3 Best Chest Workouts at Home

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 22/03/2021
This post may contain affiliate links. We receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using our link. Learn more.

Home alone for Macaulay Culkin meant making traps, watching old black and white movies and creating astronomic bills for his parents by demolishing their house.

Winter is coming (for GOT fans this means there is trouble on the horizon) and it’s quite normal to ask yourself – are there some good, home exercises for chest muscles?

Like many of us, you want to build muscles and get in shape for the upcoming summer (that is if you haven’t contracted covid, in which case you could be in shape already).

Fortunately, the home chest workout list is long and you have nothing to worry about, cause we’ve got you covered. 

Working out at your house means you don’t need to pay a lot of money to go to the gym, every once in a while (even if you weren’t lazy, with the current lockdowns, who knows if you would be able to get your money’s worth). 

If you don’t have the proper equipment and can’t go outside, don’t worry, as long as your flat has enough space for doing push-ups, you’ll be just fine.

If you are trying to get back in shape, or just get in shape, this is the one article you should definitely continue reading.

We will be talking about chest press workout, different routines you can do with dumbbells and workouts that are great for your core, shoulders and of course your chest.

Before Exercise

Before starting your workout, make sure you’ve prepared your body for doing exercises. Usually, this means doing a warm-up session and stretching both your lower body and upper body. Move around a bit, just to get your sweat going. 

Warmups are great for putting you in the zone, raising your body temperature and getting your blood flowing which all results in a healthier workout.

Stretching is also very important because it allows your muscles to relax and be more flexible. Lower your body, keeping your arms shoulder width apart and stretch [1]. 

Relaxed muscles are necessary for optimal training and for decreasing the chances of injury during exercise.

The important thing, during your exercises, is to be hydrated which means taking enough water before, during, and after a workout. 

You need water to keep you going while you move around your house doing sets and trying to engage your core as much as possible. 

It is recommended to have a balanced meal at least two hours before a workout to be able to endure the training.

Working out on an empty stomach will not get you far. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t eat too much, as well.

Best Chest Workouts 

There are many exercises for the upper body that you can start doing immediately without having to buy expensive equipment or gym memberships. 

You only need a couple of things. You need space for a workout, a bench or a chair and a couple of weights popularly called dumbbells. 

Exercises for the upper body include working on your shoulders, arms, back and of course chest. Depending on your goals, you can adjust the tempo, reps and intensity of the workout.

If doing chest exercises in your house is your thing, you should definitely consider doing one or more of the ones that we will talk about in the text below. 

  1. Pushups

Pushups are well known for their simplicity and availability (you only need hands to them and you push the ground). Yet, simple as they are, they are amazing at producing powerful results after just a couple of weeks of training and with a small push.

The best thing about pushups is that you don’t need much to start off. The only thing you need is the floor and some space in order to push yourself from the ground. 

It is crucial to know the basics of body posture, how to place your feet and hold your arms in the right position. It’s better to do one pushup properly, than many of them incorrectly.

There are many types of pushups, each beneficial for a specific group of muscles. Here, we are going to focus on push-ups that target chest muscles.

Classic Pushups

For a classic pushup, you need to lower your body. This means lying face down on the floor while arms are straight and in line with your shoulders [2]. 

After the starting position, you lift yourself up on your toes while keeping your chest parallel to the floor.

The result should be almost a straight line from your head to toes which means you need to watch not to bend your hips and you need to ensure your whole body stays in line.

To do a pushup you need to bend your elbows and reach the floor with your chest and pull yourself back to the initial position. You need to keep your back and legs straight forming a continuous line each time you do a rep.

The set of reps you will be doing depends on the shape you are currently in. Before deciding on the number of reps and sets, first, you need to do a couple of them. 

The usual number of optimal training is three sets of 10 reps with a break no longer than one minute. If this is too much for you, start with fewer reps per set. 

Pushups are probably the best home workout for chest muscles.

Pushups Modifications

Man Training Chest And Triceps Doing Skull Crunches
diego_cervo /Depositphotos.com

If classic pushups are too much for you in the beginning you can switch to an easier version with your knees bent as a starting position and as a base instead of toes.

For this version of pushups, the same rules apply. Therefore, lower your body and make yourself comfortable.

You need to keep your arms straight and keep your lower back in line with the rest of your upper body. 

