As gyms start to reopen in many places, others are still at the mercy of the current health crisis. Hopefully, though, this won’t be the case for much longer so you can get back to the weights. Now, if you don’t have equipment at home, then you may be wondering what else you can do to maintain your gains and even make more.
Don’t worry, we have everything you need with our at-home workouts resources to support your efforts. But today, we’ve put together 4 advanced chest workouts at home that you can do when basic push-ups aren’t quite cutting it.
You need to challenge your muscles for them to grow and get stronger, and if you’ve been training for a while now, then this is even more imperative. So, we chose the best exercises possible, to accomplish this…
4 Chest Workouts At Home For Jacked Pecs
Because the following workouts are more advanced, it’s very important to do a few warmup sets. You can easily do this with two sets of pushups to get blood in the muscles and to condition your shoulder joints in preparation for the workout.
Start with a few half reps and then gradually lower yourself further down to activate the chest muscles through the eccentric stretch. This also prevents placing too much of an immediate strain on your shoulder joints.
Then, place your hands out further away from each other and repeat. Now you’re ready to take on either of these routines…
Note: The following workouts vary in difficulty which allows for more options to based on the experience level of the exerciser. How frequently you do them is also based on your experience level and schedule.
Narrow-grip decline push-ups w/ feet elevated at 45-degree angle
Elevating your feet certainly increases the difficulty of the push-up. However, placing your feet onto something a foot or two off the ground isn’t as challenging as elevating as high as you can without actually doing handstand push-ups (works more of the delts).
This will ensure most of your body weight is shifted onto your arms and chest while also emphasizing the upper chest muscles. Then, by placing your arms closer together than shoulder-width, you add even more of a challenge while also allowing for a better chest contraction.
Your bodyweight will be plenty but if not, you can also use bands or a backpack filled with weights/things.
Note: This variation is more challenging than the pike push-up or dive-bomber as you’re using more of your bodyweight.
- Place your feet onto an object high off the ground that positions your body at 45 degrees to the floor.
- Keep your hands just inside shoulder-width on the floor directly under mid-chest. Your body should remain neutral.
- Keep your shoulders blades back and lower yourself down as low as you can.
- Press back up to the starting positioning while maintaining the same form as described in the previous steps.
Do 4 sets to failure (rest 1:30 between sets)
Incline underhand, close-grip push-up w/ upper body elevated
The lower chest or abdominal head has separate fibers that you can emphasize with exercises that involve positioning the arms below the chest. And an underhand grip provides a more pronounced contraction. Now, typically, incline push-ups are easier than conventional pushups.
However, with only a slight elevation of the upper body, you’ll still be pressing against a large portion of your own bodyweight. Then, using an underhand, close grip for this exercise will further increase the difficulty of the movement.
- Using the same setup as the previous exercise, elevate your upper body by placing your hands (underhand grip) close together on the edge of a raised object not too high off the ground. Your arms should be positioned below your chest.
- Lower yourself down as low as you can and then press back up.
Do 4 sets to failure (rest 1 minute between sets)
Close-grip knuckle pushups
This push-up variation will really allow you to emphasize the inner chest. Doing it on your knuckles already places your arms in adduction which is ideal for getting an optimal contraction. It also really engages the triceps and plus, it’s just harder to do pushups on your knuckles.
- Close both hands to make two fists and hold them together with a neutral hand position.
- Get into the push-up position on your knuckles so your hands are directly beneath your lower to mid-chest.
- Keep your shoulder blades back and your back straight.
- Lower yourself down as far as you can and then push through your knuckles back up to the top.
Do 4 sets to failure (rest 1 minute between sets)
You don’t need to be Robinhood to do these push-ups effectively. However, you do need to have decent upper body strength because these archer pushups are not easy. You’re basically shifting your body side to side to shift your body weight onto one side.
- Get into a push-up position with hands wide and hands pointed out to the sides.
- Maintain a straight body and lower yourself to either side so your body weight shifts to one arm. The non-working arm should be extended straight.
- Press up using the same arm that your body shifted toward and then repeat on the opposite side.
You can look toward the non-working arm at the bottom of the push-up if you so choose.
