Why press-ups are the ultimate home workout move

Want to train chest but have no kit? Maddy and Alex from Soul Sisters Fitness explain why press-ups are the answer. 

Let’s face it, you either love home workouts or you don’t. But while going to the gym isn’t quite as straight forward as it was pre-Covid-19, it’d be sensible to try and get on board with exercising in your living room.

That means learning how to train with just your bodyweight, resistance bands or light dumbbells as effectively as possible. These things are obvious when it comes to some forms of training (looking at you, banded squats and banded rows). But when it comes to your chest, it can be a bit more tricky without a bench and a bar?

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We asked Maddy and Alex from Soul Sisters Fitness to clear up the confusion and explain how you can effectively train your chest from home. 

What is the best bodyweight chest exercise?

“You don’t need to complicate things. Doing the basics well, with the right form, is going to get you the best results. So with that in mind, you can’t really get better than a press-up. Make the modifications, whether you need to lower the knees or make it into a box press-up, and then as you get stronger, make it more challenging.”

Do you need weights to train chest?

“To really isolate your pec muscles, you probably do need some weights. But unless you’re working out six days a week, you probably don’t need to do a whole workout focused on isolating the chest. Especially right now, as we’re limited by what we can do, it’s better and more effective to look at the body as a whole. Work the upper body fully by doing press-up variations, burpees and planks, as these will also train the shoulders and core.”

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How many reps should you do to train chest at home?

“Work until failure. The way you’re going to get stronger is through the quality of the movement and the range of the movement, so get that chest all the way to the floor. You can also play around with the time and the tempo: try lowering for three to five seconds, or switch up the hand positioning to do wide grip or diamond push ups.”

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