Elite fitness expert shares five exercises you need to build a bigger chest at home

The beginner edition

Man doing dumbbell chest press
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Arnold Schwarzenegger may have loved using an Olympic barbell and pair of dumbbells to build his chest but, believe it or not, weights aren’t essential. In fact, strength coach and founder of Athlean-X, Jeff Cavaliere, has shared a workout that he says is “perfect for beginners” and all you need is your bodyweight and one resistance band. Even better, it’ll take you about 30 minutes. 

 “Just because you’re training at home, doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing the science of chest training,” says Cavaliere. This workout still hits the upper chest, sternal head (middle part of the pec) and the lower chest by angling your body and moving your arms in different directions, just as you would in the gym. Cavaliere has also thrown in an exercise to work your rotator cuff (a group of muscles in the shoulder), which is important in aiding your chest exercises. However, it often gets left behind, so don’t abandon it!

For this workout you’ve got five exercises to work through, three of which are bodyweight exercises and the remaining two require a pull up resistance band. You want to perform each exercise for as many reps as you possibly can (Cavaliere says ideally between eight and 15 reps). Rest should be kept to a minimum so, if you need to, aim for somewhere between 30 to 45 seconds. You want to complete two to three rounds of this workout in total. Here’s the exercises:

  • Prowler push up from knees 
  • Hand release push up
  • Pseudo place push up
  • Banded saws (do reps on both sides of the body)
  • Banded external rotation (do reps on both sides of the body)

Unsure how to do some of these exercises? Make sure to check out Cavaliere's video above, it's only around six minutes long! Once you become more comfortable with this workout you may want to try something a little more challenging, like this dumbbell floor chest workout. However, if it's another bodyweight one that you're after, then give this 10-minute chest workout a go — a short, yet sweaty session that you can fit in even on the busiest of days.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.