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Home Pectoral Exercises

by
author image Rob Harris
While studying journalism in the Army and at the University of Missouri, Rob Harris developed a lifelong love of physical fitness and nutrition, contributing often to a dairy industry newsletter. He has also worked with and created blogs for several family businesses including a professional dog kennel and a flower shop, where he used his experience as an avid gardener to grow plants for sale.
Home Pectoral Exercises
Woman doing push ups in her living room. Photo Credit gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Building your ideal chest doesn't have to mean hours in the gym. Using your body weight, dumbbells and resistance bands lets you get an effective workout for your pectoralis major and minor muscles at home. Changing between different types of exercise keeps your home workout engaging, and all you need is a small open space. Consult your doctor before starting this or any exercise regimen.

All You Need Is You

Pushups offer a variety of options to work your chest muscles at home. All you need is a flat, stable surface, indoors or out. For the basic pushup, hold your body straight with only your hands and toes touching the floor. Your hands should be even with your shoulders but positioned slightly wider. Lower your body toward the floor without touching it, keeping your body straight from your neck to your ankles, then push back up until your arms are extended. Perform one to two sets of 10 pushups. When you need to make it harder, change your position by making a fist with your hands and doing pushups on our knuckles, or hold a medicine ball -- or other ball that's convenient, such as a soccer or basketball -- with both hands on the floor and use it as the base of your pushup. The instability of the ball makes your chest and core work harder during pushups. You can also try pushups with your feet elevated, such as on a step or couch.

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Pump Some Dumbbells

Dumbbells allow you to add different levels of resistance to your chest workout. To perform a dumbbell fly, lie on your back on the floor or a mat, or rest your back on a stability ball for a larger range of motion. Start with your arms slightly bent, holding the dumbbells above your chest. Open them until your elbows touch the floor, or, if you're on a stability ball, your elbows go slightly lower than your chest. Return to the start position, and perform at least two sets of 10 repetitions. For more intensity, perform the move with only one arm at a time, using a slightly lighter dumbbell -- without the same weight in each hand, your body can become unbalanced if you're on a stability ball, but a lighter weight helps combat this problem.

Bonding With Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are easy to store and use, making them ideal for home use. To work your chest, use bands that come with a hook mechanism. This hook typically connects to a closed door and allows you to position the band at chest height. After connecting the band, stand in front of the door with your back facing it, holding a handle in each hand. Perform chest flyes, which are similar to the dumbbell versions. Keep your elbows slightly bent, then move your arms from slightly behind you to out in front of you, allowing your hands to touch. You can also perform this one-handed. Do one to two sets of 10 repetitions. Lower the band hook and hold your hands next to your shoulders for chest presses. Push out in front of your chest with your hands going up at a slight angle, but only about as high as your chin. Do two sets of 10.

More Cardio Action

Incorporate chest exercises into your cardio workout with moves such as burpees. These cardio moves are more advanced, so work with a personal trainer first to make sure you understand the proper form and technique to help prevent injury, and work your way up to the full number of repetitions gradually. For burpees, stand up, then drop down into a squat with your hands on the floor. Kick your legs out behind you and perform a pushup, then reverse the move. However, don't stand up all the way. Keep your body in a half-squat so you can get back into a pushup faster and keep your chest muscles engaged. Do one set of eight repetitions. During your pushup workout, use explosive movements that propel your hands off the ground. Try to clap at the top of your pushup for more cardio. Perform one set of 10. Again, always consult your doctor for the last word before starting any of these exercises.

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