You can start by doing 8 reps in three sets. This should be easy enough but make sure to keep the correct body posture and especially keep in mind to have your elbows close to your body as you do this exercise.

After a while, you will be able to do more than 8 reps which will result in you having more power in your arms, back and upper body. This will allow you to increase the number of reps to 12 or transition to more demanding types of pushups.

On the other hand, if you want to have a more difficult exercise, you can mix things up by changing some variables.

For example, you could lift your feet on a chair or a bench so that they will be higher than your shoulders. This will automatically mean that your chest is also lower and is under more pressure. 

This position will be more straining on your arms and hands.

Result of exercising in this position will have its effect on deltoid and pectoralis major muscles on your chest.

Changing the initial plank position in terms of your hands results in a demanding form of push-ups. In the classic position, hands are close to your sides.

If you put them further away from the body you will have a more demanding workout with a higher intensity because the pressure is going to be allocated away, from your body to your hands and chest.

Another type of pushups is a one-leg pushup. Here, you start from a standing position and raise one leg up.

An easy way to work on your pecs is a mountain climbers routine. You don’t need any equipment except the floor and space to perform.

Go into a plank position, but slightly higher and position your hands directly below your head. Bring one knee to the chest and pull it back. 

This is great for your core and each rep is done with both hands and feet on the ground. Make sure to place your shoulders over your hands. 

  1. Dumbbells

If you are interested in doing chest exercises with weights, dumbbells are a perfect choice. Dumbbells are great for engaging your core, as well as lower back and upper back muscles (depending of course on the position)

Using dumbbells has many advantages when it comes to chest workout. You can easily start your training routine with only a couple of dumbbells [3]. 

With dumbbells, you can perform exercises from a standing position or while sitting on a chair or a bench in a 90-degree angle position.

When choosing a dumbbell, there are a couple of things you need to pay attention to. You need to buy several pairs of dumbbells so you can transition from lighter weights to a more demanding pair.

For example, you can buy a 2 kg dumbbell to start with and a couple of 4, 5 and 7 kg. [4]. 

Typically, a dumbbell comes in round or hexagonal shapes. Keep in mind the place where you will be storing your dumbbell set and buy an appropriate set for that space.

Standing Dumbbell Exercises

There are a couple of positions for standing dumbbell exercises you can try in order to find the chest workout that works for you.

You can start by holding a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing up. Stand with your feet and shoulder width apart and with your spine straight to your lower body.

For this exercise, you need to initially keep your elbows bent and then push your forearms backwards, straightening the elbows to lower body parts.

You need to hold your back flat and keep your arms close to your body when you move them. Also, be careful not to lift your feet while doing reps. 

You can do a variation of this exercise by pulling your arms in front of your body by bending your knees with your torso facing the floor.

Here, the starting position means keeping your dumbbells close to your knees and with each rep you should be lifting them to your ribcage.

This exercise is great for the lower chest and lower back. With 3 sets of 10-12 reps, you’ll work on your lower chest and at the same time will activate your lower back muscles. 

To work on a different group of muscles, just change the trajectory of your arms. Instead of lifting them to your chest in the front, you are placing them next to your body, close to you.

You can lift them outward and press your core, making a “T shape”. Another way of training with dumbbells is to perform front raises with palms facing your body.

The position is the same for this exercise, starting with feet shoulder width apart and holding your dumbbells in next to your thighs. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and bend your elbows with palms facing your body.

While raising the dumbbells, ensure your arms are parallel with the floor. With each rep, your arms should create a 90 degrees angle. 

This exercise is great for the chest but also for your shoulders.

  1. Bench Pressing

Dumbbells aside, the bench press is probably something that most people have in mind when chest workouts are mentioned.

When you exercise at home, chest press workout is great, because it can be done easily. If you want to develop your chest and core this is the workout for you.

For this workout routine, warm up, especially in the shoulder area since you will be doing a chest press (hopefully more than one). The best way to do so is to move your shoulders clockwise and anticlockwise for a couple of minutes. 

In this exercise, a shoulder is a weak spot (most injury prone) since there is a lot of pressure on this area. A shoulder is a critical spot between your chest and arms that are doing the lifting in a chest press. 

Move your arms slowly, to avoid getting hurt.

This workout routine is great if you don’t have dumbbells or want to up your game seriously. What do you need for a successful chest press?

In a gym, you have a barbell or a bar with weights on each side. It would be perfect if you have this at home, but if you don’t, don’t fret, you will still be able to do a chest press.

