Pectoralis Major Exercises at Home

by Keith Strange

About Keith Strange

Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.



The pectoralis major muscle is one of the major muscles of the chest. A well-developed pectoralis major gives the body that “V” shaped deep chest that many bodybuilders desire. Three well-known exercises, the push-up, the chest fly and the bench press, are effective ways to exercise the muscle. If you’re working out at home and don’t want to go to the gym to exercise your chest, there are several exercises you can do at home with a bench or stability ball and two dumbbells.


This exercise is performed by lying face-down on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart and your legs straight. Place your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders with your fingers pointing straight forward. Balance your body on your palms and the balls of your feet with your arms straight and bearing the majority of your body weight. Begin the exercise from this position. Lower your body by bending at the elbows until your chest almost touches the ground. Return to the starting position by straightening your elbows.

Declined Pushup

This exercise is similar to a regular push-up, but is performed with the feet elevated on a weight bench or chair to isolate the upper chest muscles. Shape recommends keeping your back very straight when performing this exercise. Begin with your hands just wider than shoulder width apart nearly level with your shoulders. Lower your body in a slow, controlled motion before using an explosive burst to raise the upper body off the ground.

Dumbbell Bench Press

This exercise is performed by using two dumbbells that are heavy enough to challenge the upper chest muscles. Position yourself face up on a bench or stability ball with a dumbbell in each hand. The bench or ball should support your upper back and neck. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor with your knees bent. Make sure that your position on the bench or ball allows your elbows to fall below your spine in order to maximize the benefits this exercise delivers. Grip the dumbbells with your palms facing forward. Push the weights up until your arms are straight. Return to the starting position in a slow and controlled motion.

Dumbbell Fly

Dumbbell flyes also target your pectoralis major. Lie face up on a bench or stability ball. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor and your upper back and neck should be supported by the ball. Hold the weights up over your chest with your palms facing each other and your elbows slightly bent. Keeping the same slight bend in your elbows, lower the weights out to your sides. Use your chest muscles to bring the weights back up over your chest.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or