This five-minute workout helps build your chest muscle and improves upper body strength

This short upper body routine demonstrates how the chest can be trained without any weights

Woman doing a push up
(Image credit: Getty)

It's a good idea to include chest exercises in your upper body workouts. The pectoral muscles assist in stabilizing your shoulder joints and are also connected to your ribs, which play an important role in breathing. Luckily, this five-minute workout shows how efficient you can make your next chest workout.

Some of the best at home chest workouts include the traditional push-up, as well as variations of it and this short session is very similar. Although gym and home workout equipment like a barbell and dumbbells are typically used to train the upper body, all you need for this routine is to know how to do a push up properly.

However, this workout from online fitness trainer, Chris Heria (opens in new tab), is designed so that all levels are welcome. If you aren't overly confident with doing push-ups, Heria has provided modifications for each exercise to help with your progress and build up strength.

This time-saving five-minute session can be done at the gym or at home. If you're completing it at the gym, other than finding a space to work out in, the only other thing you'll need is access to a dip station. If you're training at home you can just use two chairs to mimic the structure of a dip station.

For each exercise, you will be aiming for 40 seconds of movement followed by 20 seconds of rest. There is a focus on time instead of reps, "so that we can emphasize our form and how perfect each repetition is improving the quality of our reps instead of just counting the repetitions, which is going to bring you a lot more progress and success" notes Heria.

Watch Chris Heria's Five-Minute Chest workout

If you don't normally work on your upper body this is a super time-efficient way to start growing muscle in this area. As it only takes five minutes you could squeeze it into a quick screen break while working or you can quite easily add it onto to the end of another workout like this chest and back workout to kill two birds with one stone.

The workout script is listed below with the ordinary exercises in bold and the beginner modifications not in un-bolded text.

  1. Assisted one arm push-ups /  one arm pushups on an elevated surface 
  2. Elevated wide push-ups (feet elevated) /  inclined push-ups (hands elevated)
  3. Pseudo push-ups /  same on an elevated surface 
  4. Dips /  bench dips 
  5. Explosive wide to closed push-ups /  walk the hands out or do it on an elevated surface 

Naturally, you will find yourself wanting to progress as the more you complete this workout the more your muscles will get used to the moves and will stop growing. It's a good idea to add in some weights, such as a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells, to your training if this is the case for you.

According to research (opens in new tab) conducted on the most effective chest exercise, the barbell bench press is the most effective exercise for building chest muscle. If you can access a barbell this is great as the bar will move up and down in a pretty much straight line forcing you to push against gravity from the beginning to the end. Nonetheless, dumbbells are also beneficial as they provide a greater range of motion during a press.

Jessica Downey
Jessica Downey

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.