A Lean Life

Home Chest Workout to Build Lean Muscle and Tone

Home Chest WorkoutThis home chest workout will rip your pecs and build lean muscle.  You will also increase your chest size, and do it all in under 30 minutes.

You might be someone who prefers to workout at home, or like me, you need a back-up plan on occasion when you can’t get to the gym.  And we all know those days will happen.  But instead of missing your workout entirely, follow this home chest workout and you will get every bit as much of a workout as you would at the gym.

The chest is considered a major muscle group, so it’s simply a must to have a developed pecs if you want to have an overall lean, muscular build.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you focus on the right exercises.

These exercises are very simple…but very effective.

Warm-up and Stretching

Prior to any type of resistance training, it is imperative to get in a quick warm-up session.  This will not only improve the overall condition of your muscles, but will also help you to avoid injury.  I have experienced nearly every type of workout injury and nearly all were avoidable…school of hard knocks.

Here is what I recommend to get you ready for your home chest workout:

  • 2-3 minutes of light cardio (jogging in place, skipping rope, jumping jacks).  This will get your blood flowing and warm your muscles.
  • 2-3 minutes of dynamic stretching (arm rotations, simulate bench press, etc)

Home Chest Workout

I will provide some variations for:

  1. No Dumbbells (bodyweight only)
  2. Dumbbells

As a general rule, if your home is your gym, then I would recommend investing in a good range of dumbbells.  But if your home chest workout is only on occasion, then you might want to have just two sets of dumbbells – light and heavy – 20# and 40#, for instance.

Or you might not want to mess with any of that, and just do bodyweight workouts.  All is good, and those are very effective as well.

No Dumbbells (Bodyweight) – Push-up Workout

If you don’t have dumbbells, you can still get a great chest workout using the cornerstone of all chest exercises…the push-up.  Jack LaLanne was the Godfather of modern fitness, and he considered the push-up the foundation of any exercise program.  From my years as an Army Ranger, I could not agree more.  We did tons of push-ups.  This workout goes from the most difficult push-up to the easiest as your chest muscles fatigue.  The counter push-ups might look very easy, but you will see they’re not as easy as you think!

Workout:

  • 15 Elevated Push-ups (feet up on a 1 – 2 foot table)
  • 15 Wide Push-ups (target the chest, minimize the triceps)
  • 15 Regular Push-ups
  • 15 Bench Push-ups
  • 15 Counter Push-ups

Workout Highlights:

  • Simple but effective – your pecs will smoke
  • Perform the push-ups with no rest between exercises
  • Perform 3 to 4 sets
  • Rest 90 seconds between sets
  • The variation of push-ups will work different angles and target different areas of the chest
  • The push-ups get progressively easier as your pecs fatigue – the last one, the counter push-up, is a walk in the park but your pecs will be spent by that point
  • The numbers can be adjusted up or down slightly based on your current fitness level

With Dumbbells

If you do home workouts more frequently, you might want to invest in some dumbbells.  I don’t want to have an entire rack of dumbbells in my home, so I just have 2 sets of dumbbells:

  • (2) 25# dumbbells (smaller muscles – triceps, biceps, shoulders)
  • (2) 50# dumbbells (larger muscles – chest, back)

The 50# is below my max for most exercises, but it gives me the flexibility that I need.

For the workout with dumbbells, I still focus primarily on push-ups, but add a little spice with flyes and dumbbell presses.

Workout:

  • 15 Flat Flyes with 50# dumbbells (laying on workout mat or carpeted floor)
  • 15 Dumbbell Presses (laying on workout mat or carpeted floor)
  • 15 Regular Push-ups
  • 15 Wide Push-ups (target the chest, minimize the triceps)
  • 15 Bench Push-ups

Workout Highlights:

  • Simple but effective
  • Perform the flyes, presses, and push-ups with no rest between exercises
  • Perform 3 to 4 sets
  • Rest 90 seconds between sets
  • The variation of push-ups will work different angles and target different areas of the chest
  • The push-ups get progressively easier as your pecs fatigue – the last one, the counter push-up, is a walk in the park but your pecs will be spent by that point
  • The numbers can be adjusted up or down slightly based on your current fitness level

Avoiding Injury

If you are over the age of 30, it would be wise to start to consider the value of proper warm-up and stretching when doing a home chest workout.  If you have never had a workout injury, you still need to be cautious.  As you hit middle age, workout injuries happen so easily.  It truly is hell gettin’ old!

This has been my fun ride:

  • Strained lower back doing low pulley rows with poor back warm-up
  • Strained left bicep trying to lift too heavy on curls – I’m not 20 years old anymore – can’t go psycho heavy (for me anyway) without really great warm-up
  • Strained neck doing lat pulldowns – see neck stretches
  • Strained wrist doing overhead pulley extensions
  • Tennis elbow (tendon problems in elbow) doing bicep curls – wrist stretches to loosen these tendons

To avoid injury make sure you do proper warm-up and stretching.  After your workout, do some static stretching of your chest muscles.  This will improve your range of motion and elongate the pecs.

Also, anytime I do exercises that involve my arms I do wrist stretches.  Tendon problems can happen around the elbow (also known as “tennis elbow”), and I developed tendon problems.  The orthopedic I went to advised me the best way to avoid this in the future were wrist stretches.  I swear by them…my elbows and wrists (2 vulnerable joints) have been very healthy for years as a result.

Of all of the workout injuries I’ve had, that pesky tennis elbow was by far the most debilitating.  It put me out of the gym for 3 months.  I had no grip strength in my left hand…none.

Do yourself a huge favor…do proper warm-up and stretching.  I hope you can thank me later!

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