effective CHEST WORKOUT at home
No gym membership, or maybe you are just starting out and you want bodyweight chest workouts that you can do from home?
Just because you don’t have the option to run to a bench press like you would in a gym doesn’t mean you can’t get an effective workout with just your body weight. Especially if you use a couple of scientific training principles.
It’s time to get rid of the gym equipment – that’s right, you don’t even need light weight.
However, you will need one piece of basic equipment: a resistance band.
Guys, I promise that you won’t have to worry about boring chest moves like the standard pushup or the diamond press-up – the fallback option for most chest workouts.
Let’s take a look at the best home chest workout. I’ll also be including sets, reps, and modifications for these chest exercises at home.
ANATOMY OF THE CHEST
Let’s start by understanding the anatomy of one of the major muscles in the upper body: the chest.
Focusing on these muscles in the upper body will help you build a stronger mind-to-muscle connection.
You can see there are a few different areas we have to hit if you want to build a strong chest.
The upper section of the chest is called the clavicular portion, which has fibers that run off the clavicle and down.
Next, we have the sternal portion. The middle portion of the chest – the sternal fibers – run straight across from the sternum over to your arm.
There’s also a third portion people don’t talk about all that much: the abdominal head.
This low section of the chest has fibers that run from the bottom part of the chest upward.
The most significant fact about the three different areas is that the fiber orientation changes, depending upon where in the chest it resides.
So, in order to get the best home chest workout that you can, you’re going to follow the fibers.
BEST HOME CHEST WORKOUT
You’re going to have to move your arms in different orientations in order to get a complete chest workout.
And the best way to make this happen is with a superset for all of the chest moves. Just like the name suggests, a superset is when you perform two exercises back-to-back with no or minimal rest in between.
So, let’s kick off this home chest workout with our first superset.
For this superset, you’ll be using a mechanical drop set technique combined with overlapping of some strength curves.
The best way to demonstrate this is to look at a traditional bench press. There are two portions of this lift, and it’s the bottom portion that tends to be the hardest.
We want to make sure we’re training that zone, and pause reps are the way we’re going to do that.
This is an Archer Pushup and if you want a stronger chest, these need to be a part of your home workout.
You will have to generate the most amount of force in this bottomed-out position, which can be pretty difficult, especially as you are focusing on keeping a tight core.
So, with that said, if you’re just a beginner, you don’t have to do these from your feet shoulder width apart – you can do them from your knees. Don’t forget about core control here though.
ARCHER PUSHUP FROM KNEES
Just like with standard push-ups, you’ll want to go to failure with the Archer Push-up.
Since these are bodyweight exercises, I can’t prescribe 12 reps for somebody that can do 30.
So, make sure you go to failure and then go right into this next exercise: the Banded Crossover.
Attach a resistance band to something that is both convenient and stable. It needs to be securely anchored in order to stretch.
Bring your arm across to get that adduction in the chest. Make sure to bring your arm fully across the chest.
That’s a component that’s missing from the Archer Push-up because of how wide your arms are placed. But if you want to get a complete chest contraction, you’ll need to include it.
Once again, take each exercise to failure. Rest for about 60 to 90 seconds, then get right back into this superset for about three sets.
Now we move onto the next exercise, which focuses on overloading a different part of the range of motion of a flat bench press, complementing the part of the strength curve that has some weaknesses.
You had an overload in the bottom position of the Archer Push-up, but that’s not where you’ll feel the overload in the next exercise, the Banded Pushup.
What you do have here is an overload at the end position, complementing those weaknesses and helping to build upper body strength.
Get into a plank position and wrap a band around the back of your shoulder blades. Put your hands shoulder width apart and press up. Try to press up explosively and get through that with that end range. Make sure to keep a slight bend in the elbows at the top.
This is something you probably would have done with chains, if you’re doing a traditional bench press, to add some extra weight and tension toward the end of the rep. But here, you’re just trying to accelerate through that portion.
The hardest part of this exercise is when the bands are reaching their highest amount of tension.
Keep pushing as much as you can until you reach failure. Just be sure to keep that core tight.
Once you tap out on these, you’ll move on to the exercise that complements Banded Push-ups and provides adduction: Banded Crossovers.
The Banded Crossovers have a very unique movement pattern, one that requires you to move past the centerline of your body to fully activate the pecs.
Just like in your last superset, go to failure, and rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets.
Let’s move on to the next exercise in the workout program, which is going to target more of the upper chest.
The only piece of equipment you’ll need for this is a wall, coffee table, or anything that you can put your feet onto. You don’t need a lot of space. Just somewhere you can fit two feet up on that wall.
The idea is to create an angle with your body. Since you don’t have access to an incline bench to do an incline bench press, you’ll need to figure out a way to do it with our own body and space.
