Have you ever gone to a new gym because of the advertised $19.99 a month offered free, only to find out you’d end up paying closer to three and four times that amount in the long run? That’s why we will look into chest workouts at home.
Gym memberships are not always cheap, or you may not have a decent gym nearby, to begin with.
Does that mean you’ll have to either never have the kind of defined, muscular chest you’d like, or have to start searching local Craigslist ads for used Bowflex machines?
No, not at all.
In fact, there are plenty of chest workouts you can perform at home, regardless of if you want to build size, strength or a defined, cut upper body. We have all the answers for you right here, so check out the chest workouts at home options available to you.
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The Advantages of the Gym
The gym is almost always the best option when it comes to weight training.
The great thing about cardio is you can do it anywhere, from going for a jog to tossing on a workout YouTube video or using gym junkies online university workout videos, there are plenty of cardio options so you don’t really need a gym.
Weight training though is different.
At the gym, you’ll have two major weight training advantages: benches and weight selections.
Yes, gyms do have machines, some of which can be helpful, but realistically you can hit every muscle group in your body with free weights, so the machines are not much of an advantage if you want to develop complete chest definition.
Now, if you have the money to invest, you can purchase as many benches and free weights as you might like. You can also look at local garage sales for used weight.
The beautiful of used weights is it’s essentially no different than what you’d buy at the store, only for a fraction of the price.
You also can increase the number of weight options you have on hand as you go, so there is no reason to go out and purchase 300 pounds in varying weights if your bench is around 150.
Equipment Options to Consider
In order to build a defined chest you really do need to bring in some equipment.
The pushup is great and can work most of your upper body, but it isn’t going to truly grow your chest.
So, to build on what the pushup can do, there are a handful of other chest workout options.
The first piece of equipment to pick up is a pull-up door mount.
Of all the equipment this is likely the most affordable and can be installed realistically in any door frame (many don’t even need any screws or physical installation, which is great if you’re renting).
The pull-up bar is fantastic as there are different variations of pull ups and chin ups you can perform (there are some pretty extensive pull-up bars out there), so you can work your entire upper body, not just your chest. In addition, you can always load up sand bags to your legs in order to increase the amount of weight.
If you travel a good amount so having real equipment isn’t much of an option, consider investing in resistance bands.
Resistance bands come in different thicknesses, which can replicate that of different amounts of weight.
These are not going to provide you with a complete, total workout, but in a pinch and you still want to work your chest, consider picking up the resistance bands.
Free weights are the go-to option when it comes to lifting.
However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying the pre-formed dumbbells. this might seem like a good idea at first, but it will cost you substantially more in the long run. With removable rack weights, you can add on 2.5 and 5-pound weights as you increase your strength.
With the pre-formed weights, you have to go out and purchase a brand new weight.
This is costly and takes up a large amount of space. So purchase rack weights. Just be mindful of the barbell hole opening. Some have an opening around the size of a quarter. Others have openings the size of about a half-dollar. Know the thickness of your barbell and make sure your free weights match the size.
The last thing you need to consider investing in is a lifting bench.
To really hit your chest, you need to be under the weight. This focuses most of your lifting in the chest and arms. Benches with barbell supports are great, but are also costly and take up space. If you have the money and space, more power to you.
If you don’t though, consider a bench with an adjustable back, so you can move it from an incline to normal to decline easily. These benches are not expensive and you likely can find a quality made one for under $50.
If you want to fully work your chest, this kind of a bench is a must.
Barbells vs Dumbbells
When you’re at the gym doing the bench press, you’ll probably pull out the barbell.
It’s easier to load weights, plus having a large bar full of weights just looks cool.
However, you’re not trying to impress anyone at home, so that doesn’t matter at all. Dumbbells are great as you’ll work individual stabilizer muscles for each side of your chest.
In addition, one arm and side of the chest is not going to make up for weaknesses in the other arm and chest. Dumbbells also don’t take up as much room, plus you can use these for other workouts.
So, when first building up your home gym, go for dumbbells. Should you want a barbell or other bar variations, you can add these on later. Dumbbells always worked for Arnold, and when it comes to bodybuilding, if it is good enough for Arnold it should be good enough for anyone.
Chest Muscle Groups
The chest is made up of three muscle groups.
There is the pectoralis major, the pectoralis minor, and the pectoral fascia. Have you ever seen a guy who has big pectorals, but then at the top of the pecs the muscle tissue just seems to disappear?
