve your appearance and strength, you gain more confidence, too.
Top 14 chest exercises to do at home
Considering the importance of this powerful muscle, we have created two workouts designed for you – with and without equipment – that you can easily do from the convenience of your home, for a muscular and toned chest. This exercise will hit your chest on all angles to increase muscle strength and size.
Before you start, it’s important to warm up your muscles properly to prevent injury. Start with some stretches. Your main focus should be on lifting safely with the right form and light weight.
Chest exercises at home without equipment
This classic exercise with all its variations is one of the best chest exercises you can do at home to build a strong, big chest.
Varying your body position and the amount of time you spend exercising will hit different areas of your chest, gaining upper body strength.
For those of you who don’t know, push-up is a workout that involves raising and lowering your body using the arms. And yes, they are challenging, with push-ups that look a lot simpler than they really are, but they activate almost every muscle in your body, they are a very good workout for the chest.
Push-ups also come with other benefits such as raising your shoulders and protecting them from injury, reducing the risk of lower back injuries, strengthening your cardiovascular system, and many other benefits.
Diamond push up
Unlike regular push-ups, Diamond Push Up really targets your triceps and inner chest. It’s called diamond pushups because of the way the hands are positioned to form a diamond shape. Your index fingers and your thumbs meet to form a diamond.
Step 1: Get on all four hands together under your chest. Place your index fingers and thumbs in such a way that they form a diamond shape when they meet.
Step 2: Stretch your arms so that your body is elevated to create a straight line from your head to your feet. Lower your chest towards your hand while making sure your elbows do not flare out.
Step 3: Stop just before your chest touches the floor, then return to your original position.
Wide- grip push ups
Wide grip Push Ups are great for boosting your chest muscles as most of your weight during this exercise is placed on your chest muscles. There is no fixed posture for your hands, but the further you them pull out, the more challenging it becomes for your chest.
Step 1: Keep your hands wider than the normal shoulder range while keeping your fingers pointing forward. Stretch your legs behind you and press your feet into the floor.
Step 2: Tighten your core while keeping your back flat and your bottom squeezed before lowering your body slightly until your chest touches the floor and make sure you keep your elbows straight above your wrists.
Step 3: As soon as your chest touches the floor, lift your body off the ground and return back to the starting position.
Decline push ups
Decline pushups are more complex than a basic push up as your feet are higher than your hands. However, variation push up is very effective for working the chest.
Step 1: Lie face down and place your hands to the side while keeping your torso up to the length of the arms. Place your feet on an elevated platform either a box or on a bench.
Step 2: Lower yourself downward while inhaling until your chest touches the floor.
Step 3: Breathe out and push your upper body back to the starting position, while squeezing your chest.
You can start with incline push up if you find the standard push up too challenging at first and this is a very good exercise to target your lower chest.
If you find that the usual pushups is a challenge at first, you can start with an incline push-up. The more inclined you are, the less weight you will need to work on. This is also a good exercise to point to your lower chest.
Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on a bench, chair or box. With your feet planted on the floor, bend your arms and lower your body until your chest touches the floor. Then return back to the starting position.
Plyometric (plyo) pushups are an advanced exercise that works on your chest, triceps, abs and shoulders. With this type of pushup, the “jumping” feature was added to the exercise to make it more challenging and explosive.
Many athletes work hard to improve their athletic performance by building strength, endurance, and speed and that’s what this exercise does. It also helps burns down fat and build muscle.
- Start with a high plank, or at the top of the pushup position. Your torso should be in a straight line, your core tightened and palms directly under your shoulders.
- Start lowering your body as if you are going to do a pushup until your chest almost touches the floor.
- As you push up, do so with sufficient force for your hands to leave the floor. To make it more challenging you can clap your hands together, but this is optional.
- Land lightly on the floor, going into your next rep immediately.
While bodyweight exercises are an easy way to work your muscles with a little effort, adding extra weight in the form of dumbbells can take your chest exercise to the next level.
