Few pieces of exercise equipment supercharge a workout like a chest press machine. Simple, straightforward to use and seriously effective when it comes to gains, this gem of the gym is one of the most muscle-toning, form-honing bits of kit in any sports or fitness centre.
Which makes it even harder when exercising at home — to know there’s a machine that could shave countless push-ups off your work out, but that it’s just out of reach. 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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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