The chest muscles are a big group involved in many movements. But at the gym, I often see people focusing on their back, arms, abs, and legs, without giving the chest too much attention. If you want to maximize your results, you shouldn’t overlook this large muscle group!
Besides the aesthetic aspect, these muscles contribute to a good posture. That’s right! When thinking about posture, we often think only about the back muscles. But strong chest muscles are just as important! And since it involves a large muscle group, chest workouts will also help you burn a lot of calories.
Equipment For Chest Workouts
I hope I have convinced you of the importance of doing a chest workout. Now, let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need.
The first and most versatile are dumbells. They are perfect, can be easily stored in any corner of the house. And if you are serious about creating a mini-gym at home, you can invest in adjustable dumbbells. That way, you don’t have to keep buying a new pair each time you need heavier weights.
Dumbbells are one of the most versatile home gym equipment. For one, you can do a wider variety of exercises using them. In addition, they ensure you will work your muscles evenly, without using one arm more than the other, as it can often happen with barbells or gym machines.
Next, you will need a workout bench. It might feel like a bit of an investment, but together with the dumbells, it will help you create the perfect at-home gym to work that entire upper body.
You can get a bench that is adjustable and inclines to get the most out of your workouts and do exercises you could only do in a gym otherwise. If chest workouts are extremely important, don’t forget to take what we call a post-workout routine: Drink plenty of water, eat some proteins, and massage your muscles! Use a muscle pain massager, like The Exogun Dreampro, to boost your recovery and strengthen your muscle! If you need more help to choose the perfect workout bench, read more on our website.
5 Killer Chest Workouts You Can Do At Home
Now that you’ve got the gear, let’s talk about the best chest exercises you can do at home.
One of the best-known exercises for your chest is the press. It can be done with a pair of dumbells, lying on the floor or, even better, on a bench. It works the largest chest muscles – the pectorals – but it also targets the anterior deltoids of the shoulder and the triceps.
How To Do It:
To do a correct chest press, lie on the bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. Your feet can be on the floor or up on the bench.
You should position the dumbells at the shoulders with the arms bent at about 45 degrees with elbows forward at the shoulder line. The palms should be facing towards your feet.
Make sure your abs are engaged and the chin is slightly tilted forward.
Inhale, and on your exhale push the arms up. Keep a slight bend at the elbows, so you don’t lock them.
On the inhale you will lower the weights back, and repeat.
Here’s one exercise everyone knows and nobody really likes. Push-ups work your chest, arms, shoulders, and even your legs and abs! The best part is you don’t need any equipment!
The form is crucial when it comes to push-ups. There’s no advantage in doing 50 push-ups if you injure your back in the process.
How To Do It:
To begin, come in a plank position. Your arms should be slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart. Your feet will be at about the same width, but adjust as needed to feel balanced.
If you’re a complete beginner and have never done a push-up in your life, you can come down to the knees.
Now you’re ready to lower into your push-up. Be mindful to lower evenly, don’t let your hips or your low back lower more than the upper body, and vice-versa.
These push-ups might feel slightly easier for some, as the incline takes some of the pressure off the arms and shoulders, while still working the chest in a great way. You can use your workout bench for this exercise.
How To Do It:
Place your hands on the bench a bit wider than shoulder-width distance apart.
Once you have the correct alignment for the arms, step back in a plank position.
Be very careful not to let your lower back sag in this posture. Your head should also be aligned with your spine, no looking forward or backward.
Once your posture is perfect, you can lower down into your push-up.
Narrow/Tricep Push Up
As you might’ve guessed from the name, you’ll be working the triceps, but it will also be a killer exercise for your chest.
How To Do It:
The first difference from the regular push-up is the distance between your hands – this time, you want them closer than shoulder-width distance.
Legs can be wider, just like they were in the regular push-up, to provide support and balance. You can also lower to your knees if you’re a complete beginner.
As you lower yourself, your elbows should stay close to your body. Imagine you’re trying to squeeze your back muscles while doing this exercise. It will help you get the position of the arms correctly.
Inclined dumbbell flies
For this exercise, you will need both your dumbells and your bench. The incline of your bench should be between 30 and 45 degrees. Don’t go for more than 45 degrees, because you will be targeting other muscles such as the front deltoids, not your chest.
How To Do It:
Once the bench is inclined at the desired angle, you can sit on the edge, holding one dumbell in each hand. Carefully lie on the bench.
Now bring the dumbells to the sides of your torso, at chest level.
Press the weight up, so that the dumbells are directly over the chest. Keep a slight bend at the elbows, to avoid locking them.
Now lower your arms to the sides of your body. At this point, your palms should be facing the ceiling.
Remember to always keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and your abs engaged to minimize the risk of injury.
How To Do A Complete Chest Workout Routine
Now, let’s talk about how to combine these exercises to create a complete chest workout routine.
Step 1: Warm-up
As you probably know, any workout should start with a proper warm-up. That can be for example 10 minutes of cardio combined with light, active muscles stretches focused on the groups you’ll be targeting. If you’re not very experienced, I would also recommend doing the first set with lower weights than what you think your maximum is, just to make sure you’re properly warmed up.
Step 2: Work Your Chest Muscles
You can do the exercises exactly in the given order, each exercise with 10-12 repetitions. Rest for a few seconds in between exercises. In the end, once you complete all the exercises, take a longer break, but not more than 1-2 minutes and repeat.
You can increase the weights if you want. Ideally, the weight is well-chosen, when you can do 12 repetitions without risking injury, but in the end, you should feel the weights are getting very heavy. If at the end of the 12 repetitions you feel you could do many more, it means your weights are too light.
Step 3: Stretch
For a complete workout, don’t forget to stretch your muscles at the end. It will reduce the risk of injury in time and it will minimize the soreness.