Many of us want to fill our t-shirts better. This article explains exercises you can do at home to build your chest and how to begin or enhance your regime. We also discuss why this is important outside of the obvious aesthetic benefit.
Typical scenarios where you may feel the need to build your chest
Everyone has their reasons for personal improvement. Here are some of the top reasons that 16-30’s consider exercise.
- Body confidence
- Health improvement
- A Holiday
- New partner
- New Job
- Meeting the inlaws
Why is it important to build your chest?
The pectoral muscles stretch from your sternum or centre chest into the shoulder on an average adult male, and this can account for 22in of muscle, making the pecks a major-minor muscle group. The benefit of this muscle scale is that exercising the pectoral muscles burns calories which can help with weight loss, maintenance and confidence.
The overlooked benefits of building your chest muscle
- Pecks support you, stabilising the shoulder joint.
- They help with posture.
- They support deeper breathing.
- Better functional fitness for daily activity, opening doors etc.
- They help with body confidence.
Firstly, is it possible to build your chest at home?
Yes, but there are some things to remember when you start. The pecks are notoriously difficult to build, according to Mens Health.
“Anyway, the chest – which mainly consists of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor – is a notoriously difficult muscle to build.”
But if you can do a press-up, you can build your chest. First, however, there are essential things to remember when you begin.
Remember these tips
1 – Warm up. When you begin to exercise, make a warm-up part of your session goals.
2 – Body weight. A great asset when building your chest, and you can use it to increase the difficulty levels of your exercise and resistance over time.
3 – Ease in. Refrain from knocking out 40 press-ups on day 1. It is better to ease into this to avoid overworking your pecks and hurting yourself.
4 – Other muscles. Exercising back muscles and shoulders as part of your exercise will also help growth and calorie burn. However, do not neglect other seemingly unrelated exercises to isolate your chest solely.
5 – Stretch. After exercise, stretch the muscle fibres fully and carefully before they cool down. This will help blood flow and recovery and can limit soreness.
6 – Drink. Water during and after your exercise will help keep your muscles hydrated, which can also reduce soreness after a workout.
7 – Keep going. It is easy to lose heart if you see little to no change. However, typically you will see some change, and then this will slow.
Suggested chest exercises you can do at home.
Regular press-up – Starting with a press-up is an obvious place to start. If you are not someone that uses their upper body too often, then we’d recommend starting your press-ups on your knees. Get a feel for the exercise and then increase as you feel comfortable.
Wide press-up – The pecks are a large muscle, so consider a wide push-up to use different areas of the muscle. Get a feel for the exercise and then increase as you feel comfortable.
Press up, reach through – As described, you press up and then reach through. This will turn the shoulder and help build this muscle – Be careful. It would help if you judged when to do this and the appropriate session. Get a feel for the exercise and then increase as you feel comfortable.
Bear Crawls – A particularly challenging exercise that places the body into a crawl position and keeps the shoulders, chest and quads under tension to burn calories. Get a feel for the exercise and then increase as you feel comfortable.
Staggered stance push-up – From the push-up position, you step out to the left after a
press-up and then, before pressing up again. Repeat to the right side and then stop once you have completed your preferred number on each side. Get a feel for the exercise and then increase as you feel comfortable.
Mountain climbers or planks – While you are performing these other beneficial exercises, you are holding your body steady with your shoulders and chest. Get a feel for the exercise and then increase as you feel comfortable.
Inverted press-ups – Go to the press-up position to complete these, then raise your bottom to create a triangle. You can raise your legs on a sofa; you are looking to place your body weight over the top of your chest. This exercise uses the shoulders and top half of the chest. The upper chest will give one of the biggest visual changes, as it is an area where change can be seen.
These exercises are all great ways to use your own body weight as resistance, and then you can use repetition to tone and build muscle. Once you have achieved change, then natural progression can be to equipment-based exercises where you can then move to isolate key areas using resistance equipment like dumbbells, barbells, weight benches and Power racks from companies like Mirafit. These tools help you to get a solid all-over fitness and then sculpt your muscles to give them shape.
If you use the exercises we suggested above, you will see a change. Judge your own suitability and fitness level. Easing into the exercise regimes will provide the foundation that you need to advance your training and move on to equipment. Remember to use a greater range of movement/exercise where possible, as this will build more mass and fibres, and you will fill that t-shirt quicker.
If you want to purchase equipment, then a kettlebell can be a cost-efficient apparatus for chest and all-over fitness workouts. They are easier to store and come in various sizes.