Can you replace the bench press at home?

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Can you replace the bench press at home?
Can you replace the bench press at home?

Find out which exercises are as effective for developing pectoral muscles as the bench press, and which exercises can be done at home without a barbell. The bench press in a prone position is a basic exercise that involves a large number of body muscles in the work. Depending on the peculiarities of the technique of performing the movement, you can shift the load on one or another muscle. You probably know that this is not only a great exercise for gaining mass and increasing strength, but it is also a competitive powerlifting exercise. Also note that the inherent variability of the bench press is not found in any other strength exercise.

You can perform it with a different setting of arms, body, legs. There are many variants of this exercise, and it is rather difficult to call them the same. However, despite the high popularity and efficiency of the movement, sometimes the question arises before the athletes, how to replace the bench press at home? This is what we are going to talk about today. However, first I would like to touch upon the topic of macro cycles in the training process.

Any athlete's annual training plan can be divided into three phases:

  • Increase in power parameters.
  • Mass collection.
  • Work on the relief.

All this is well known, but still I want to remind you, because cycling allows you to achieve high results in sports.

When do you have to look for an alternative to the bench press?

The athlete ties the arm with an elastic bandage
The athlete ties the arm with an elastic bandage

Let's look at two of the most common situations in which athletes become interested in how to replace the bench press at home?


Most often, athletes have to look for a replacement for a particular exercise due to injury. Moreover, it does not have to be obtained recently, because chronic damage is also common and periodically makes itself felt. Unfortunately, many builders do not take chronic damage as responsibly as they should. As a result, they cause serious harm to themselves.

If you are injured or an old one makes itself felt, then you do not need to torment your body. In addition, if there is a feeling of discomfort at the time of the exercise, you will not be able to fully use the entire strength potential of the muscles and, as a result, you will not get the desired effect. In the worst case, the situation will worsen and you may even get new damage. If you have an injury, is it definitely worth considering how to replace the bench press at home?

Muscular feeling

Some athletes, when doing a bench press, cannot feel the contractions of the muscles. This is most often due to the structural features of the skeleton, as well as the composition of the muscles. Perhaps your triceps or deltas are inferior in development and quickly get tired in comparison with the muscles of the chest. The opposite situation is also possible, in which the entire load falls on the stronger muscles, and the pectoral muscles practically do not work.

During the strength training cycle, we recommend using the advice of Mike Mentzer and using the pre-fatigue of the target muscles. When it comes to the chest, then you must first work out the small muscles. Otherwise, you should first tire the triceps or deltas in order to achieve the failure of the pectoral muscles. In the mass-gathering period, special exercises can be used at all.

What exercises can replace the bench press?

The guy does push-ups on the uneven bars
The guy does push-ups on the uneven bars

Above, we examined two reasons for which the question arises, how to replace the bench press at home? However, not everyone has a barbell at home and it is the absence of this projectile that can lead to a similar issue. Recall that the classic movement is primarily intended for pumping chest muscles. At the same time, its variations can shift the focus to deltas or triceps.

To perform this movement, you will need the following sports equipment:

  • Directly the bar.
  • Bench.
  • Racks on which the sports equipment is located.
  • Companion for a safety net.

This is where the difficulty of performing the movement at home lies. However, it's time to answer the main question of the article - how to replace the bench press at home?

Push ups

Basically, the bench press is a complicated push-up option. Moreover, both movements are extremely rare in real life. Remember when you had to push off the ground or lift an object while lying on your back? At the same time, the exercises mimic the natural movement of pushing someone or something away from oneself.

It is quite common in everyday life, and it is easier to train in the horizontal plane. Since the barbell was not invented right away, people started using push-ups. If you have not been involved in sports before, then it is with this movement that you should start training. If you are not able to push up 15 times or more. Then you do not need to start pressing.

If your training program involves doing a bench press, say, three sets of ten repetitions each, you can safely replace the exercise with push-ups. Work with the required number of sets, performing movements to failure. As a result, the effect will be higher compared to pressing the empty bar. As soon as this movement has ceased to increase strength, but only increases endurance, you can proceed to the bench press in the prone position. However, you should not give up push-ups in such a situation, because this is one of the most effective strength movements.

