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The at-home chest workout for Covid-19 induced lockdowns

Posted by Bulk Nutrients in Muscle Building

Estimated reading time: 4mins

A strong woman performing a traditional push-up outdoors.

Lockdown Workouts: A Tough Chest Routine For Muscle Growth

Most gym-goers turn their nose up at any chance of home workouts being able to help them grow or even maintain muscle. But science disagrees. Higher reps (12-15 reps) still induces muscle growth; it seems as long as you go to muscle failure growth can still occur.

And here's something else to remember: after two days of rest, you're free to do this workout again. This is because muscle protein synthesis levels return to baseline after 48 hours. And because 10-20 sets for a given muscle group has been shown to be a good range for muscle growth, that's what we'll be doing.

No Equipment Bodybuilding Workouts: Chest

Let's assume you have absolutely no equipment. All you need with the first workout here is a chair or a little table as seen below! You'll start with 5 sets of decline push-ups, putting your feet on the chair/table and pushing up off the ground in front of you. Go for as many reps as you can, but stopping about 1-2 reps shy of failure.

1. Decline Push-ups

  • 5 x 15-20 reps of Decline Push-ups (1-2 reps shy of failure, muscle failure on the third set).
A muscular man with his feet raised on an outdoor bench performing decline push-ups.
Decline push-ups: They look easy until you try them!

Then we'll move into 5 sets of Archer Push-ups. You think bench pressing is hard -- wait until you try these!

You'll do these by putting one hand way out, and looking at it, as you push down and push back up again. Do as many reps as you can (again, about 1 rep shy of muscle failure) on one side, then move onto the other. That's one set. The gentlemen in the photo below, in the position he is in, is working the right side of his chest.

2. Archer Push-ups

  • 5 x 10-12 reps of Archer Push-ups (do one side, then the other, with a 20-second break in between. That's one set!). Go to muscle failure on the third set.
A muscular man performing archer push-ups outside. One arm is tucked close to the body and the other is reaching out to the side.
Archer push-ups: One of the toughest chest exercises you'll ever do.

3. Wide and Narrow Push-ups

The last exercise is 5 sets of Wide and Narrow Push-ups.

5 x 10-12 reps of Wide and Narrow Push-ups (muscle failure on the third set).

You do these by starting in a wide push-up position like below:

A muscular man performing a push-up in a traditional wide position.
Starting in a wide push-up position.

After one rep, you move your hands directly below your shoulders, like the image below, then do another rep.

A muscular man performing a push-up in a narrow position, where his arms are tucked close to the side of his body.
After one rep, you move your hands directly below your shoulders.

And that's one rep! Keep going for 10-12 reps, again, going to muscle failure on the third set.

After that, we guarantee you'll be smoked! Your chest will be pumped, and you'll be amazed a home workout can feel anything like going to the gym. The truth is, you might even feel like you got more out of your home workout. The beauty is then blending some of these exercises into your workout routine once the gym reopens; to add variety to your sessions that may or may not have needed it.

Lockdown workouts: Inducing the principles of Muscle Growth during Covid-19

When muscle growth is the goal, we must remember the three principles of it:

  1. Muscle tension.
  2. Metabolic stress.
  3. Muscle damage.

There is no question that upon finishing this workout, you'll agree with us that all three principles are being accounted for.

To recap the at home chest workout:

  1. 5 x 15-20 reps of Decline Push-ups (1-2 reps shy of failure, muscle failure on the third set).
  2. 5 x 10-12 reps of Archer Push-ups (do one side, then the other, with a 20-second break in between. That's one set! Go to muscle failure on the third set).
  3. 5 x 10-12 reps of Wide and Narrow Push-ups (muscle failure on the third set).

Give it a try, and shoot us an email in regards to how you went!

Happy lockdown lifting!


  1. Mitchell CJ, Churchward-Venne TA, West DW, et al. Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2012;113(1):71-77. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00307.2012
  2. Phillips SM, Tipton KD, Aarsland A, et al. Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 1997;273:E99–E107.
  3. Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sports Sci. 2017 Jun;35(11):1073-1082. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197. Epub 2016 Jul 19. PMID: 27433992.
  4. Schoenfeld BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):2857-72. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840f3. PMID: 20847704.
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