16 Awesome Chest Exercises You Can Do Without Bench

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Chest exercises without bench

Photo Credits- Hand photo created by serhii_bobyk – www.freepik.com

When it comes to training your chest, a bench seems to be one of the important pieces of equipment to have in the gym. But what if you can train your chest without a bench?

Here, in this article, you will find some amazing chest exercises which target each part of your pectoralis muscles without any need for a bench. Also, in the end, you will find some advanced exercises which will be very effective for those who want to try something different. So let’s begin with the exercises!

Upper Chest Exercises

1. Incline Swiss Ball Dumbbell Press

If you don’t have access to a bench, then this is a great way to train your chest. You just need a swiss ball for this exercise.

How to do

1. Sit on a swiss ball while holding both dumbbells on each hand.

2. Slide your body forward such that your hips are slightly above the floor and keep the dumbbells close to the shoulders.

3. While keeping your elbows at about 60° angle, start pushing the dumbbells up and extend your elbows at the top.

4. Slowly bring the weights back to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

As you are performing this exercise on a swiss ball, your core muscles will be engaged a lot which makes it a more functional movement.

2. Landmine Chest Press

This is a functional way of training your chest. Here, you are in an athletic position that will engage your core and other stabilizer muscles. It’s a good way to improve your pushing strength, particularly for athletes.

How to do

1. Place one end of the bar at the corner of the wall and stand straight with slightly leaning forward.

2. Hold the bar from both hands and then pull it up towards the level of your chest and this will be your starting position.

3. With your back straight and abs tight, start pushing the bar up and extend your elbows at the top. Your body should not come forward.

4. Slowly bring the bar back towards the starting position and then repeat the movement.

Make sure that you are squeezing your upper chest while pushing the barbell up. Also, don’t bend your lower back too much and keep your core tight during the entire movement.

3. Front Raises for Chest

Front raises are a great way to isolate your upper chest and here, we are not talking about the front raises for shoulders. This is a different exercise that is specifically used to train your chest.

How to do

1. Grab two pair of dumbbells and stand straight with both hands facing forward.

2. While maintaining a supinated grip, start moving a hand up towards the midline of your body.

3. Pause at the top when your hands are at about shoulder height and squeeze your upper chest at the top.

4. Slowly return to the starting position and do the same movement from the other hand.

You will strongly feel your upper pecs getting pumped while performing this workout. Make sure to concentrate on your chest and keep your palm facing to keep the tension on the chest.

4. Decline Push ups

This is a great exercise for your upper chest. Many of us already have a good lower and mid-chest but we generally have an underdeveloped upper chest. So I highly recommend you to train these muscles.

How to do

1. Place your toes on a table, chair, or bench. The height of the table should not be too much. Your hands should be placed on the floor at slightly wider than the shoulder width.

2. By keeping your legs and arms straight, take your body down. Your elbows should be at a 45° angle and your core should be tight.

3. Pause at the bottom when your chest is just above the floor and then push yourself up back to the starting position

Always breathe in as you go down and breathe out on the way up during every push-up exercise you do. You don’t have to hold your breath ( Valsalva maneuver )

Mid Chest Exercises

5. Barbell Floor Press

This is a best alternative exercise for bench press. Here, you just need to lay down on a flat surface and that’s it, you don’t need any bench here. It is a great exercise to build the strength of your upper body.

How to do

1. Lay down on a flat surface near the squat rack where it is easier to place the weights after the exercise.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your upper chest and your legs should be lying straight down.This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down. Your elbow should be at about 45° angle.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up. Remember not to overarch your lower back.

You dont have to touch your chest during this exercise as the floor will not allow you to bring the weights down to the bottom. This will put less stress on your shoulders which will be beneficial for those who have shoulder pain or are uncomfortable in performing the regular bench press.

Apart from that, many powerlifters also perform this exercise during the off-season as a variation to bench press to improve their PR numbers.

6. Swiss Ball Dumbbell Press

Another awesome exercise for your chest which you can do without a bench. The swiss ball is a great modality that can be used in many ways to perform different exercises and one of them is the dumbbell press.

How to do

1. Sit on a swiss ball while holding both dumbbells on each hand.

2. Roll your body down and keep your hips up such that your body is parallel to the floor.

3. Keep the dumbbells in line with your chest and start pushing the weights up. Your elbow should be slightly in as you move up.

4. Slowly bring the dumbbells back to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

7. Push- Ups

Push-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises to strengthen your upper body which not only trains your chest but also hits your arms, shoulder, and back. You don’t require any equipment here so you can easily do this exercise anywhere you want!

How to do

1. Get down on the floor and place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Your toes should be in contact with the floor

2. Straighten your arms and legs. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders.

3. Lower your body down until your chest is close to the floor. Don’t bend or round your lower back.

4. Pause at the bottom and then push the body up back to the starting position.

Beginners can place their knees on the floor and perform the same movement. Make sure that your core is tight and your back should be straight with only a slight natural bend in the lower.

8. Landmine Chest Press

This is another easy way of doing a floor press. Here you can target each side of your chest separately. So the people who have uneven chest or if their one chest is weaker than the other, then definitely this exercise will help you to remove such imbalances.

How to do

1. Place one end of the barbell at the corner of the wall or attach it to a machine.

2. Now lay down on the floor next to the barbell such that the other end of the bar is close to the chest.

3. Hold the barbell and lift it while keeping your elbows in contact with the ground and this will be your starting position.

4. From there, press the barbell up and extend your elbows at the top. Your elbow should be at about 60° angle.

5. Slowly return back to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

When you are done with the exercise, you should use your other hand to place the barbell on the floor rather than forcefully dropping it down. You should repeat the same set on the other side to complete one full set.

