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Chest workout for beginners

Chest workouts
(Image credit: Unknown)

These moves are perfect if you’re looking to get a bigger chest, destroy your moobs or add some extra definition to your pecs. Rather than just targeting your chest, each exercise also works other muscle groups so you won’t become oddly top-heavy even if you didn’t do any other exercises. Not that we recommend that.

Either do the moves back to back as a workout (with two minutes’ rest between moves) once or twice a week, or incorporate the moves into routines you already do to put a bit more emphasis on your chest. We’ve suggested reps and sets and rest periods that should bring you almost to the point of failure on the final set of each move. If you find it too easy or hard, increase or decrease your reps, sets and rests accordingly. Where weights are involved go light at first and ensure you can complete the first set comfortably, if you struggle at all then go lighter. It’s more important to complete the workout safely than it is to impress everyone else in the gym (who probably won’t be impressed anyway, and definitely won’t be impressed if they have to come rescue you


Sets: 5 Reps: 15 Rest: 90sec

Start with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from head to heels. Lower yourself towards the floor until your elbows reach 90˚. Press back up to return to the start. 

Bench press

Sets: 5 Reps: 8 Rest: 90sec 

Lie on the bench with your feet on the floor directly underneath your knees. Hold the bar with an overhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower the bar towards your chest, taking your elbows out to 90˚, until the bar is almost touching the middle of your chest or is just above your nipples. Drive your feet hard into the floor and push the bar strongly back to the start.

Struggling with your bench-press? Here are 3 tips on how to improve it. 

Spider-Man press-up

Sets: 5 Reps: 10 each side Rest: 90sec

Get into a press-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body straight from head to heels. Lower your chest towards the ground and bring one knee up towards your chest. Once your elbows reach 90˚ press back up and straighten your leg to return to the start. On the next rep, bring the other knee up.          

Dumbbell flye 

Sets: 5 Reps: 8 Rest: 90sec

Lie on a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand directly above your chest with your palms facing each other. Make sure your head and upper back are supported on the bench and your feet are flat on the floor. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the weights out to the sides as far as is comfortable. Use your chest to reverse the move back to the start.

Side plank

Reps: 1 each side

Lie on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder. Raise yourself so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold the position as long as you can. When your hips sag, the rep ends. 

Once you've conqured this move on to our guide on how to get a big chest. 

Max Anderton
Max Anderton

Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.