The 5 Best Exercises for an at Home Chest Workout
Whether you’re short on time, live out in the sticks, or just don’t have a gym membership, getting in a great at home chest workout is still no problem. Very little equipment is required to build an awesome chest. And in this article, we’ll tell you how to get the job done with just a set of dumbbells, a bench and your bodyweight. The good news is that this is all you need to work out your arms as well.
But first, understand that the chest is composed of two different muscle groups. The first group is the larger pectoralis major. This group of muscles allows us to raise our arms from the side and the front, as well as rotate our arms inward. The second group is the smaller pectoralis minor which is underneath the larger muscle group. This group of muscles has only one major job and that is to stabilize the scapula. In addition to the chest, we include the shoulders because they are incredibly important for building a massive, broad chest.
When it comes to the chest, there are very few exercises that you can do in the gym that you can’t replicate with dumbbells, a bench, and your bodyweight. The only exercise that is hard to replicate is the cable crossover machine. Luckily, that is not the end-all for developing chest muscle and it is still very easy to build chest muscle at home.
- The Dumbbell Bench Press
The dumbbell bench press is a popular complement or substitute for the more traditional barbell bench press. However, the dumbbell bench press offers a serious advantage over the same exercise with the barbell. Using dumbbells allows you to totally isolate the left and right sides of your chest. This means that each side is handling the exact same weight and you are physically unable to assist your weaker side with your stronger side which forces you to develop muscle proportionately throughout the chest.
The dumbbell bench press is fairly straight forward. Simply lie on a flat bench, with a dumbbell in each hand. Start with the dumbbells lowered just above your chest and raise them. However, don’t lock your arms out and just before you reach full extension, return to the starting position. Depending you’re your exercise objective, you should aim to perform 3 to 5 sets of either 4 to 6 reps or 8 to 12 reps. Fewer reps with heavier weight will enable massive muscle growth whereas more weight with fewer reps creates a muscle building and cardio combination for a more defined look. A good chest routine will incorporate sets aimed at achieving both of these rep targets.
- The Incline Dumbbell Bench Press with a Twist
The incline dumbbell bench press is an extremely potent combination to the standard dumbbell bench press. The normal incline dumbbell bench press involves the same technique as the flat dumbbell bench press. However, your bench will be angled at approximately 45 degrees.
To boost your results to the next level, add a twist to the standard incline dumbbell bench press. Start the exercise with one dumbbell lowered above your chest in each hand. Push the dumbbells up simultaneously, while rotating your hand inwards 180 degrees. Then reverse and return to the starting position. At the start of the exercise, your palms should be facing away from you. At the top of your bench press your palms should be facing toward you.
Follow the same set and rep guidance as set above in the dumbbell bench press exercise.
- The Dumbbell Flye
The dumbbell flye focuses on using the complete chest in a full range of motion. It is not designed to be a press. The dumbbell fly is designed to extend the chest muscles then contract them as you bring your hands together. It is crucial to use good form to prevent pressing the weight and to avoid injury.
The weight you use for the dumbbell flye will be significantly less than what you use for dumbbell presses. This exercise is performed while lying on a flat bench. To start, hold one dumbbell in each hand over your chest. With a slight bend in your elbows, extend the arms and shoulder until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and pecs. Bring your arms back in by using a hugging motion then repeat.
Again, follow the same set and rep guidance as set above in the dumbbell bench press exercise. However, be carefully not to lift too much weight as it can strain and injure the shoulders. It is always better to start with lesser weight and work your way up as you analyze your abilities and develop proper form.
- The Shoulder Press
The shoulder press is a must-do to build bold shoulders. It’s another exercise that can be done with nothing more than a set of dumbbells and a bench. To perform the shoulder press, set your seat so the back is 90 degrees. This can also be done on a seat without back support but having support will enable you to keep better form throughout your exercise.
To start, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows extended straight out to each side and your palms facing away from you. Push the weight straight up so that the dumbbells come together but do not touch. Do not extend all of the way and lock out your arms as there should be a slight bend in your elbows. Once you reach the top of the exercise, return to starting position and repeat.
- The Push-Up
The push-up is an age old exercise that will always be a vital part of developing a muscular chest. However, many advances have been made from the days where the standard push-up was the go-to. Here are several variations of push-ups that each target the chest muscles differently.
To advance any of these techniques, place a weight between your shoulder blades so that you work against more than just your bodyweight. Another way to get the most out of push-ups is to use them as a burn out exercise. A burn out exercise is effectively the last thing you do before you finish your workout that causes your muscles to exercise until failure. After your chest workout, pick a push-up variation and do as many as you can until your muscles are completely exhausted.
The Single Leg Push-Up: Any push-up variation can be done as a single leg push-up. The advantage of the single leg push-up is that while in a push-up position, your body can only distribute and brace your weight with the three body parts that are touch the ground. Instead of the traditional four and this makes this push-up variation more difficult. It also allows you to work on stabilizing your body as you work out which adds even more difficulty to the exercise.
Wide Push-Up: The wide push-up is performed almost exactly like the standard push-up; however, your hands should be an additional 4 to 6 inches outside of normal push-up position. This variation increases the level of strain put on your muscle during the exercise.
Close Grip Push-Up: Instead of moving your hands out for the wide push-up, bring your hands in for a close grip push-up variation. In this variation, your hands should be almost touching each other directly under your chest. This variation increases the strain on your lower chest and your triceps.
Remember, its easy to take your workouts home, but you can’t forget to maintain a proper nutrition and a great supplement plan. If you fail to nail those two, it doesn’t matter where you workout – your results will suffer!