9. Dumbbell Floor Fly

Another way to use a floor to train your pectoral muscles. Here, you can do a fly exercise which is a great fly variation you can think of..!

How to do

1. Lay down on the floor with your legs either straight or both feet on the floor.

2. Hold the dumbbells and keep your elbows on the ground and at about 90° angle. This will be your starting position

3. Now start moving your hands up while keeping the tension on the chest and then pause at the top when both dumbbells are about to meet.

4. Gradually return to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

Flys done on the floor will keep your shoulder in a safe position as there is the support you get from the ground at the bottom part of the movement. Whereas bench flys are not as safe as floor fly.

Lower Chest Exercises

10. Incline Pushups on Barbell

This is a good way to use a barbell for some amazing push-up movements. This is a good exercise for your lower chest especially for beginners.

How to do

1. Place a barbell on a squat rack and adjust the height according to your level. Beginners should place it slightly up.

2. Grab the barbell by keeping your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Your back and knees should be straight.

3. Start moving your body down while keeping your elbows at a 45° angle and puase when your chest is just above the bar.

4. From there, push your body up by squeezing your chest and extend your elbows at the top. Your core and lower back should be stable.

5. Then repeat the same movement and do around 10-12 reps depending upon your strength.

Make sure that you are not bending your lower back too much as this can make the exercise less effective. Also, keep your neck straight and abs tight while performing this movement

11. Swiss Ball Push-Ups

This is a little harder exercise for your chest. You will require great balance and stability while doing this move which will make it more challenging for beginners.

How to do

1. Place your hands on a stability ball and slowly bring your feet back and keep it straight.. Hands should as further as the ball allows.

2. Your chest should be in line with your hands. It should not be away from the ball.

3. With your core and hips tight, start bringing your body down until your chest almost touches the ball.

4. Push back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

This exercise is an advanced exercise so beginners or intermediates should stick with the regular push-ups. Once you master the pushup, then slowly and gradually add this to your workout program.

12. Dips

This is a great bodyweight strength exercise for your chest. Many people perform this exercise to build the size and thickness of their chest without any need for the bench.

How to do

1. Place both hands on the bar while holding it tight and then lift your body balancing it in the air.

2. Now start lowering your body by slightly keeping your elbows out and reach at the bottom position where your elbows are at a 90° angle.

3. From there, start pushing the body up by squeezing your chest muscles and extend your elbows at the top.

If you are a beginner, then you can do some other alternative exercises for dips as there are many other options available to you.

13. Cable Crossovers

This will help you to give that proper shape to your lower chest. You can do this after heavy compound exercises and pressing movements.

How to do

1. Attach both pulleys on top of the cable tower. Hold the cables and stand in between the machine with one leg forward.

2. Roll your shoulders back and lift your chest. Don’t bend too much and maintain the upright position.

3. While maintaining this position, move your arms forward and take them across each other. Both hands should look like a cross. This will engage your chest more.

4. Return to the starting position slow and steadily and then repeat the movement.

You should aim for more reps in these fly exercises as it is mainly done for shaping the muscle rather than using it to build strength. So aim for at least 12 reps on this exercise.

Advanced Exercises for Chest (without bench)

14. Landmine Bottom-up Chest Press

This is an advanced version of the landmine press. You can try this exercise if you already have some experience lifting heavyweights. I will not recommend this exercise for beginners because this requires a lot of balancing and focus.

How to do

1. Place one end of the barbell at the corner of the wall or you can also attach it to a machine.

2. Put one plate inside the barbell and lay down on the side of the bar.

3. Pick the barbell up by placing one hand under the plate the other hand on bar. Your body should be under the barbell and the plate should be parallel to the shoulder.

4. Now slowly bring your hands down into a pressing position and then push the weights up. Your other hand should be just below the barbell for safety.

If you are good at the bench press and other unilateral pushing exercises then you could be able to do this. But don’t try this if you are a beginner or even at an intermediate level.

15. One-hand Push Up

This is a difficult version of a push-up as you use only one hand to press your body up. Try this one out if you are already good at a regular pushup.

How to do

1. Stand in a push-up position with both feet placed wide away from each other.

2. Now keep your one palm on the floor and the other hand on your upper thigh. This wil be your starting position.

3. Bring your body down while keeping your core tight and back straight. Your elbow should be pointed slightly out.

4. Stop at the bottom when your chest is just above the ground and then push yourself up with the help of your hands and return to the starting position.

You will have to use your thighs, abs, and lower back to help your lift yourself up. This requires a lot of strength and balance therefore its a great exercise for advanced guys.

16. Alternating Barbell Floor Press

This is another difficult exercise that should only be done by an elite athlete or an individual with years of experience in lifting heavyweights here, you will require lots of core strength and balance which makes it perfect for athletes who want to increase their overall strength.

How to do

1 Lay down on a flat surface near the squat rack where it is easier to place the weights after the exercise.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width and bring it up while keeping both the legs up as shown in the above video.

3. Now slowly bring one side of the barbell down towards the mid part of the chest and keep the other hand up.

4. Now push the barbell up with your hands and then repeat the same movement from the other hand.

This is a very advanced exercise that requires a lot of ability and balance apart from strength. So beginners should not try this exercise.

There are many other barbell exercises you can do apart from these to train your chest

Final Words

So these were some best chest exercises you can do without a bench. It’s very important to vary your workouts by adding different exercises or changing the way you perform the movement. If you have been doing the same bench press exercises for years, then it’s better to replace some of them with these different exercises mentioned above.

If you found this article helpful, then share it with others who can also try these different exercises which they can add to their workout routine.


Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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