Forget weights – you only need this four-move bodyweight workout to supersize your chest at home

No dumbbells or barbells needed, pump up your pecs using just your bodyweight

A topless man with a rippling six-pack
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dumbbells and barbells are often the gold standard when it comes to working our chest muscles, but you don’t need heavy iron (or the gym in fact) to add dimension to your chest. With the right exercises, you can pump up your pecs straight from home, gaining size and strength.

This workout focuses around variations of the humble push up which is arguably the best bodyweight exercise for your chest, as different hand placements will hit it from different angles. Science also supports its muscle-building abilities. A study in the Journal of Exercise Science found that the push up can produce similar hypertrophy and strength gains to the bench press when performed at similar intensitys (40% one rep max).

For this workout, aim for anywhere between six to 30 reps for each exercise, but make sure you have three to two reps left in the tank (you don't want to go to failure). Rest between 10 to 30 seconds between each exercise then, once you've completed one round, rest for 90 seconds before repeating the workout two more times. Here are your exercises:

  • Wide grip push up (hands wider than shoulder width)
  • Close grip push up (hands closer than shoulder width)
  • Decline push up (elevate your feet on the sofa or stair steps)
  • Offset push up (place one hand on a couple of books)

If you find you're able to pump out 30 push ups easily, one way you can make these more challenging is by looping a large resistance band over your back for some added resistance. Alternatively, you could also wear a weight vest or stuff some books into a backpack and wear that. It's key that once the exercise becomes too easy you look for new ways to make it more challenging so that you continue to overload the muscles, which will encourage growth.

Fancy more workouts like this one? Try this 15-minute bodyweight workout that not only hits your chest muscles but your arms and shoulders too. If you want to completely move away from push ups though, here are five alternative exercises you can do instead.

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.