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Many people believe that achieving a well-defined, built chest isn’t possible without a bench. The bench press is without a doubt one of the best exercises for building your chest, but the above-mentioned statement could not be further from the truth.
If you want to build your chest muscles, all that matters is the tension you put on your muscles and the progressive overload on the chest. That’s entirely possible even without a bench. How?
Here’s the best chest workout without a bench that will help you get equal results that you would achieve even with a bench. Let’s get those massive pecs, then!
Exercise 1: Chest Exercises With the TRX Suspension Trainer
One of the best ways you can replace the bench is with the TRX suspension trainer. It is a low-cost type of equipment that can massively boost your options when it comes to chest workouts.
The best thing about the TRX is that you can take it with you anywhere you go and perform workouts on the go.
Another thing is it allows you to train different parts of your body, including your chest. And for training your chest with the TRX, you simply have to use your imagination.
Perhaps one of the best exercises for your chest with the TRX suspension trainer is the chest flyes. They work similarly to the bench chest flies, only that you’re using your own weight to complete the movement. Here is what it looks like:
At first, you can start the movement with your body at a bigger angle and then start lowering the angle once you’re progressing. The lower you get, the more challenging the exercise can be.
The TRX allows you to do different exercises for your chest, too. You can do push-ups with your legs wrapped into the TRX, or you can do any exercise you see fit – as long as your body can handle it!
Check out some ideas on how to perform chest workouts with the TRX in this video:
Exercise 2: Chest Exercises with Dumbbells
Another great way to do chest workouts without a bench is to use dumbbells. These are part of a normal chest routine anyway for many people, as they can help you isolate your chest, perhaps even better than the bench press.
1. Dumbbell Flyes on the Floor
When we think about chest exercises with dumbbells, we normally think of dumbbell flyes. These are normally performed on a bench.
However, if you have an injured or compromised shoulder, it’s perhaps even better to do them on the floor. Check out this video on how to do them without a bench and for a more detailed explanation of why they are beneficial.
2. Dumbbell Floor Presses
Normally, this exercise is called the bench press, as they are performed on the bench. However, if you have dumbbells that have enough weight to allow you to do the movement, you can do them on the floor, too.
Again, these are better than the normal bench presses for people who have had shoulder injuries before. That’s because you don’t stretch your arms below your body during the movement, but they are stopped by the floor, so there is an element of safety with this movement.
3. Push-Ups into Rows
You can use your dumbbells to perform push-ups, too. You do that by leaning onto the dumbbells during the movement, which can be more challenging than the normal push-ups.
To make it even more efficient, you can perform a row at the top of the movement. This adds another muscle-building element to the movement, as it will work your entire upper body. Here’s how it’s done:
Exercise 3: Push-Ups
The push-up is perhaps the best alternative to the bench press. The main difference is that it focuses almost your entire upper body – including your arms and shoulders, while the bench press isolates the chest more.
Many people say push-ups are for beginners who want to build strength up for the bench press. But this is simply not true.
There are many variations of push-ups, and simply changing the position of your arms or legs can make the movement more challenging. Plus, you can add some weight with a weight vest once you’ve advanced enough.
Here are some key variations of push-ups you can do:
- Regular push-ups – once you do at least 20 push-ups in a row comfortably, consider adding a weight vest to the movement to progress.
- Incline push-ups – these will focus the upper portion of your chest more, including your shoulders to an extent. To do them, place your feet onto an elevated platform (chair, wall, etc.) and perform the push-ups.
- Decline push-ups – this is the opposite of the incline push-ups. You have to place your hands on an elevated platform while the legs stay on the ground. These are slightly easier, but they will target your lower chest more.
- Push-ups with claps – once you’re comfortable with regular push-ups, you can do push-ups with claps. These will build a more explosive chest.
- Pike push-ups – this exercise is great for targeting your chest as well as your shoulders.
There are many other types of push-ups you can do to keep things more interesting and build your chest. Here’s a quick video showing 20 of the variations.
Exercise 4: With the Yoga Ball
You can also do most of the movements we’ve mentioned above with the yoga ball. This will help you stabilize your core but also your chest.
The yoga ball can make your push-ups even more challenging as you’ll need to use your abs for more stability. Or, you can do chest dumbbell flyes on the ball instead of on the bench, which will force you to use your abs, too.
Here are some suggestions as to what you can do with the yoga ball.
You don’t necessarily need a bench to build an impressive chest. Instead, you need to use your imagination and perform different types of workouts with what you have at your disposal.
For some, their own body weight will be enough. Others will need dumbbells, weight vests, and the TRX trainer to supplement the movements.