With 2021's first quarter gone and community lockdown still in place, have you made enough progress with your fitness goals?
You might think that to have a great workout, you need a gym, or an equipment. Guess what? You don’t!
While you might think that strength training requires heavy weights to see and get results, the reality is that just by using your bodyweight, you can create enough resistance to burn fat and at the same time, build muscle. To achieve this, you’ll need a good workout plan and keep pushing through the pain for a pump that'll make every rep worth it. Don't you ever belittle the benefits of push-ups, and what their variations can do!
In this article, I’ll focus on four equipment-free chest workouts you can do at home, its health benefits, and how to get the most out of them whether you're a beginner or an expert.
Performing chest stretches on a daily basis will greatly benefit your workout routine. The chest is a major muscle group that is composed of 2 muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor, or better known as “pecs”. Doing stretches also reduces the risk of muscle strain or injury during your workout routines, as your muscles will be more pliable and supple, and ready to take the load. Another thing is stretching reduces soreness of tight muscles as well as better circulation to help you recover from a workout. This is why it is important to not skip your warm-up and cool-down chest stretches, or any other muscle stretches for that matter.
Importance of Chest Muscles
As I have mentioned earlier, the chest is composed of 2 major muscles. The pectoralis major is the larger of the two muscles, and extends across the upper chest, attaching to the shoulder and the breastbone and has a fan-like appearance. The pectoralis minor on the other hand is a small, thin and triangular muscle that sits just below the pectoralis major.
The chest muscles are responsible for moving the arms across the body and up and down, as well as other movements like lifting, squeezing, holding, and pushing.
Another benefit is it plays a big role in maintaining a good posture. In addition to your back and shoulder muscles, your pecs help to stabilize the shoulder joint.
Chest Workouts at Home
If you’re working out for the first time in a while, or are new to home chest workouts, then it might be that classic push-ups are a little tricky to start off with. If this is the case, then try doing knee push-ups to make things a little easier.
Instead of being on your toes for your push up, you can do it on your knees. It’s important to keep your back and legs straight all the way down to your knees. Once these start to get a little too easy, then you can try doing a full one.
The standard push-ups and all its variations is one of the best exercises you can do to improve the strength of your chest.
Lie face down flat on the floor, have your hands in line with your shoulders and extend your arms so they’re straight. Get up on your toes, keeping a straight line all the way from your heels to your neck. You have to make sure you don’t curve your back as this could potentially put you at risk of hurting yourself.
To do a single push up, bend your elbows and get your chest as close to the floor as possible. Make sure to keep your back and legs in a straight line the whole time, or you won’t get the benefits. Do 3 sets of 10 reps, with a 30 second break in between sets. Once this starts to get a little easier, start increasing the number of reps in each set. If you want to challenge yourself more, add 2 more reps before finishing every set.
It’s important you complete each rep in a slow, controlled manner with proper form to get the most out of each push up. Don’t rush through them as this will give you the tendency to lose your form that might result in an injury.
If you find a standard push-up too challenging at first, then you can start with an incline push-up. The steeper the incline, the less body weight you will need to use to push. With this in mind, get in a standard push up position, but instead of having your hands on the floor, place them on a chair seat or a sofa arm. Everything else about the technique and posture remains the same. This exercise is also good to target your lower chest.
This push-up variation is one of the best chest workouts that will help you target your pectoralis major and deltoid muscles specifically. It will also add more of your body weight to the exercise than a standard push-up, hence, making it harder.
As before, keep your legs and back straight, with your hands on the floor and your feet raised on a table, a bench, or even your sofa.
Video Credits: Coach Alexis Tolentino
Improving cardiovascular health is one of the benefits of push-ups. This is one of the best exercises for building muscle and there are many different ways to do it. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, you should try incorporating some of these push-up techniques into your workout to receive their health benefits.
The push-up variations also work on the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. When done with proper form, they can also strengthen the lower back and core by engaging the abdominal muscles.
Push-ups are a fast and effective exercise for building strength. They can be done from virtually anywhere and don’t require any equipment. Doing it every day can be effective if you’re looking for a consistent exercise routine to follow. You will likely notice gains in upper body strength if you do it regularly.
Things to Remember
To achieve that muscle gain is really exciting. However, don’t forget to stretch before and after working out. Quality reps are better than quantity! Focus on your form first and everything will follow. Most importantly, give yourself a pat on the back for showing up.