Push-ups are the classic bodyweight chest exercise, but they can be a lot harder than you’d expect! A lot of people just aren’t up to the challenge of doing full sets of proper push-ups yet, which can lead to a lot of discouragement that they aren’t going to get fit. Don’t sweat it! There are lots of awesome chest exercises you can do in place of push-ups. Here are some of our personal favorites:
Don’t worry if you can’t do the push-ups on your hands yet! Just get on your knees, tighten your core, and keep your head straight and still as you push. You’ll get stronger with time, and you can start getting your body accustomed to the movement now.
Wall Push-Ups are even easier, as there is far less bodyweight resting on your arms. Stand 2-4 feet away from the wall, and lean forward until your palms are resting flat on the wall. Bend your arms to bring your face closer to the wall, then push away. Easy and great to do to help build chest, triceps, and shoulder strength.
Dumbbell Chest Presses
This movement is great to do if you’ve got a weight bench and some dumbbells at home. Lie on your back on the bench, and hold the weights with your arms fully extended over your chest. Bring the weights down to your shoulders with your elbows flared out, then push back up to extend your arms fully. Do 3-6 sets of 10 reps to feel the burn!
The Fly is a classic chest exercise that will do an amazing job of shredding your chest muscles, particularly the muscles on the outside of your chest (near your arms). Hold two dumbbells with your arms extended above your chest, palms facing each other. Bend your elbows slightly as you bring the weights out to your side until they’re almost at the level of your chest. You should feel a beautiful burn in your muscles as you push the weights back up to their original position. Keep this movement slow and controlled to really focus on those chest muscles.
If you’ve got a cable machine at your gym (or at home), use it to help you get a killer chest workout. Grab the handles and stand with your back facing the cable machine, your hands just beside your chest. One arm at a time, “punch” your hands straight forward, extending your arms until they are almost perfectly straight before bringing the handle back to its original position. A few set of these punches will give you a wonderful workout for your chest muscles.
Standing Cable Press
Another great movement to do if you’ve got a cable machine! Again, stand with your back to the machine, handles gripped tightly and your hands beside your chest. Try to keep your movements limited to your arms as you press your hands forward them together right in front of your chest (this last movement works the center of your chest muscles). Hold for a 1-count before bringing your hands back to their original position. Repeat as desired.
Alternating Chest Press
This is a great way to kick the intensity of your dumbbell chest presses up a notch. Instead of pressing them together, alternate them by keeping one dumbbell steady above your head while pressing the other to your chest. It will force your muscles to engage to move one while supporting the other, thereby making for a more effective workout. This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of weight to work with!