Do 4 sets to failure (rest 1 minute between sets)
Decline rotational/twisting push-ups
This variation is very challenging as you’ll focus on pressing more on one side. However, it’s definitely easier than the one-arm push-up. We’ve explained the benefits of elevating your feet, but adding some rotation with your torso creates optimal adduction of the arm which is a must for maximum chest development.
- Elevate your feet up onto a sturdy object and place your hands shoulder-width distance apart directly beneath your mid-chest.
- Keep your shoulders back and down and make sure you have a neutral torso.
- Lower yourself down to the floor and as you press up, rotate your torso toward either arm. You should feel a big contraction in the same side you’ve rotated toward.
- Lower yourself back down and then do the same thing but on the other side so that you feel in the strong contraction in the opposite side.
Your hands should remain on the floor through the exercise. Otherwise, you can lift one arm just off the ground but this isn’t a rotational push-up where you raise one arm in the air as you rotate.
Do 3 sets to failure (rest 1:30 between sets)
Double hand-release plyo push-ups
Other than making the pushup a bit harder, adding a plyometric component is also a good way to improve the upper body explosiveness of the pushing muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders). The hand release component forces you to develop concentric strength and power since there’s no bounce or momentum involved.
- Get into a basic push-up position.
- Lower yourself down until your chest is resting on the floor and lift both hands up momentarily.
- Place both hands back on the floor and explode upward so that both hands leave the ground.
Do 3 sets to failure (rest 1-1:30 between sets)
Bodyweight fly on knees
You always need to incorporate some form of a chest fly in your workouts due to the stretch and adduction of the arms toward the center of the body. You’ll be very surprised as to how difficult the bodyweight fly is and there’s room to make it even more challenging as well.
So, start on your knees if you haven’t done this one before and play around with your body position to see which works best for you. If you’re really strong, then you can do it with your knees off the ground in a standard push-up position.
Now, to do this movement, you’ll need a slippery surface and something to place under your hands to slide them out and in. Some good ways to do this is to use paper towels, dryer sheets, dry cleaning clothes, furniture movers, Tupperware tops, etc. If you have adjustable dumbbells or barbells you can use those too.
- Get on your knees and place your hands on top of whatever you’re using to do the flys.
- Lean forward and slide your hands out until you feel a stretch in your chest.
- Slide your arms back together in the center of your body while squeezing your chest muscles.
Do 3 sets to failure (rest 1 minute between sets)
Note: The example video shows the exercise performed in the standard push-up position. You can try this variation if you feel strong enough.
The one-arm push-up is likely the most difficult push-up that you can do. This one is for the strongest individuals out there and you can always wear a backpack with more weight if you’re one of the beastliest humans on the planet.
However, most people probably won’t be able to crank out a ton of reps using one arm. And if your body weight is too much as it is, do the one-arm push-up by elevating your upper body or using a wall which will make it much more possible, although, still difficult.
- Do 3 sets to failure (rest 1:30 between sets)
Because this exercise is very advanced, here’s a video from Jeff Cavaliere of Athlean-X where he shows how to do it most effectively.
Bodyweight fly in a standard push-up position
If you’re so advanced to where you can do one-arm push-ups, you might as well do the bodyweight fly in the standard push-up position. You just want to make sure that you don’t allow your butt to drop during this exercise as you want to remain relatively rigid to ensure the resistance of your body weight remains the same throughout.
Refer to workout #3 for the example video and instructions.
- Do 4 sets to failure (rest 1:30 between sets)
You should be pretty burnt out from the previous two exercises. So, there’s no need to really go with anything ultra challenging. A few sets of decline push-ups should be pretty challenging and for this one, we recommend elevating your feet at least two feet off the ground.
- Do 3 sets to failure (rest 45-seconds – 1 minute between sets)
That should do it for the chest workouts that we think will really allow you to progress.
You can make gains by doing chest workouts at home with the exercises we’ve shown you. You don’t need weights not do you have to continue repping out endless reps of pushups. And there are ways to make these difficult exercises even more challenging.
You can add bands or even wear a backpack loaded with extra weight to make several of these exercises a lot more difficult to do. So, even the strongest and most advanced individuals shouldn’t have an issue with these workouts being too easy.
Don’t use the fact that you don’t have a gym as an excuse. But if you do have access to equipment, these workouts will also complement any of the above-prescribed workouts too!