Killer Home Workout to Build a Strong Upper Body

Killer Home Workout to Build Up a Strong Chest

By Nick Lynch

It seems today that bodyweight movements just don’t get the love they deserve. However, many elite athletes  will have entire workout regimens based off of 4 basic bodyweight movements: Push-up, Pull-up, Dip, and Squat. All four of those exercises can be modified into several different versions (adjusting the angle, working across a different plane of direction, adding weight onto body, etc.) activating multiple muscles throughout each movement. 

The push-up is a great way to target the chest, along with dips. These exercises can be performed right in the comfort of your home! All you need is a little creativity to enhance each movement and cater it to the difficulty level you need for results.

First things first- If you can pump out 30 push-ups no problem, then you obviously need more resistance. A great at home solution to this is to take a backpack and fill it with weight (water bottles work fantastic).  The tighter the backpack is to the body, the more balanced it will be. 

As for the dips, find a surface in the house that you can perform a dip on safely, without touching the floor (Stools/chairs work great).  The last piece of “equipment” we will need to perform this routine is either 2 dish towels if you are on a hard surface or 2 paper plates if you are on a carpet. That’s it! (side note: you can also use Valslides or Furniture Movers if you have them)

 Exercises:

  • Incline Push-up (4 sets, 8-15 reps) – Using one of the dip chairs, or another elevated surface in the house, place your feet (toes for higher difficulty) onto the surface and your hands on the floor. Lower yourself down until your chest is about .5-1 inch from the floor, hold 1-2 seconds, and explode back up, SQUEEZING the chest throughout and holding that squeeze at the top of the movement. Continue for 8-15 reps.  Make sure the weight in the pack has you reaching close to failure within the rep range.  Hands should be shoulder-width or slightly outside, and fingers should be pointed slightly out, about 30-45 degrees. 
  • Close Grip Push-up (2 sets, 10-15 reps) – Hands within shoulder-width, this is a triceps dominant push-up, but it will also target the inner chest. Make sure you hold at the bottom and squeeze throughout the movement, holding the squeeze for 1-2 seconds at the peak.
  • Wide-Grip Push-up (2 Sets, 10-15 reps) – Hands wider than shoulder width and fingers pointed out at 90 degrees. Control both the positive and negative movement of this exercise with a 3 count down, 1 count hold, and 3 count up.  
  • Dips(3 sets, 8-12 reps)- 2 Chairs on each side of you for each hand, place bodyweight onto the hands and lower yourself between the chairs until elbow is at 90 degrees. Rise back up and squeeze. The farther you lean forward, the more it will hit the chest. 
  • Chest Flyes (3 sets 6-10 reps) – assume the top of a push-up position (arms extended) with the paper plates or towels under the hands. Slide your hands away from the midline of your body in a controlled motion, lowering your body towards the floor. Squeezing the arms and chest, and keeping the core tight, drive your hands back towards the midline until you reach the starting position. 

Callie Durbrow

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