And Decline Wall Push-ups are the way to do it.
DECLINE WALL PUSH-UPS
With your feet up on the wall, you’ll start doing these wall-supported decline pushups, going from that low to high position.
You have two options if these are too difficult for you:
- You can lower your feet down the wall a little bit. But understand that while it’s going to make it a little bit easier, it’s also going to sacrifice a bit of the targeting of the upper chest.
- You can simply put your knees on a surface that’s elevated so you can drop your body down. The shortening of the body is taking away some of the distance of the legs, and this is going to make the exercise easier for you.
Naturally, you want to go to failure, but I’d recommend selecting the option that allows you to get AT LEAST six repetitions with good form.
As soon as you’re done with Decline Push-ups, you’ll move to a Low-to-High Banded Crossover.
LOW-TO-HIGH BANDED CROSSOVER
Every time you bring that band up and across your body, focus on the clavicular fibers coming down and out toward that arm.
Again, push to failure then rest 60 to 90 seconds in between. Repeat for three or four sets.
Next, you’ll move onto the lower portion of your chest.
You’ll have two options for where you perform this exercise, but I highly recommend a kitchen countertop because you can do perfect chest dips.
If you have that angle with your kitchen counter, you can put your hands right up on the counter next to it, and you’re in a perfect position to do dips.
It’s one of the best ways to target the lower chest muscles because it’s following the direction of the fibers.
Let’s say you don’t have access to a kitchen counter that looks like that. You’re not out of luck. Instead, you can utilize a bed or couch.
INCLINE PLYO PUSHUPS
All you have to do is position your body in an incline. The incline position, when your arms are down, you can see they’re oriented at a lower angle than horizontal. But this is perfect for recruiting that lower chest.
If you want to make this difficult, spend more time in the air. Make sure you get high enough that you get your arms behind your back, and then back down in time to catch the bottom of that pushup. It’s a little more difficult and more challenging.
If you can’t put your hands behind your back, you can still push with enough force to clear your body from the bed and rep out from there.
Remember, all the way to failure and then one last time we’re going to take that crossover to include adduction.
But this time, we’re taking it from an anchored position high across your body, down low.
HIGH TO LOW CROSSOVERS
Again, go to failure, rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets, and perform three sets of each.
Before we wrap it all up, I like to make sure with bodyweight workouts that we’ve fired up the chest. We can do that with one final burnout.
It’s one single exercise that we’re going to do three times. This is the Alternating Twisting Pushup.
ALTERNATING TWISTING PUSHUP
Something interesting that’s happening here is you’re getting that adduction that I talked about throughout the article. The difference is that you’re not having to bring your arm across the chest.
Instead, through relative motion – another scientific training principle – you’re rotating the chest into the arm, creating adduction without having to do any movement of the arm itself.
You’ll find when you do these alternating reps in burnout fashion, taken all the way to failure – this is the perfect ending to the best home chest workout.
CHEST WORKOUT ROUTINE SUMMARY
This chest routine is a lot to digest so I want to give you guys the complete workout summary.
Here’s a wrap up that provides you with the exercises, sets, and reps.
If you want a muscular chest, you don’t need a fully stocked gym to get in a complete workout
But you do need to make sure that you bring the effort every time you’re going to train in the home.
Push yourself using the principles I’ve outlined above for this bodyweight chest workout and I promise you’ll see incredible results.
If you’re looking for a complete program you can do at home to build strength and size in every muscle of the body, I’ve got you covered regardless of what equipment you have at hand.
Program Selector ==> See which program best fits your goals
AX1 ==> Train at Home With Dumbbells and Minimal Equipment
XERO ==> Train at Home With No Equipment
- It’s definitely possible to build chest muscle mass with a home chest workout. No heavy weights needed! But you need to follow the right chest training principles. In this case, you want to use supersets.
- Also, with most effective chest exercises done at home, the key is to make sure that you are training them with enough intensity to cause muscle growth. The best way to ensure muscle gain is to take the exercises to muscular failure.
- Perform three to four sets of each of the following supersetted exercises.
- The first superset involves an Archer Pushup with a Banded Crossover horizontal to midline. Again, go to failure with both exercises and then take a break for 60 to 90 seconds.
- The second superset is the Banded Pushup with another Banded Crossover done horizontally.
- The third superset is Decline Wall Pushups coupled with a crossover but this time take the band in a low to high path to really target the upper chest the most.
- For your final superset, you’ll perform dips on a countertop or explosive push-ups from a bed or couch. Pair this exercise with a Banded Crossover – this time high to low.
- Finally, you’ll end the workout with an Alternating Twisting Pushup. This is a killer finisher and helps to create relative adduction of the arms across the chest by twisting the torso into the arm rather than bringing the arm across the chest.