A solid, well-built chest is an important aesthetic aspect of a person’s physique. When most people think about building a chest through exercise, they often think of the bench press as the first option. Bench press is a great option for building the chest when one has access to a gym but often times that can be either too expensive or too far away for some people to go to. For this post, I wanted to lay out the chest workout that I do at my own home and give my reasoning behind each exercise. This is a great home chest workout in my opinion because it can be made more challenging as one progresses and it hits the muscles of the inner and upper chest, so that full development can occur.
I have a pair of adjustable dumbbells, so, weighted exercise is an option for me to an extent. My dumbbells were only $40 and came with enough weight to make them each 20lbs. I bought extra weight so that they would be more effective for my own personal use. Not too expensive and well worth the investment.
Chest Press: 4-5 sets, 12-15 reps
This is the dumbbell variation of the bench press. Now, if you have a bench, it is definitely a more useful exercise because you can get a greater range of motion. It can also be done on the ground, though it is limited, it can still be effective. I like to stack 4 pillows and use them as a make shift ‘bench’ because it adds 3-4 inches of elevation and hence range of motion.
I don’t personally do these because of my bad shoulder but they are definitely effective for working the inner chest.
Body Weight Exercises
Push ups are obviously the gold standard of body weight exercises for the chest. Luckily, there are many variations of the push up which target different areas of the chest and can be used for complete development.
Elevated push ups: 4-5 sets, 20 reps or until failure
To do these, you will need a chair or some elevated surface. Essentially, put your feet up on that surface and do a regular push up. This exercise is more difficult than a regular push up and as the elevation of the feet increases, so does the difficulty of the movement. Elevated push ups work the upper chest area and is a great substitute for the incline bench press.
Narrow push ups: 4-5 sets, 20 reps or until failure
Get in the regular push up position, except, the hands will be in a position closer to the body. My hands are roughly 12 inches apart or thereabouts while I do these. From there, it is just like a regular push up. This places more emphasis on the inner chest and even recruits more of the triceps as well.
Diamond push ups: 3-5 sets, 20 reps or until failure
OK, diamond push ups help replicate the close-grip bench press, which works the triceps. Place the hands together, like you are forming a triangular shape between them (think Jay-Z’s dynasty sign), and then do a regular push up. I do these with my knees on the floor because my shoulder can no longer stabilize this type of movement well enough and that is a great way to start if one is having trouble performing the movement.
Chair Dips: 4 sets, 15 reps
Get two chairs or two benches and put your feet up on one chair and the hands on the other and perform dips in between them.
More Info on this workout
This is a basic chest workout that I like to do at home. I usually do it along with exercises for the back as well. So on my workout schedule it becomes a chest/back day. I have seen really good results using this type of workout and then adding in exercises like resistance band push ups and other ones I come across. If you have trouble doing the push up movements, try to get as many good reps as you can in the standard position, and then do the rest of you reps with your knees on the ground. This will help to build the necessary strength to be able to do full push ups in these variations.