We’ve all seen that guy on the beach with a sculpted chest and perfectly defined triceps, and many of us have thought the same thing. He must spend hours a day at the gym. But you don’t need massive equipment or a personal trainer to build the triceps and chest muscles you’re seeking. In fact, there are plenty of effective bodyweight exercises you can do at home to attack your chest and triceps. That’s right, chest and triceps day can be done at home. No more excuses.
Why Are These Muscles Important?
Sure, a sculpted chest and triceps looks nice, but these muscles also serve important purposes in your overall health and strength. Strong pectoral, or chest, muscles promote better posture, contribute to overall superior upper body strength, and improve your ability to push things. Even the simplest movement, like pushing yourself off the ground, is much easier if you have more strength in your chest muscles.
The large muscles on the back of your upper arms are your triceps. Strong triceps are an essential part of upper body strength. They stabilize your shoulders, are used in elbow extensions, and work with the biceps to perform countless forearm movements. Triceps are used when performing everyday tasks, and tricep strength becomes increasingly important in staying strong and preventing injury as you age.
At-Home Chest and Tricep Workout
The Traditional Pushup:
The traditional pushup is one of the most classic and effective ways to boost your chest and triceps muscles. Place your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart. Be sure your core is tight and back is in a straight line before lowering your body to the ground until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Raise yourself back up to the initial position.
The pushup truly is one of the best calisthenics exercises for pumping your chest, and there are several variations of pushups you can perform at home to work your pectoral muscles, as well as your triceps, abs, deltoids and more.
- Wide-grip pushup: The wide grip pushup is performed by placing your hands wider than should-width apart. The remainder of the motion is the same as a traditional pushup. Wide grip pushups work your chest and bicep muscles, putting less strain on the triceps.
- Close-grip pushup: The close grip pushup involves placing your elbows against your torso, keeping them glued in this position while lowering and raising yourself back up. This pushup works the triceps more, while taking the strain off the chest muscles.
- Incline/decline pushups: Incline and decline pushups involve either raising your feet off the ground, so you’re in a decline position, or placing your hands on a bench or other item to create an inclined position. The incline pushup works the lower chest and back, while the decline pushup works the front shoulders and upper chest.
Triceps dips are bodyweight exercises that can be performed with two benches, chairs or two other stable, elevated objects in your home. Place your hands on the two objects with your body in between. Your body should only be supported by your arms. Lower yourself down until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle, then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.
Bodyweight Triceps Extensions
Another ideal calisthenics exercise for the triceps is the triceps extension. Perform this exercise by getting into a pushup position but with your arms extended farther in front of your body. Bend your elbows to lower yourself until your elbows hit the ground. Raise yourself back up to the initial position and repeat.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many chest and triceps exercises should I do?
Beginners should perform four total triceps and chest exercises per workout session. More advanced athletes can perform six to seven total triceps and chest exercises per workout. The triceps are smaller muscle groups, so you’ll typically perform more chest workouts than triceps ones.
How often should I work out my chest and triceps?
The chest and tricep muscles should be worked out twice per week. If you work your chest and triceps on Tuesday, hit them again on Friday or Saturday.
How can I build horseshoe triceps without weights or machines?
Carving your triceps into the desired horseshoe shape means working each of the three heads, of the triceps. These are the long, lateral and medial heads. Perform exercises that isolate each of the heads to work them individually but in a balanced way. Stay consistent with your workouts, and you’ll reach the aesthetic you’re seeking.
What if I can’t even do pushups from my knees?
Everybody has to start somewhere, and it’s okay if you can’t perform a standard pushup yet. If you’re not comfortable with traditional pushups or the variation from your knees, you can start by performing pushups against a wall. Stand facing the wall a few feet away from it, and extend your hands to the wall. Bend your arms until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and straighten them again to complete the motion.
Can I do pushups if I have weak wrists?
Certain exercises may put strain on your wrists, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. In fact, improving your wrist strength will eventually alleviate the pain you’re feeling while performing these exercises. First, be sure you feel some of the weight of your pushup in the front of your hands. Too much pressure on the heels of your hands can be causing your wrist pain.
Using props can also adjust your wrist position, so your wrists are in a straighter line (less drastically bent). Placing a rolled towel or foam wedge under your hands, or using portable pushup handles, can alleviate much of the wrist pain felt when performing this exercise.
Get to Work
There’s no better way to achieve the chest and triceps aesthetic you’re seeking than to get to work. Practice several of the exercises above at home twice a week, and you could be the person on the beach everyone is talking about.