How can I build my chest muscles at home without equipment?

The ultimate workout guide to develop your pecs at home

Chest workout – that is why most of the guys get into the gym to build shaped and big pecs. The bench press is maybe the most well-known strength exercise of all.

But, what if for some reason we can’t go to the gym? Is it possible to develop chest muscles at home?

The answer is yes!

You don’t need to pump iron to strengthen your pecs. You just need to have a well-organized chest workout with the right bodyweight exercises and a long-term plan.

Within this post, you are going to learn:

  • What are the best chest exercises for home without exercise equipment?
  • The rules for building chest strength and muscle mass.
  • What is progressive overload?
  • Chest routines at different levels.
  • Other workout tips.

Guide to chest workout at home without equipment

The first thing that we have to understand is that the muscles grow if they get impacts regularly. The muscle fibers adapt to the new force. That is why we lift weights.

However, the muscles don’t care about if the resistance comes from lifting, pulling rubber bands, or by doing bodyweight training. If they get new “attacks” from time to time, they adapt and gain.

In this case, we want to target the chest, so we need to do bodyweight exercises that target those areas.

The chest includes two muscle groups: pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. Hence, it’s quite easy to target them.

An what are the best chest exercises at home without weights?

Of course, various push-ups!

Push-ups are excellent compound exercises for the chest, and there are unlimited variations for a given fitness level, purpose, and areas.

How to target different parts of your chest with push-ups?

As we learned before, the chest is built from two muscle groups. And anatomically, there are no muscles such as the inner, outer, lower, and upper chest. But, by positioning our body at different angles or by using different push-up stances, we can target those areas.

  • Narrow stances target the inner chest.
  • Wide stances the outer pecs.
  • The incline angle the lower chest.
  • The decline angle the upper part.

How to have easier and harder press-ups?

The load on the chest depends on the following:

  • The angle of the body.
  • The stance.
  • The number of “used” limbs.
  • The placement of the hands.
  • Additional resistance (weighted vest, rubber bands).


Beginners who have no workout background can start with the incline push-ups. In this case, there is less load on the chest since the weight of the lower body is more on the ground. It’s an excellent progressive exercise towards the regular press-up.

By placing the feet on something higher, more load is put on the chest, so it’s going to be harder to press ourselves up. This is the decline push-up, which is great for intermediate level people.

Advanced athletes can switch to single hand push-ups, which is tough, but that is why it builds incredible strength. But, by lifting one leg is enough to make the standard push-up more challenging.

The variations for different fitness levels are listed below.

How to build chest mass at home – The rule of progressive overload

What do you think will your chest growing is you always the same exercises, reps, and sets?

Of course, not. With time the muscles get used to it, and with that, there is nothing they have to adapt. So, they stop gaining in size and power.

What should we do to avoid that stagnation?

Give a new impact frequently. That is the progressive overload technique.


  • Increase the number of sets or reps.
  • Add or remove practices.
  • Switch to more advanced exercises. For example, instead of doing regular push-ups, you switch to decline by placing your feet on an elevated platform.
  • You increase the intensity by having shorter rests.
  • Use additional weight (the most comfortable is weighted vest)
  • Get into a more unstable position, for example, by using a suspension trainer.

The rule is the same as if you were bench pressing when adding a few additional pounds to the barbell from time to time.

Push-up variations

Now we have talked a lot about the basics of building a bigger chest. Here are different types of drills. By clicking on the links, you are directed to the exercise tutorials.

Workout Equipment to consider

While this guide is dedicated to home chest training without equipment, it’s worth to invest in tools. This way, we can make out home workouts more versatile and use them to strengthen other muscles.

Push-up bars or parallettes

These tools help to increase the range of motion (ROM). When you do push-ups with them, you can go deeper. This way, the chest muscles are stretched more as if you were performing the move on the ground. That leads to more forceful muscle engagement and with that size and power.

Adjustable Dumbbells

A pair of dumbbells is enough to have a total body strength training. There are endless exercises for each body part. In this case, we can do chest presses and flyes on the floor.

Home Chest Workout Plan Examples

Now you know the basics of how to build chest muscles at home, here are beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.


Credit for the plans:


Chest workout at home without weights is an effective way to gain your pectoral muscles. Your body as resistance is always there. Keep the progressive overload in mind, be dedicated and creative, and you will have a strong upper body without lifting weight.

Written by Imre

Imre has been working out for over 20 years. He likes all sorts of strength training and boxing. Since he's a busy father he works out only at home.