While decline bench presses are ideal for developing your lower chest, you might not always have access to a gym with an adjustable bench and Olympic bar. Don't despair — you can do a chest workout at home without equipment to develop this sternal region of your pectoralis major.
Although this area can be slow to respond to strength training, you can add lower chest workouts at home anytime to help build your physique and develop a full, buff appearance.
1. Incorporate Push-Up Variations
The sternal region is the part of the pectoralis major muscle primarily targeted by the standard push-up. Doing multiple sets of this classic move is a great lower chest workout at home without any equipment needed. Place something with a little weight on your back to increase the intensity, such as a phone book or a box of detergent.
Once you feel comfortable cranking out standard push-ups, add variety to target the lower chest from different angles:
Incline push-ups: Although slightly easier than a standard push-up, you can use this variation to hone in on your lower pecs. Place your hands on a stair step or coffee table as you press up and down. Choose an unstable surface, like a stability ball, to create the incline and make the exercise harder. Bonus: instability increases your core activation.
Walking push-ups: This move functionally challenges your lower chest to fire to support you as you move. Get into a standard push-up position and do one push-up. Move your right hand a few inches to the right, then your left hand and push up. Move both hands back to their original position and push up. Finally, move your left hand a few inches left, then your right hand and push up. It's four push-ups, but just one rep.
In all versions of the push-up, remember to keep your hips and lower back in a straight line. Piking or sinking your hips means your core is deactivated and diminishes the benefits of the exercise. Aim for two to four sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise for this simple chest workout at home without equipment.
2. Try Dips With a Twist
Dips are often considered a triceps exercise, but when done with a slight forward lean, the sternal portion of the pectoralis major is the primary muscle used. Most people don't have a set of dip bars installed in their home. You might be lucky enough to have a playground nearby with a set, but, if not, use a set of bar stools to cobble together your own lower chest workout at home.
Use stools that have a level seat — not padded — and are 24 to 29 inches off the floor. Make sure the stools are able to support your weight. You could also use two benches, but tucking your body up to a hover from a lower surface will be challenging.
- Place the stools shoulder-distance apart. Place your hands on them and bend your knees to kick up your heels so you hover off of the ground.
- Perform a dip by bending your elbows until you feel a stretch in your chest. Extend your elbows to return to the start. Hinge slightly forward from your hips as you dip to engage your chest.
- Work your way up to four sets of 12 repetitions for this lower chest workout at home.