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The Best Home Exercises for the Chest & Biceps

by 
author image Jody Braverman
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.
The Best Home Exercises for the Chest & Biceps
The Best Home Exercises for the Chest & Biceps Photo Credit: fizkes/iStock/GettyImages

Working out at home is a great option for busy people and those on a budget. No commute to the gym and no costly membership. But for the average person who doesn't have encyclopedic exercise knowledge, coming up with exercises for the chest and biceps is challenging. But there are plenty -- and they require little or no equipment.

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Keep in mind that the best exercise for you depends on your goals and current fitness level. With a little creativity, everyone can get an effective biceps and chest workout at home.

Best Biceps Exercises Without Weights

No equipment? No problem. Just using your own body weight, you can tone, tighten or build mass in your biceps. Just remember that any movement that works your biceps is a "pull" move, meaning you're pulling the weight toward your body.

Table-edge row

This move works your biceps and your back muscles. You'll need a sturdy table or desk.

HOW TO DO IT: Position your body under the table, face up, with your shoulders aligned beneath the edge of the table. Grasp the table edge with both hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Contract your core muscles and pull yourself up toward the table edge, bending your elbows out to the sides. Don't let your hips sag. Increase the difficulty of the exercise by walking your feet out.

Biceps Curls

Calling your creativity. This exercise works well with anything with a handle -- those big water jugs from the grocery, or a some shopping bags loaded with books. Just be sure you've got equal weight on each side.

HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a handle in each hand and stand tall with your arms hanging at either side. Keep your abs contracted as you bend your elbows and bring your hands up to your shoulders. Squeeze your biceps at the top, then lower down with control.

Replace your dumbbells with big jugs of water or bags of books.
Replace your dumbbells with big jugs of water or bags of books. Photo Credit: Creative-Family/iStock/GettyImages

Biceps Exercises With Weights

A pair of dumbbells doesn't cost much, but a whole set does. If you want to shell out the bucks it's good investment, but suspension bands and a chin-up bar work just as well.

Biceps Curls With Suspension Band

This is a challenging exercises that uses your body weight as resistance. You can modify to make it easier or harder.

HOW TO DO IT: Hold a handle in each hand facing the anchor point. Walk your feet out a few feet and lean back so your arms are extended and your body is in one straight diagonal line from the floor. Keep your elbows pointing down toward the floor as you pull your chest up to your hands using your biceps strength. Then lower down with control. Walk your feet out to increase the challenge, walk them in to make it easier.

Chin-Ups

Pull-ups and chin-ups both work the biceps, but chin-ups put a bit more emphasis on the biceps.

HOW TO DO IT: Grab a pull-up bar with an underhanded grip about shoulder-width apart. Using the strength of your biceps, pull your chest up to the bar with control. Slowly lower back down.

If you're not yet able to do a chin-up, you can do something called "negatives."

HOW TO DO IT: Stand on a chair about a foot in front of the bar. Grab the bar with an underhanded grip, pull your chest to the bar, then slowly lower yourself all the way down to the floor. Get back on the chair and repeat.

Read more: A List of Workout Sessions to Do at Home

Best Chest Exercises

You really only need one exercise for your home workout to build size and strength in your chest muscles: push-ups. There are more than 100 push-up variations with and without added weight. Here are three varieties you can try, from easiest to hardest.

Modified Push-Up

This easy version is best for someone who can't yet do more than a couple -- or any -- regular push-ups.

HOW TO DO IT: From hands and knees, walk your hands out until your butt drops in line with your shoulders. Position your hands a little wider than shoulder-width and keep your shoulders aligned over your wrists. With your abs contracted, bend your elbows out and lower your chest down toward the floor. Pause just before touching and press back up to straight arms.

Regular Push-Up

This is your garden variety push-up. Highly effective for intermediate and advanced fitness levels. Try slowing down each rep to make it more challenging.

HOW TO DO IT: Get in push-up position on your toes, with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width. Contract your core and don't allow your hips to sag. Lower your chest down to hover above the ground, then press back up to straight arms. Slightly round your upper back at the top of the move, then repeat.

Clap Push-Up

This is an advanced variation that builds explosive strength and power.

HOW TO DO IT: From push-up position, lower down to hover, then press up powerfully through your arms so that your hands lift up off the ground. Clap your hands together in front of your chest in mid-air, then land with bent arms ready to go into your next rep.

Read more: The 20 Best Body-Weight Exercises

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