That is because the entire chest is not being worked (Teach Me Anatomy, 2017).
Chest Workouts At Home
Typically this occurs when you put all of your attention into the traditional bench press and very little else.
Targeting the chest is not difficult.
If you have invested in some sort of a bench, you’ll want to perform the regular bench press, the incline bench press, and the decline bench press. This makes sure you hit each area.
Realistically you don’t need to do much more than these three as all other exercises are going to work the same muscle tissue.
If you still have energy left in the tank though (or just want to hit your chest extra hard), consider the chest flyes. The chest fly, in addition to the other three options, will blast your chest. Plus, when you work other upper body muscles you’ll end up working the chest as well. You don’t need to perform a dozen different lifts on one body area.
That is just overkill.
Remember, it’s not about how long you lift, it is about how smart you lift.
So let’s say you don’t have any equipment yet.
Does that mean you’ll just have to deal with an inferior chest?
Not at all.
There are several great pushup variations available.
These pushups are perfect if you want to tone up your chest without putting on bulk.
First, there is the wide push up.
Setup in pushup position, only spread your arms wider out. This puts more direct torque on your chest, working it harder.
The diamond push up is another great exercise.
This is where you bring your two hands together right in front of your chest with the thumb and index fingers touching (realistically it looks like you’re making a spade instead of a diamond, but hey, that’s what the pushup is called).
You should also consider the decline pushup.
This is where you place your feet on an elevated surface (such as a coffee table, chair or bench) and perform pushups. This alters the location of your chest muscles worked.
Chest Workout At Home Workout Routine
If you have the free weights, you need to decide on if you want to put on muscle size or increase strength.
Perform one lift, wait 60-90 seconds, then perform the next.
Alternate each time you do your chest with the kind of bench press you perform.
If you are performing the chest fly, do this last as the weights you use for the lift will be lighter (always start out with the heavier weight lifts).
Are you performing the pushup option?
Or maybe you’re including some pushup routines in with the weights?
If so, you have a few options. Realistically you’re not going to increase massive size with only pushups. You can improve definition and muscle endurance though. When performing pushups you should start with this pushup workout.
Alternating the three variations of the pushup, you’ll perform 3 reps, rest 10 seconds and repeat for a total workout of 15 minutes.
- Standard Pushup – 3 reps
- Rest – 10 seconds
- Diamond Pushup – 3 reps
- Rest – 10 seconds
- Wide Grip – 3 reps
- Rest – 10 seconds
If you are not struggling by the end you can either just increase the number of reps(volume training), or instead of rep numbers, you can shoot for different time periods.
See how many pushups you can perform in 30 seconds and then try to beat it the next time through.
I Want to Do Weights, But I Don’t Have Enough Weights
Going out and purchasing 150 or 200 pounds of weights right off the bat is expensive.
After all, one of the main reasons you’re sticking with the home gym over the local gym is probably to save money.
But does that mean you can’t gain size and strength?
No, you just need to slow down how you lift and learn how to get more creative. At the bench press with big weight, you try to go quickly (typically).
However, let’s say your one rep max is 175 pounds but you only have about 50 pounds on each dumbbell (for 100 pounds total).
Instead of going fast, slow it way down.
This forces your muscle to engage longer and you may actually see more results faster.
For example, for a bench press, push the weights up over a two count.
Then, hold the weights up for a two count. Don’t have your arms locked though. Have a slight bend as this will force both your chest and your back to remain engaged. From here, slowly lower the weights down for a two count. This significantly increases the amount of back work you receive.
Now, don’t place the weights on your chest, hold the weights just above your chest and hold for two.
You’ll find aiming for the 8-12 reps becomes difficult as your muscles never receive an inset break as the tissue is always engaged. You can replicate this with your pushups by lowering for a two count, holding for a two count, pushing back up for a two count and holding at the top for a two count.
Your local gym most likely has more workout options available with a greater selection of weights, so when it comes to total workout opportunities, the gym is almost always the best location to go.
However, it may not be the best in terms of your budget or just you personally.
Thankfully, there are all sorts of ways you can work your chest at home. From the classic pushup to many different variants of lifts and weights, there is always a way to workout your chest. So whether you take advantage of some of these options or decide to create your own, personalized routines, you don’t always need to spend big cash on developing a big chest.
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