Beginner Chest Workout at Home

Beginner Chest Workout at Home

Looking for a beginner chest workout at home but aren’t sure where to start?

If so, you’re in luck because we are breaking it down for you today. From exercise selection and progression to warming up and safety tips – we’ve got you covered.

Read on to learn what you need to know for effective home training.

Beginner Chest Workout At Home: The Basics

The simplest beginner chest workout at home is a push-up workout. Push-ups are one of the most versatile exercises to emphasize different parts of your chest and challenge yourself, regardless of your experience level.

Before moving on, though, it’s important to review the importance of safety. If you’re a beginner, you must understand how crucial a good warm-up is! It’s the key to avoiding workout injuries. 

Start with 3 minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching to warm up your body and loosen up your chest muscles. Good activities include arm rotations, arm swings, and similar.

Once you’ve warmed up, do a few light push-up sets to prepare your chest, shoulders, and triceps. For example, if you plan on doing regular push-ups, do some push-ups off an elevated surface, such as a chair.

Progression (Even If You Can’t Do One Push-Up Rep)

Getting started with push-ups can be frustrating. How are you supposed to do more reps if you can’t even do one?

Fortunately, there are some ways to get started. One excellent option is to start with an easier push-up variation, such as the incline push-up or doing push-ups from your knees.

Bench Push-ups

Place your hands on an elevated object (such as a chair or bench) and do as many reps as possible. 

If even that feels too difficult, start on the kitchen counter, where you are nearly vertical (45 degree angle is preferable). The more upright you are, the easier the exercise is and the lower the resistance.

Another option for progression is to do slow negatives. For instance, assume the standard push-up position and lower yourself as slowly as possible. Get back on top and repeat.

The tactic builds eccentric strength and allows you to do your first unassisted push-up rep eventually.

Push-ups From Your Knees

Knealing Push-upsAnother way to make push-ups easier is to perform a classic push-up, except from your knees.

Push-ups from your knees cuts the resistance by half, or very close. The great thing is, you’re still working the same muscles. And just as effectively!

Start Very Slow and Progress

Also, make sure to start slowly. An injury can set you back months, and beginners are more prone because they lack the experience. So always err on the side of caution. There is plenty of time to progress and become a pro!

Do fewer reps than you think you can and aim for small and steady improvements. Adding even a handful of reps every week will result in great progress down the road.

incline push ups benefits

Progressing Beyond The Push-Up

Once you’ve mastered the push-up and some of the more popular variations, you should consider some chest dumbbell workouts at home. Two fantastic exercises for chest growth are dumbbell presses and flyes.

Dumbbells allow you to overload your muscles to a higher degree and cause the necessary mechanical tension for strength gain and hypertrophy. (1)

A workout step is ideal because that allows slight torso elevation off the ground, contributing to a longer range of motion. If you don’t have one, you can start with floor presses––these are the same as dumbbell presses, but you’re lying flat on the floor.

However, you can still get a terrific chest workout without even a step by working from the floor. Click to learn more about a dumbbell chest workout without a bench or step.

Sets And Reps Recommendations

Your chest will be very sore after working out in the first few weeks, so don’t overdo it. But sore is good! That means your muscles are tearing down, and then rebuilding stronger. (2)

As they rebuild, you might want to consider a powerhouse protein shake to assist in recovery and muscle growth.

Gradually increase the training volume and intensity while ensuring your muscles recover well between sessions.

Here are some suggestions:

Week 1: Perform 2 sets of knee push-ups on workout days without going to failure/muscle exhaustion. Start with incline push-ups, or counter push-ups.

Week 2: Perform 2 sets of classic push-ups on workout days without going to failure/muscle exhaustion.

Week 3: Perform 2 sets of classic push-ups and one set of incline push-ups on workout days, going closer to failure.

Month 2 and Beyond

You can introduce dumbbell exercises, such as flyes, in the second month.

There isn’t a single best progression strategy. What matters most is that you see steady improvements and gradually increase the amount of work you’re doing.

Build your foundation with perfect technique and focus on your breathing. Inhale before initiating a rep, and exhale as you push yourself off the ground.

ExerciseSetsReps
Week 1
Classic push-ups15-10
Incline push-ups15-10
Week 2
Classic push-ups15-10
Incline push-ups15-10
Knee push-ups15
Week 3
Classic push-ups25-10
Incline push-ups25-10
Knee push-ups15
Week 4
Classic push-ups25-10
Incline push-ups25-10
Knee push-ups25
Week 5 (2 workout days, 2 days apart)
Day 1:
Classic push-ups25-10
Incline push-ups25-10
Knee push-ups25
Day 2:
Dumbbell press from step15-10
Dumbbell flyes from step15

Final Words

There you have it!

A simple way to put together a beginner chest workout at home, even if you don’t have any equipment. 

Focus on proper form, maintain a steady breath, and aim for gradual improvements from week to week.

You can also take before and after photos to see improvements and stay motivated. For instance, take pics at the start of each month and compare.

As you progress in your fitness journey, there are many great home workouts to get lean and fit:

Click to return to home workout routines, and also click to see home video workouts.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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References

  1. Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdała, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019, December 4). Maximizing muscle hypertrophy: A systematic review of advanced resistance training techniques and methods. International journal of environmental research and public health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950543/
  2. Can muscle soreness after a workout be prevented? Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness After a Workout: Can It Be Prevented? | Houston Methodist On Health. (n.d.). https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/sep/muscle-soreness-after-a-workout-can-it-be-prevented/#:~:text=%22The%20sore%20muscles%20you%20feel,happen%20immediately%2C%22%20says%20Murray.

Click to see our medical disclosure.