chest exercises

How to build a stronger chest from home, according to London Fitness Guy

Missing the gym still? Allow James Stirling, AKA @london_fitness_guy, to teach you a series of home pectoral exercises better than the chest press

What piece of kit do you miss most about the outside world? Is it your favourite coffee shop’s barista-wrangled espresso machine? The industrial 7-in-1 copier that made office-based admin a breeze? Or, like us, is it the chest press at the gym?

If there’s one area we haven’t been able to maintain muscle during lockdown, it’s our chest. Thankfully, our coach-in-chief is on hand to help. James Stirling, AKA Instagram’s @london_fitness_guy, is here to get your pecs pumped up once again — with five easy exercises you can do from home.

“We all know about the conventional push-up,” Stirling tells us, “but building a strong chest from home requires a little more creativity to work your pectorals from a variety of angles. Your bodyweight will act as your resistance, and you’ll be surprised how effective it can be!

“When it comes to building muscles this way,” he adds, “TUT — or ‘time under tension’ — is your best friend. So think slow on the lowering phase, and explosive on the push back up. Here are some push exercises to try…”


Start off with decline push-ups

decline push up

Begin with your feet elevated on a chair, bench or step and get into the push-up position. Your body should be angled slightly downward with your feet higher. Slowly lower your chest to the floor, pause for a moment and then push back up to the start position.

Next, try a staggered push-up

staggered push up

This is a tough chest exercise! Stagger your hand positioning so one is just outside your chest, and the other is slightly behind your chest — closer to the mid-torso. Maintain this hand placement, while you lower down and then push back up. Complete a set, and then alternate your hands.

Move into an isometric chest press hold

isometric chest press hold

In simpler terms, this exercise is just a hold. Start off in a normal push-up position and slowly lower your chest as if you were doing a regular push-up. But pause when you’re three-quarters of the way to the floor and hold this position for 30 seconds. Feel the shake!

Then try a set of wide-to-narrow push-ups

wide-to-narrow push-ups

Start this one with your hands in a wide push-up position and perform one rep. Then, bring your hands closer together — parallel to the shoulder — and perform a narrow chest press-up. Repeat for the required reps or until failure.

Finally, have a go at some medicine ball push-ups

medicine ball push-ups

Your last home chest exercise involves a medicine ball. But, if you don’t have one, a basketball or football with do the job, too! Start with your hands on the ball and hold your push-up position. Lower your chest to the ball and then push back up. To force chest engagement, squeeze the ball.

Want more from London Fitness Guy? Allow our resident coach to teach you 5 brand new exercises…

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