If we could choose one muscle that guys constantly ask about after the bicep, it’s…yep, you guessed it. The chest!
Maybe it’s because we grew up seeing Arnie and Sly with their raging pec muscles in Rambo and Terminator, but getting a chiseled, shaped, muscular set of pecs is a goal for almost every man in the gym.
The good news is, there are a lot of ways to sculpt your chest, and many of them don’t even require you to get in the gym. Chest exercises without benches or barbells is also very possible, and we have seen some guys get insane results from just consistent bodyweight workouts.
In this guide we’ll take you through our Follow 10 top pecs training tips, so you can learn how to get a bigger chest at home, right in your own living room. Follow the roadmap below and we’re sure you’ll see some great results over the next 30-60 days.
How to get a bigger chest at home: Our 11 Tips
1. Push ups (slow them down!)
The classic chest exercise for thousands of years, and nothing has changed – this is still at the top of our list for best bodyweight chest exercises.
We recommend doing your pushups as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Not only does this start the day with you pumping some blood through your muscles, it also means you’re never at risk of missing your workout.
We recommend starting with 50% of your max reps, so if your max without stopping is 30, start the day with 15.
A good tip is to leave your phone somewhere out of the room, which will make you get out of bed as soon as you wake up. Then before you unlock your phone, drop and pay your morning pushup count first. You can also mix it up each day – declines for an upper chest workout at home, or inclines for lower. Wide and narrow are also good to alternate between.
Tip: We also recommend slowing down your pushups. A lot of guys tend to go through them rapid fire, probably to get them over and done with as soon as possible. Try doing the opposite – 3 seconds up, 3 seconds down. This really gets the right amount of strain on your muscle, especially if push ups aren’t very difficult for you. We also recommend using push up bars – not only do they help your form, they give you a deeper pump too.
Dips are super underrated when it comes to bodyweight chest workouts and it’s a shame because they’re pretty simple to do and can be done anywhere.
Dips are great because they hit the chest at a different angle to push ups, and help round out the bottom of your pecs. Almost everyone would benefit from adding some dips in with their daily pushups.
If you’re in the gym just use the dip tower, but if you’re at home the easiest way to do this is between two tables and chairs. Here’s a great video to show you how:
3. Dumbell press
If you don’t have a set of dumbbells at home, we recommend you get one…like yesterday!
Dumbbells are one of the most affordable and versatile workouts tools to have in the home, so there really isn’t a reason to not have a set. You don’t need to buy a whole rack of them either. Adjustable dumbbells are great and available to order online from most fitness joints (we review our favourite ones here).
One of the best chest workouts for the home is the no-bench dumbbell press. We actually prefer the no-bench method for beginners, as it protects the shoulder better and is safer all-around. A great demo can be seen here:
4. Use a chest expander
Chest expanders are pretty old school tools for pumping your chest, but man, they’re effective. In fact, they used to be a favourite piece of chest exercise equipment back in the bodybuilding days, before gyms starting filling up with rows of fancy machines.
The reason chest expanders are so effective is because they give your chest a very intense and focused resistance workout, almost simulating a cable workout in the gym. It’s also great for “lazy” workouts as you can use it while sitting in front of the TV or computer.
Similar to how guys love to just pick up a pair of dumbbells and pump the biceps a few times, the same holds true for a chest expander. Once you have one in the home, you won’t be able to resist getting a little pump in every time you walk past it.
Never used a chest expander before? Our resident PT Steve has written a users guide and reviewed some of the more popular chest expander models here.
5. Dumbell flys
Dumbbell flys are one of the most effective outer chest exercises, and can be done with just a set of dumbbells, with or without a bench.
Again, we actually prefer doing them on the floor, especially for beginners. It’s safer and more supported, which helps you master the technique a lot easier.
Dumbbell flys obviously hit your pecs from a different angle than a regular dumbbell press or push up. If you’ve been wondering how to get square pecs like all those shredded guys on bodybuilding covers, flys will do a lot to shaping that outside edge of your chest muscles.
Here’s a great video guide on how to do them properly:
If you’ve ever been in a martial arts class or even in the military, you’ve probably been introduced to the diamond push up.
It’s a much more challenging pushup, which is why instructors love to impose them on mouthy students, but they’re also a great exercise to supplement your chest workout with. If you’ve never done them before, you’ll probably notice the centre of your chest really starts to burn after a couple of sets.
