Prevailing wisdom suggests that we need a gym to have effective chest workouts. But, as you’ll see in a moment, there are some great ways to design a chest workout at home without equipment. And you can build lean muscle and get very lean with this workout.
What’s more, this workout will strengthen and develop your pecs in as little as 10-15 minutes each week.
And the best part is, everything is based on one incredibly useful exercise…
Push-Ups – The Best No-Equipment Chest Exercise
Prevailing wisdom suggests that we need exercises like the bench press, dumbbell flyes, or cable flyes to have an effective chest workout.
But, the truth is, push-ups are among the best and most versatile exercises you can do, with or without equipment.
For one, there are dozens of push-up variations you can use, so no matter what your fitness level is, you can always keep them challenging.
Push-ups are also great because you don’t need any special equipment. So long as you have a bit of open space, you can always bang out a quick set of 10 to 20 reps.
And finally, push-ups are thought to be incredibly beneficial for shoulder health as they promote proper scapular function and stability.
The Sequence of Push-ups is Key
Most importantly, you want to start off with the most difficult push-ups first. And they will progressively get easier. This really creates a burn and intense workout for your pecs. By the last push-up in the rotation, which will be on a counter (like a kitchen counter), your chest will be totally spent.
A Proper Warm-Up Is a Must for a Chest Workout at Home Without Equipment
As you’ll probably notice in a second, the chest workout at home without equipment is relatively simple and straightforward. There are no complicated exercises or protocols.
But, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a proper warm-up because it will prepare your body for the workout and help you avoid getting injured.
A good warm-up for the home chest workout will primarily work on your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and chest muscles. Begin with some light hopping in place to get your blood flowing. If you have a jump rope – use that. Once you’ve warmed yourself up a bit, move your wrists, elbows, and shoulders with a variety of dynamic movements like arm circles.
Chest Workout at Home Without Equipment
This workout will be based on a classic chest exercise – the push-up. And these push-ups will be done in succession with no rest, and that is considered 1 cycle.
|Push-up||Reps||Details / Description|
|Decline Push-ups||6-10 Reps||Feet Elevated 1-2 feet on low table or workout ball|
|Close-grip Push-ups||6-10 Reps||Classic push-up position, but hands 12" apart|
|Classic Push-ups||6-10 Reps||Classic position with hands slightly wider than shoulders|
|Bench Push-ups||10-15 Reps||Feet on ground, Hands on low table or bench|
|Knee Push-ups||10-15 Reps||Classic push-up, except with knees on the ground|
|Seal Push-up||10-15 Reps||Lower body on the ground, pushing up slowly|
|Counter Push-ups||10-15 Reps||Feet on ground, Hand on high table or kitchen counter|
Chest Workout at Home Workout Notes
- The sequence goes from most difficult to least difficult as your pecs fatigue. This is key. As your muscles get tired, you want the easier pushups near the end. And your chest muscles will get tired.
- Depending on your fitness level, you can do as little as two cycles or as many as five cycles.
- Repetitions can vary greatly, from 6 reps to 40 reps depending on your fitness level.
- What matters most is that you perform clean push-up repetitions with great form, so let your fatigue levels guide you.
- Once you do one cycle, rest for 90 to 120 seconds and go again.
Knee (or Knealing) Push-ups
Incline Push ups (on a kitchen counter)
[more vertical than shown below]
Push Up Order is Important
In summary, keep in mind the order is important! You want to make sure you start with the most difficult push up, and finish with the easiest (least resistance). As you progress through the routine, your pecs, shoulders, and triceps will fatigue and lose steam. So the push ups at the end of the cycle need to be progressively easier. (1)
- Decline Push Up
- Close-grip Push Up
- Classic Push Up
- Bench Push Up
- Knee Push Up
- Seal Push Up
- Counter Push Up
Common Push-up Mistakes
The most common three mistakes when doing push-ups are the following:
- Not going all the way down – you should lower your body in the down position until your chest touches the ground.
- Not fully extending in the up position – you should push-ups until your arms are nearly straight in the up position.
- Not keeping your back straight when performing the pushup.
A Visual Example of a Push-up With Poor Form
- Tehrene Firman Tehrene Firman, & Firman, T. (2022, January 10). The 20 best push-up variations ranked from easiest to hardest. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/best-push-up-variations/