Do you want to get a broad upper chest without going to the gym? Well, it seems to be impossible since most of the trainers suggest to do incline exercises on the bench such as bench press or chest flyes. Without doubt these are great moves. However, there are excellent chest exercises without weights that can substitute them which will give you the same results, in this case, a huge upper chest which is the sign of a perfect physique.
Here I’m going to show you the most beneficial moves and help you to create your upper chest workout at home.
What are the best upper chest bodyweight exercises?
As I mentioned above, in the gym we mainly do exercises on the incline bench to focus on the upper part of the chest. The best weightlifting exercises are the barbell and dumbbell bench press for this purpose.
The best bodyweight move for developing the size and the strength of your pecs is the push-up and its variations. That we usually do in a horizontal position, this way we work the entire chest but mainly the middle part of it.
How can you target the upper chest if you do push-ups?
By getting into a position, as if we were doing incline presses.
Hence, we perform decline push-ups.
This way more resistance is generated at the upper part of the chest area as if it was done in a flat position.
You can quickly get into that position by placing your feet on something high, for example on a chair or a box.
The decline push-up is an excellent compound exercise since it works not only your upper chest but also your triceps, shoulders and even your core since you have to stabilize your body.
Keep in mind, that the higher you put your feet, the more your shoulders work. So, you have to test different levels to find a level when you feel the most engagement in your upper chest.
Decline push-ups guide
You should perform this exercise as if you were doing standard push-ups. So, go down until your chest almost touches the floor and breathe in. When you push yourself up, squeeze your pecs and breath out. When you reach the starting position, squeeze your chest muscles for a moment and then start again.
While completing the moves, keep your torso straight. Don’t lift your hips up or let them down. So, keep your core tight.
Tips for beginners
If you are a total beginner, and you can perform at least 15 regular push-ups correctly, you can start this exercise. Obviously, it is harder to do so that you can do fewer reps. But, do not care about that, just focus on the correct form. In the beginning, you may use lower degrees decline level, and as you develop, you can put your feet on a higher object.
Tips for trainees at better strength level (variations)
If you are already strong and you can simply perform 20 or more decline push-ups, you can make this exercise harder by adding extra resistance (using weight) or try the variations of it. This way you can develop your upper chest size and strength even better.
The most comfortable way to have weighted bodyweight exercises is to use a weight vest. It does not disturb you while you perform the movements, plus you can quickly alter the amount of load for your needs. You will see that just by adding a few pounds extra to your decline press-ups, they will be much harder to perform.
If you do not have a weight vest yet, you can ask your kids to sit on your back as I do. Another alternative is to use heavy chains that you put behind your neck.
Also, you can variate your decline push up. For example, you can:
- put medicine balls under your hand;
- do it with single arm (that is really hard);
- perform clap push-ups in decline position to boost explosive power and muscle growth. (Be careful! You can fall on your face. And that hurts. I know!);
- lift one of your legs up so it will be much harder to keep your balance;
- change your hand distance making it narrower or wider. (e.g., diamond push ups);
- use push up bars to go deeper that leads to longer range of motion;
- instead of a box or chair use a stability ball;
I use these techniques to make my upper chest workout at home even tougher and, I have been able to build an upper body as if I have been lifting weights.
Other upper chest exercises at home
And finally, let me show you an exercise that is not decline, but you can do it in a horizontal position. And it works well. When you perform this bodyweight chest exercise variation, you should narrow the distance between your elbows. If you are a beginner, do this exercise on your knees. If you are at an advanced level, complete the move without your knees touching the ground.
What if you do not like this bodyweight exercises or still want to lift weights?
Well, if you have just a little space, you can get an adjustable weight bench and a pair of adjustable dumbbells so you can have incline dumbbell bench press. And by combining the bodyweight and free weight chest workouts, you can have an excellent upper chest training at home.
Example Upper Chest Workout at Home
While we try to focus on the development of upper part of the chest muscles, it is impossible to work just them without engaging the others.
Anyway, there is no such thing as “upper chest” since it is just the upper part of the pectoralis mayor which is one big muscle. But, with decline moves, we can add extra load to them.
Here is sample routine for beginners. (Do it 1-2× week)
Do 3-4 sets from the following (in circuit if you want)
- Usual push-ups: 10 to 15 reps
- Decline push up: 8-10 reps
- Bench dips (use a chair): 10 – 15
This home chest workout routine will work your entire upper body but gives an extra boost to your upper pecs.
If you are a more advanced trainee, do more reps, sets and add variations and weighted exercises.
To sum up
There is no need to go the gym for chest development since there are powerful bodyweight exercises you can do at home. Just check out those calisthenics and street workout guys, they do not use weights, but they have a perfect upper body.