You need a bench (obviously) or something that you can lay on while doing a bench press. Ensure to put something comfortable for your back.

When doing a chest press you are focusing on your upper pectoral muscles. A chest press can be done in a series of 12 reps one rep at a time [5].

Hold the bar (or weights) firmly and press back the weight. When you press the bar, ensure to position your elbows parallel to the lower parts of your body and in line with the bench. Then push the weights back up, and so on, and so forth.

Be sure to breathe normally, inhale from the chest keeping the airflow at a normal pace while you press back the bar.

It is important to rest during the routine to relax the core and elbows. Move around when you rest in order to perform better.

If you are just starting, make sure you start with lighter weights. 


How Can I Build My Chest at Home?

As we said, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to do your chest exercises at home. You can do push-ups or, if you are willing to invest a little, you could get a bench  (for that bench press action).

Whatever chest exercise you chose, chances are you’re going to work on your lower back muscles as well and press some weights.

You can lay down, flat on the floor with palms facing down as a starting position. The very basic exercise is the floor press with a couple of dumbbells to press.

When performing an exercise like floor press, you’re putting pressure on your chest, but the group of muscles that are really doing the work are triceps. 

The floor press is great, but using a chair has its advantages as well. This way you can work on one hand at a time. 

Hold a dumbbell with one arm and make sure it’s on your knee. You can do this exercise on the floor; you just need to move your one knee on the floor, while the other is bent. 

Another way is to hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift them sporadically. Having a dumbbell in each hand means that you can work on both sides of the chest at the same time. 

Be sure to stretch before doing anything, to lower the risk of shoulder or back injuries.

How Do I Build Chest Muscles Without Weights?

Having equipment at home could improve your workout. If you don’t have equipment at your house, you can do lots of things as long as you have enough space. Move a couple of things around if you live in a small place, it will be worth it in the end.

There are a lot of ways you can work on your shoulders, core, back or chest. If you want to build powerful muscles without weights, there are few workout routines you can try.

The easiest way is to use the floor (you need to have hands for this exercise). This means doing a variety of pushups which are also great for shaping your arms. 

When you start doing pushups, ensure your hands and elbows are protected because you will be putting a lot of pressure on them. 

Try not to keep legs on the floor and elbows wide while doing push-ups, just trust me on this, please!

Ensure you are making enough pauses between sets (take your rest between sets seriously). If you feel tired or have muscle pain you can take breaks between each rep or stop with the exercise altogether. 

It’s important not to hurt yourself needlessly, so if you feel tired, or not able to press any longer, just get some rest. 

Don’t push yourself too hard. Getting a few reps in is better than nothing, and if you just keep at it, you’ll end up looking like Tom Hardy in Mad Man, in no time.

How Can I Build My Upper Chest at Home?

The most popular exercise for this group of muscles is the bench press. Of course, if you don’t have the necessary equipment at home, you can do a couple of other things that we mentioned before. 

Is It Possible to Build Chest at Home?

Planning your home chest workout routine can be tough but with enough creativity and effort, you can have a well developed chest. You just need the right attitude and a hands on approach.

You can get a great chest workout at home, and you don’t need a lot of things to begin with just the will to press and lift. 

If you are just starting with your training the most important thing is to do the exercises correctly, even if it means doing just one rep. 

Doing things in a correct way will ensure that your shoulder, back (lower or upper), the chest will be injury free. Don’t get discouraged if you can only do one pushup or can’t press any longer.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need a lot of equipment to exercise in your home. You use a lot of different things as a plank or you could just do pushups to achieve great results. 

Dumbbells are also a great way to exercise your chest and press weight.

For developing chest muscles, you can push yourself up on the floor, or push the bar when doing reps while descending your elbows to lower parts of your body.

Be sure to move around the house before your workout and watch your elbows when you bench press. 


  1. https://leaf.nutrisystem.com/5-things-to-do-before-your-workout/ 
  2. https://greatist.com/fitness/chest-workout-at-home
  3. https://us.myprotein.com/thezone/training/dumbbell-floor-press-form-benefits/ 
  4. https://www.dummies.com/health/exercise/weights/how-to-buy-dumbbells/ 
  5. https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Bigger-Chest-Muscles-(Pecs) 
Share on:

Questions or Comments?

Join the discussion on Facebook.

About the author

Leave a comment