Undoubtedly. In the situation discussed just above, you have to complicate the classic push-ups. Our muscles don't care what you want to load them with. The only thing that matters is the time spent under the load and its degree. Also, remember that the load should gradually increase. Only in such a situation can you progress. There are a lot of options for complicating push-ups and you may not even perform barbell presses, but at the same time create good muscles.

Here are some popular ways to complicate the classic exercise:

  1. Place your feet on a support to shift your weight into your upper body.
  2. Increase the range of motion, resting your hands not on the ground, but on the support. For example, a stack of books.
  3. Do plyometric push-ups. Simply put, do push-ups with claps, change hands, etc.
  4. Shift your body weight onto one arm. As a result, move on to doing push-ups on one arm.
  5. Exercise with additional weights.
  6. Combine the methods discussed above.

Dips on the uneven bars

Known among bodybuilding fans, John McCallum believes that this exercise is the second most important exercise for an athlete, after breathing squats. This suggests that he puts the bar push-ups even higher than the bench press itself. Some athletes will think that bars at home will be even more difficult to find than a barbell. This is completely wrong, because instead of this sports equipment, you can use two chairs with backs or any surfaces located at the level of the pelvis and above.

Dumbbell Bench Press

By the way, some builders prefer to work with dumbbells over a barbell, even if they can do the classic press. This is due to two main factors:

  1. Pressing with dumbbells is more difficult to perform, as it is necessary to make additional efforts to hold the sports equipment.
  2. The joints are less stressed, which minimizes the risk of injury. When working with dumbbells, the hand moves along a natural trajectory, and the shoulder joints suffer less.

We do not want to say that the barbell press is an extremely harmful exercise, but some scientists believe that working with dumbbells is still safer. We can agree with this at least from the point of view that dumbbells will not be able to press down on the chest. If you do not have a bench at home, which is most often the case, you can do the exercise while lying on the floor. However, this does not allow working with full amplitude, but this problem is eliminated using a fitball.

One-handed dumbbell presses while lying down

Actually, this is a variation of the previous movement. It is worth using it if the weight of your collapsible dumbbells is no longer enough to perform a failure movement. The way out of this situation is obvious - to place pancakes on one dumbbell and press it with one hand.

Bench press on the floor

If you don't have a bench and rack at home, you can do the classic floor press. However, you will need a chair on which you must first place the barbell. I would also like to say that this option is quite dangerous, and it is better to choose one of the methods discussed above.

How to do the floor dumbbell press correctly?

The athlete performs a dumbbell press lying on the floor
The athlete performs a dumbbell press lying on the floor

Let's take a look at the technique of doing dumbbell presses on the floor if you don't have a bench. If you train at home, then this is a great alternative to the classic exercise. It is able to perfectly work out the middle chest and triceps. If you want to additionally provide maximum stretching of the chest muscles, then you should perform a press on a fitball.

Here are the rules for this exercise:

  1. Get into a comfortable supine position with your knees bent and your heels on the ground. It is desirable that the surface is not too hard or too soft.
  2. Take the shells in your hands and spread them apart, slightly bending the elbow joints. In this case, the shoulders rest on the ground, and the forearms are located in a vertical plane.
  3. Start squeezing the dumbbells until your arms are fully extended, pausing at the top of the trajectory for a couple of seconds. As you move to the starting position, your muscles should remain tense.
  4. After completing the required number of repetitions, pause for recovery and move on to the next set.

Recall that the feet should be as stable as possible, and the back and buttocks should be firmly pressed to the ground. You can also use variations of the movement we have discussed. For example, in the initial position, the shells are located parallel to each other, and during the upward movement they smoothly unfold and at the top point of the trajectory are already on the same line.

All the exercises we have considered are able to work out the pectoral muscles well. Most often, during training at home, athletes do not pursue serious goals, but just want to put the body in order. Regular classes will help you solve the problem. Of course, it's good when you have the opportunity to purchase a barbell, racks for it and a bench. This will expand the list of available movements. However, working with only one dumbbell can achieve good results. The main desire and regular training with properly organized nutrition.

For more information on whether push-ups can replace the bench press:

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