Building a strong and well-defined chest is one of the most common goals for people who work out or want to get in shape. Indeed, a well-defined chest has been the subject of adoration since ancient times as evidenced by the sculptures and artworks of the time.
Little has changed in that regard, with many young men, in particular, seeking to build their pectorals to present a more attractive and physically strong appearance.
Many people work out at the gym to obtain these goals, but is this actually necessary?
There are a whole host of workouts you can do at home with minimal equipment, or no equipment at all, to target the chest and start the process of building solid pecs.
In this guide, we’re going to look at if it’s possible to build your chest at home, and how to do so effectively to ensure you’re able to work out from home if you need to and can maximize your gains while you do so.
Why Work Out At Home?
There are several reasons why someone may want to work out at home, from saving time travelling to the gym, to social anxiety, or even a lack of access to gyms in the area.
It’s easy to take for granted that people who want to get into shape should go to the gym, but some people may not be able to afford the fairly costly monthly expense of a gym membership.
In short, there are a ton of perfectly valid and reasonable explanations for why a person may not want to train at the gym, and while it may not be the most optimal and effective way to work out, training at home is perfectly valid and sometimes even beneficial.
After all, it’s better to train, even if it is at home, than not train at all and lose control of your health and fitness.
Home Chest Exercises
There are tons of great chest exercises that can be done at home. Some of them can be performed with absolutely zero equipment whatsoever. This is great as it’s totally free and all it requires is a little space and some motivation to get to work. You can also perform these exercises using the best compact home gyms that you can easily set up at the comfort of your home.
Let’s take a look at some of the exercises themselves.
The standard push-up is the perfect, and most common, home chest exercise. It's an exercise that targets all areas of the chest and can easily be made more difficult or easier depending on your experience level and confidence, and is highly effective at building muscle and definition in the pectoral region.
There’s a reason why this exercise is a preferred choice by various militaries worldwide, after all.
While the standard push-up is great at building general chest strength and muscle, there are many alternative styles of push-up to target specific areas of the chest more effectively and develop greater strength and muscle gain in these harder-to-reach areas.
Wide push-ups are one of these alternative methods and are great for targeting the edges of the pectoral muscles, as well as the lateral muscles, and are a great way to ensure even and steady progress.
Another push-up variant is the diamond push-up, which involves creating a triangle or diamond shape on the floor with the index fingers and thumbs of both hands while in the push-up position.
This exercise increases the difficulty of push-ups immensely and targets particularly hard-to-reach areas in the lower and inner pectoral regions which can really help accelerate muscle growth in these areas.
Another variant of the push-up, spiderman push-ups incorporate additional movements, such as raising the leg up to touch the elbow, while also performing push-ups to add difficulty, dynamism and develop power while doing push-ups.
Another variant is the incline push-up which actually reduces difficulty somewhat but can help target areas of the chest in the upper pectoral region, and can be effective to work into any home chest workout.
Incline push-ups require you to use a raised surface to place your hands on while in the press-up position to change the angle of the exercise and thus the areas of the chest it targets.
Decline push-ups are the inverse of the incline push-up and make the exercise harder while targeting the lower pectoral muscles. To do this you will need to assume the press-up position but place your feet on an elevated surface such as a chair or low table to add the required amount of decline.
Yes, another push-up variant, this time the shuffle push-up. This push-up requires you to move sideways in the push-up position after each rep, adding dynamism and strain to the exercise and helping develop functional strength and muscular endurance.
Chest Dips / Tricep Dips
Another great home workout you can do to target the chest is chest dips, or tricep dips, as both exercises are quite similar and will develop areas of the chest, and other supporting muscles important in developing a strong and well-developed chest. To ensure that you do the exercise correctly and effectively, check this article on how to do a tricep dip.
It’s also a great exercise to add difficulty.
While not everyone will be able to afford or want to use equipment, just a few pieces can go a long way.
A simple flat workout bench and some dumbbells can totally open up your home workout possibilities, allowing you to implement dumbbell bench press, as well as the decline and incline variants, and add a tonne of difficulty to your workout for a relatively low cost.
Performing a good bench press will massively improve your chest workout at home and it’s a great way to start adding progressive overload to continue increasing your strength and mass after push-ups start to get too easy, and you’re committed to obtaining your ultimate goal of a well-developed chest.
Access to dumbbells and a bench also allow you to take advantage of dumbbell flyes, a great exercise for targeting the inner and outer pecs.
Fly’s again can add difficulty and target hard-to-reach areas of the chest, and also add in a new challenge that push-ups and other calisthenic exercises struggle to recreate.
One Leg Push-ups
We couldn’t end this list without leaving you with one more push-up variant, and in this version of the movement, you will keep one leg off the floor for the duration of the set.
This adds a ton of difficulty, particularly for the supporting muscles around the chest and core, which are really important for developing a solid and functional chest that is strong, powerful, and well defined.
As we’ve established, there are several reasons why you may want to try working out from home, whether you want to save time, save money on monthly bills, or any of the other reasons why a gym may not quite suit your needs.
A home workout is a great way to get started or maintain your fitness, and there are several effective ways to target the chest from your own home, using both calisthenics and some light inexpensive equipment to allow you maximum efficiency and effectiveness in achieving your goals.