Chest workouts are among the most popular, giving you a big, broad chest. Through chest exercises, you will build up the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, commonly just referred to as pecs.
Generally you will need to use weight machines, barbells or dumbbells to really develop your chest, but you can still achieve a solid chest through basic bodyweight exercises such as press ups.
With a wide range of exercises that can work your chest, you will be able to keep your workouts interesting and varied. Even if you don’t have access to weights or weight machines, there are a variety of different types of press ups that you can choose to do, allowing you to mix it up with each workout.
For instructions on how to use weight machines that work your chest and the rest of your upper body, such as the popular bench press, check out our arm weight machines section. For instructions on how to use kettlebells, check out our kettlebells section.
Below you will find information about bodyweight exercises you can add to your chest workout.
How to do:
Press ups are great for your chest. Facing the floor, lie down with your legs straight and feet close together. Your toes should point down onto the floor, and your hands need to be placed either side of your chest.
Push your body up by extending your arms (without fully locking them), to get into the start position.
Now, lower your body down in a controlled manner, by bending your arms, stopping when your chest is just above the floor. Once you have reached this point, extend your arms again to return up to the starting position, resulting in the completion of one rep.
Wide press ups
Familiarise yourself with normal press ups first. Quite simply, for wide press ups you just place your hands further apart than you do for normal press ups, with each hand approximately one foot away from your chest.
It is likely that you will find it more difficult than normal press ups, so it is recommended to complete less repetitions in each set than you would for normal press ups.
Wide press ups will help develop the outer parts of your chest primarily.
Diamond press ups/Narrow press ups
This is similar to a normal press up, but your hands will be placed directly underneath your chest, in the middle and almost touching each other. Your thumbs and index fingers should from a diamond shape.
As you bend your arms to lower yourself to the floor, you should try to keep your arms tucked in close to your body, rather than bending them out to the sides. Once your chest is just above your hands, extend your arms again to return to the starting position, resulting in the completion of one repetition.
Diamond press ups will help develop the inner part of your chest predominantly.
Incline/Decline press ups
With these, you will complete a normal press up (so it is recommended to familiarise yourself with those first) while using an object to raise either your hands or feet off the ground,
For incline press ups, your hands are raised, with your feet remaining on the floor. These will work your lower chest more.
For decline press ups, your feet are raised with your hands remaining on the floor. These will work your upper chest more.
Generally, when raising either your hands or feet, they are raised about one foot off the ground. Make sure you use a solid, stable object to raise yourself up on, preferably an exercise bench.