The diamond is also unique in that it still gives the bulk of your pecs a workout but incorporates the triceps very heavily too. Check it out:
7. Clap push ups
There are two reasons we love the clap pushup.
First, it measures your progress. If you’re still in the early stages of building chest strength, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to do a clap push up well, or at all. The clap pushup requires quite a bit of explosive power in the chest, not only to get you off the ground but also to handle the landing. Once you can do a set of claps comfortably, you know you’ve made a lot of progress in your chest training.
The second reason we love it is it builds a different type of strength in the chest. The ability to get that snappy, quickfire movement in the chest that a clap push up requires, it’s much different to the very heavy bench press kind of strength most people focus on.
This is more of an advanced exercise, but work up to it. It’s a great thing to develop and keep in your regular chest workout routine.
8. Medicine ball push ups
Like the clap pushup, we love this exercise because again, it adds the variety to your chest workout that’s needed to give you that sculpted, chiseled look that you’re after.
The medicine ball pushup is fantastic because it’s one of the few bodyweight exercises for chests that requires a good amount of balance along with strength. Balance exercises incorporate all the little muscle fibres that you might not use during a heavier lift such as a benchpress or a dumbbell press.
The trick with medicine ball pushups is to do them slow. The focus here is on technique, not reps. Even if you can only do a set of 3 or 5, if you can do them with perfect form, they’ll be very beneficial overall.
9. Stretch your chest!
One of the most underrated tips for a blazing chest – stretch!
Stretching is not only going to prevent injury, help your chest recover faster and make you stronger, it’s going to make your chest look better too.
If you’ve ever wondered why athletes have mega toned and sculpted pec muscles, rather than just big bricks of muscle, it’s because they stretch religiously.
We recommend that you stretch your chest after every workout, and even on the days you don’t workout (especially those days!)
If you incorporate regular stretching into your workout routine, we can guarantee you will see noticeable differences in your strength, aesthetics and recovery. All the pros do it. You should too!
10. Get enough protein!
Are you getting enough aminos in your diet?
While doing all the hard work is great, you also need to be feeding the muscles the right nutrients it needs to grow.
You likely already know that protein is the key building block in muscle growth, so make sure that you’re getting enough each day.
We also recommend trying to get your protein in within 1-2 hours after your workout (it’s a myth that you need to get your protein immediately, but try and get it in while your muscles are still in workout mode).
We are partial to good quality whey proteins, but as long as you’re getting it in, we don’t really mind which one you use!
If you’re interested, we’ve reviewed the top selling whey proteins in the UK, and share our recommendations here.
The final piece of the puzzle – recovery.
The body does it’s best work while in deep sleep. Your muscles grow faster, your brain destresses the most, and your energy tank refills for the following day.
Early nights are one of the underrated hacks when it comes to workouts. We know it’s always more fun to stay up Netflixxing, boozing or Playstationing but the reality is, early sleep is as good a testosterone drip in your arm.
Prioritise your sleep – we guarantee you’ll see a difference.
Can you train chest every day?
No, you should not train your chest every day. We recommend keeping chest training to 3 non-consecutive days per week if you’re training heavy, and 5 days per week if you’re sticking to bodyweight. However, a few sets of pushups on your rest days won’t hurt – as long as you’re not doing hundreds of em at a time!
Is chest muscle hard to build?
Yes, building chest muscle is hard, especially if you’re trying to achieve a high amount of mass. However, it is a reasonably easy muscle to target, so as long as you’re disciplined there’s no reason you can’t build a big chest through consistent training and good nutrition. Follow the tips in this guide and we’re confident you’ll get results!
Is it OK to do pushups before bed?
Yes, it is OK to do pushups before bed, as it is a bodyweight exercise and reasonably low impact. But while a few easy sets before bed doesn’t hurt, we would recommend getting the bulk of your pushups in during the day. You should not be doing strenuous workouts before bed, so if you’re breaking a sweat, you’re doing too much!
Do pushups help you lose body fat?
No, pushups do not help you lose body fat effectively. Losing body fat is achieved by a combination of calorie burn and calorie restriction. While pushups may help you burn a few calories and build some chest muscle, they are not an effective tool for burning large amounts of body fat.
Will pushups get you ripped?
No, pushups will not get you ripped on their own. The “ripped” look is usually a result of low body fat percentage and high muscle mass, and pushups are only one part of that equation. Pushups can certainly help with building chest muscle, but getting ripped requires a full body training and diet routine. We recommend checking out this full workout plan by our resident personal trainer Steve.