Whatever the reason you can’t make it to the gym for chest day this week. Maybe you car’s broken down. Maybe the weather’s foul. Maybe you just don’t have time. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you still get your chest workout in. That’s why we’ve come up with these 10 fantastic home chest workouts to help you keep on track to reach those fitness goals.
Top 10 Home Chest Workouts
When you’re working on your chest muscles, you’ll mostly be targeting your pectoralis major and minor muscles, as well as your deltoids. These are the muscles that stretch right across your chest and under your armpits, as well as your shoulders. Before you get started on the main work outs, it’s important to warm up properly in order to prepare yourself and help make sure you don’t get injured.
Start off with some stretches. For example, hook your fingers together behind your back and raise your arms up behind you. Keeping them as straight as possible as you do so. Once you’ve stretched out, try doing some low-intensity dynamic movements. These can include things like gentle press ups against the wall. Anything to get your muscles moving and warm, but without tiring yourself out.
1. Standard Push-ups
It’s an oldie, but a goodie. The push up (or press up – the terms are interchangeable) is a fantastic chest workout. Lie face down flat on the floor, have your hands in line with your shoulders and extend your arms so they’re straight. Then, get up on your toes, keeping a straight line all the way from your heels to your neck. Make sure you don’t flex at the hips or curve your back. This will reduce the effectiveness of the push up and potentially put you at risk of hurting yourself.
To do a single push up, bend your elbows and get your chest as close to the floor as possible. Make sure to keep your back and legs in a straight line the whole time, or you won’t get the benefits. Do a set of 10 reps, take a 30 second break and start again. Do three sets and that’s you done. Once this starts to get a little easier, start increasing the number of reps in each set. Add two reps to each set every time you want to push yourself further.
If you want to get the most out of each push up and ensure you keep your form, it’s important you complete each rep in a slow, controlled manner. Don’t rush through them as this will give you the tendency to lose your shape and not get as much out of each push up.
2. Slightly Easier Push-ups
Bear with us, push-ups are going to be a consistent theme in this piece, but trust us, it’s worth it. If you’re working out for the first time in a while, or are new to home chest workouts, then it might be that standard push-ups are a little tricky to start off with. If this is the case, then there are ways to make them a little easier before you graduate to a full-on push up.
Firstly, instead of being on your toes for your push up, you can do it on your knees. It’s still important to keep your back and legs straight all the way down to your knees, however. Once these start to get a little too easy, then you can graduate to the next step.
Push-ups are easier if your hand position is higher than your foot position. With this in mind, get in a standard push up position, but instead of having your hands on the floor, raise them slightly – on a sofa arm or chair seat. Everything else about the technique is the same. These are known as incline push-ups.
3. Decline Push-ups
Unsurprisingly, these are the opposite of the incline push-ups described above and are a really effective home chest workout. If you get your feet higher than your hands, then your push-ups are going to be trickier. This is because you can get your chest lower to the ground and really push those pectoralis major and deltoid muscles. We only really advise trying these if you’re looking for a new challenge.
As before, keep your legs and back straight, with your hands on the floor and your feet raised. Resting them on a table, a garden bench or even your sofa is a great idea.
4. Plyometric Push-ups
Another really advanced home chest workout, the plyometric push up adds extra intensity to your workout and takes things up a notch. To begin with, get in the standard push up pose and lower yourself to the floor. Then comes the tricky bit. You’ve got to really explode through the next section, pushing yourself up as hard as you can. Try and push yourself with such force that your hands actually leave the floor. If you really want to show off, try clapping your hands during each push up.
This variant of the push up adds intensity and explosive power to your home chest workout. This means you’ll be burning more calories, as well as boosting muscle stamina.
What you’ve got to remember is that before even attempting any of these more advanced push up variations is to keep your press up form intact. Make sure your technique is solid before advancing to these trickier progressions.
5. Wide Push-ups
This is a fantastic element to incorporate into your home chest workout. Rather than having your hands shoulder width apart, try pushing them a little wider. Doing this will help recruit your tricep muscles as well as your deltoids and pecs.
6. Diamond Push-ups
Again, another progression from the standard push up. With the diamond push up, instead of having your hands shoulder width apart, try having them underneath your chest, with your thumb and index finger touching. This is a superb addition to your home chest workout routine as it is also great for working your core alongside all the other chest and arm muscles we’re already recruiting.
7. Shuffle Push-ups
Yep, we know what you’re thinking: “another push up variant?!” and you’d be right, it is. It’s still a great addition to your home chest workout regime, however. To do this one, you start in a standard push up position, but instead of having both hands level, push one out in front of you and one behind you. Complete a push up and then swap hands and try again. Do at least 10 reps of this so that you’ve done an even number of reps with your hands in the different position.
8. One-leg Push-ups
Okay, you’ll need some serious chops to be able to complete this home chest workout. Start in the standard push up pose and the then raise one leg up. Keeping your glutes tight, complete your set of reps (try and get to 10) before swapping legs. Alternatively, you could always swap legs between reps. Just make sure you complete an even number of reps for each leg.
9. Off-set Push-ups
This is a really tricky one. Start in a traditional push up position, but this time raise one hand to be resting on a stable surface. This could be a chair, a coffee table, anything. As long as it’s flat and sturdy. Then complete a set of press-ups before swapping arms. If you’re doing more than two sets, make sure you complete an even number of them to make sure you don’t work one side more than the other.
Adding off-set push ups into your home chest workout routine has loads of benefits. As well as working your pecs and delts, it also puts more pressure on your triceps, helping you build arm muscle. It also requires some serious core control, meaning you’ll build up your abs too.
10. ‘Spider-Man’ Push-ups
Finally, this variant of the push-up is a great addition to any home chest workout regime. Begin in a standard push-up pose and bend your elbows so your chest is lower than they are. As you do this, bend one of your knees and bring it up alongside you. Hold this pose for a couple of seconds before returning to the starting position. Then, do the same, but using the other leg. Make sure you do an even number of these in each set you complete to work each side evenly.
As well as your chest, arm and leg muscles, this version of the humble push-up is also fantastic for working your core.
You can also try out our extensive library of video workouts and training plans, as well as sampling the Les Mills on Demand service, alongside the 8fit and NEOU fitness apps with our fantastic value £9.99 online fitness membership.