1. Wall push-up
This is a great, on-the-go beginner way to strengthen pectoral muscles and reduce pressure on arms, upper back and abs. Stand up straight and place your palms flat against a wall, standing far enough away so that your elbows are straight but not locked. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and at shoulder level. Keeping your body straight, bend your elbows and bring your nose toward the wall. Push into the wall with your hands to come back up. (Note: The closer you stand to the wall, the easier it is.) As you gain strength and confidence, move your feet slightly further away from the wall to up the challenge.
2. Modified push-up
Push-ups are not only great for your chest, but they are fantastic for defining abs, triceps and shoulders. Lay on the ground, chest down, with hands placed at shoulder width (or just slightly wider than). Bend knees and keep feet together. Staying straight, lift yourself off the ground by extending arms and pushing down on your hands. Lower yourself to the ground by bending at the elbows.
Grab two dumbbells (soup cans work too!) and lie flat on your back—either on a bench or floor. Support dumbbells above chest with arms bent slightly. Turn your shoulders in so elbows point out to the side. Lower dumbbells on both sides until chest muscles are stretched, keeping elbows bent. Aim to bring dumbbells together so they are almost touching. If your weights are less than 8 lbs, go for 20 reps.
4. Chest Dip
Place hands on the edge of a bench or chair with fingers curled under the seat. Position feet out in front with legs bent and keep torso upright. Lower body by bending elbows, keeping them close to your sides. When you feel the pull in your chest or shoulders, push yourself up until arms are straight. Keep your balance by slowly lowering and lifting your body up and down.