The following chest exercises can be done at home or in a gym, and all you need is just a pair of dumbbells. Adding weight in form of dumbbells will also open the door to other chest workouts such as the chest flies and chest press.
If you are new to this, start with the simplest weights to use the exercise first. If you feel confident, slow down a bit so that the last 3-4 reps are tough to execute.
As with push-ups, variations in body position when performing the chest flye or chest press will really target different muscles. Below are some important, weighted exercises you can do with dumbbells.
Dumbbell chest press
The dumbbell chest press is a very effective exercise to tone and strengthen the pectorals, arms and shoulders.
- Lie on a flat bench, with dumbbells in your hands.
- Stretch your arms over your shoulder, and shoulder width apart.
- From this initial position, take a deep breath and slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest until your elbows are at a 90 ° angle. Then push the weights back up while you exhale to return to the starting position.
Incline chest press
The purpose of the incline press is to place more emphasis on the upper chest muscle.
How to do it:
- Lie on an inclined bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Then lift the dumbbells shoulder width apart, arms extended and rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing each other, while slowly lowering the weights as you inhale.
- Then exhale and push the dumbbells up with the help of your chest.
Decline chest press
The decline dumbbell press is a great way to strengthen your lower chest muscles. In the decline bench, the bench is set at 15 to 30 degrees which places your upper body on a downward slope which places more emphasis on the lower pecs as you press the weight.
How to do it
- Lie on a decline bench set to 15 to 30 degrees with a dumbbell in each hand.
- When lying down, move the dumbbells over your shoulders (shoulder width apart), palms facing each other.
- Slowly lower the weights until your elbows are down. Then push the dumbbells back up as you exhale while squeezing your chest.
The dumbbell chest flye targets all areas of the pecs, but especially the sternal fibres – the ones that attach directly to your sternum. This exercise also creates the defined chest separation look and it is also better at stimulating the chest fibers than on a flat bench press.
How to do it:
- Secure your legs at the end of a bench while lying on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
- Extend your arms over your chest, shoulder width apart but keep your elbows bent at all times (do not lock your elbows).
- Then lower your arms on both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest and bring the dumbbells back up.
Incline chest fly
This is similar to the chest flye but just that this is performed on an incline bench.
- Adjust the bench to 45 degree incline position. Then sit on a bench with a pair of dumbbells resting on your thighs.
- Brace your core and exhale while lying back on the bench while kicking the dumbbell one by one up at a time over your chest.
- Extend your arms over your chest, your palms facing each other.
- Keep your elbows bent at all times (do not lock your elbows). Then lower your arms on both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest then return back to the starting position.
Decline chest flye
The decline chest flye works the chest muscles and the shoulder but places more emphasis on the lower part of the chest.
How to do it:
- Lie flat on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.
- Extend your arms over your chest, the width of your shoulders but keep your elbows bent at all times (do not lock your elbows).
- Then lower your arms on both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest then bring the dumbbells back up.
Chest dips is one of the best chest exercises you can do at home which adds width and depth to build a strong chest and some even argue that it is the best exercise for the chest. In addition, since your body cannot be supported by a bench in a bench press it means that other muscles will be working as you have to work hard to stabilize your body weight.
For this exercise, you will not need dumbbells but instead another equipment – parallel bars or a flat parallel surfaces that you can easily dip into.
How to do it:
- Grab the bars or place your hands on a flat surface and hold your body at arm’s length (arms locked), knees bent so as not to touch the floor.
- Slowly lower your body slightly and keep your elbows slightly bent until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Be careful not to go too low; you don’t want to hurt your shoulder joint. As you exhale, squeeze your chest while returning back to the starting position.
14. Dumbbell floor press
This exercise strengthens not just the chest, the shoulders and the arms too. Using the floor removes strain being placed on the shoulder joint.
How to do it:
- Grab the dumbbell using an over hand grip and lie down flat on your back. Bend your knees and feet planted firmly on the ground. Extend the elbows to a 90-degree position, while holding dumbbells above your chest.
- Maintain a tight core and exhale while extending the dumbbells toward the ceiling. Pause, and return back to the starting position.