Chest Workouts You Can Do at Home with Minimal Equipment

At-home workouts are anything but easy, with many strength, power, and fitness athletes and coaches maximizing their performance from the comfort of their own home. Strength superstars like Brian Shaw stock their home with a wide array of barbells and strength equipment, making it easy to get necessary training in regardless of hectic work and life schedules.

Some of you, however, may find yourself without 10 different training barbells, 1000+ square foot of garage space, and hundreds of pounds of iron in your home gym, but fear not!

In this article we break down various home-gym types and offer a few chest workouts to kick-start your training and maximize strength and muscle hypertrophy.

Chest Workouts For Any Home-Gym

Below are a few scenarios that many fitness-goers and athletes face when training at home. Based on the goals and equipment available, the below workouts can be done by most strength, power, and fitness athletes looking to build general strength and muscle mass.

If you don’t have any weights or equipment, try this…

In an earlier article we discussed five of the best chest-building exercises you can do without weights, at home. Movements like push ups, dips, and other pressing variations (check out the article link above) can be programmed in a way that can increase muscular hypertrophy, build strength, muscle coordination, and more. Below is a sample workout you can try the incorporates only bodyweight exercises.

  • Scapular Push Up – 3 sets of 20 repetitions
    • Handstand Hold – 3 sets of 30 seconds
  • Tempo (2020) Push Ups – 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions
    • Close Grip Push Ups – 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions (or to failure)
  • Tempo (2020) Dips – 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions
    • Plyometric Push Ups 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions (or to failure)

This non-weighted chest workout can be done to increase chest hypertrophy and muscular endurance, with the added benefit of hitting the triceps as well. The goal here is to hit various regions of the pectorals (upper chest, lower chest, etc) while also working the supporting muscles (triceps, rhomboids and scapular stabilizers, and the shoulders) to offer a well-rounded chest pressing workout. The workout includes tempo work and supersets to increase time under tension and maximize muscle fatigue and metabolic build-up.

If you only have light dumbbells, a bench, and some resistance bands, try this…

Most home-gym will at the very least have some dumbbells and a bench. If you are one of these people, I strongly suggest you get yourself some quality resistance bands as well, as this can truly upgrade your home gym for only a few dollars (much cheaper than needing to go out and buy barbells, etc). The below workout incorporates both bodyweight and dumbbell chest exercises, as well as resistance bands to increase exercises demands and stimulate new muscle growth.

  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Flyes – 4 sets of 10 repetitions, with a 1-2 second pause in the bottom position, feeling a stretch in the chest.
  • Plyometric Push Up – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Dumbbell Single Arm Incline Bench Press – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions per arm
  • Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions per arm
  • Banded Push Up – 3 sets to failure (light to moderate band tension)

The above workout starts with a single joint isolation movement (dumbbell flat bench flye) to pre-exhaust the chest muscles and help to increase blood flow to the muscle and increase dynamic range of motion. Loads should be kept light-moderate to allow for maximal stretching and chest isolation.

Within this workout, alternating and unilateral pressing movements occur, which can help to address movement and muscular imbalance. Finish the workout by performing 3 sets of max effort push ups to failure exhaust the chest muscles.

If you have a barbell, dumbbells, bench, and more, try this…

Lucky you, you have nearly all the ingredients you need train the chest for maximal strength and muscle hypertrophy. While the barbell is not necessary for general chest development at earlier stages in a training career, the barbell (especially the bench press) is still one of the most effective chest building exercises due to the high amounts of external loading and muscle demands that the load can place on the muscle tissues. Below is a chest workout program that can be done to increase general strength and overall size of the chest muscles, as well as increase overall triceps mass.

  • Band Tear Aparts – 3 sets of 20 repetitions
    • Flat Dumbbell Incline Flye – 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Incline Barbell Press – 5 sets of 4-8 repetitions, with a heavy load
  • Flat Dumbbell Bench Press 4 sets of 10 repetitions
    • Dips – 4 sets of 10-10 repetitions

The above workout utilizes pre-exhaust training (flyes prior to heavy pressing), heavy pressing, and higher repetitions based hypertrophy sets to maximize overall chest fatigue and strain. The key with this workout should be to allow for a smooth, eccentric loading/stretch to be placed upon the muscle in the heavier movements, while using exercises like the chest flye and dip to increase peak contractions in the concentric phase of the movement.

If you have a full blown home gym, try this…

If you are someone who has access to a full at-home training facility, it’s time you take your chest training to the next level. With the large amounts of loading and equipment/training tools you have at your disposal, I recommend reading up on the five best bench press training programs for building strength and muscle mass. While you can also look back at the above sample workout programs, the bench press training programs in the link above utilize a wide array of training tools (such as bands, chains, and other bench press variations) to truly maximize overall pressing strength and chest development for more serious lifters.

Featured Image: @jay_foxbattle on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.