How to Use a Chest Press Machine

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When it comes to upper-body strengthening exercises, chest press stands out as an exceptional workout. Chest press became popular in the late 1950s. Over the years, it has become famous for powerlifters and bodybuilders.

The chest press is an elaborate exercise that has several techniques and advantages. Let us look at it in detail.


Muscles Worked by Chest Press

Chest press targets your triceps, pectorals, deltoids, building muscle tissue, and overall strength. Moreover, it works on your biceps as well as the serratus anterior. Lastly, it also targets other stabilising muscles.

Benefits of Chest Press

Benefits of Chest Press

The benefits derived from including a chest press in your strength training exercise routine are manifold.

Upper-Body Strength

Upper body strength is not only helpful in day-to-day activities, but it will also come as a helpful aid in gyms. For example, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to pull in God strength to do a couple of push-ups? If yes, you need to work on your upper body strength.

Chest presses target chest muscles while improving the movement of your joints. With proper training and consistency, you would be able to increase the amount of push or press weight.

Moreover, exercises like chest press can help you determine your present upper body strength. According to a study, it became pragmatic to determine the athlete’s 1-RM bench with the upper body lift numbers. This can help you reach your fitness goals.

Improve Core Strength

Weak core muscles can distress your daily routine as it directly affects your limbs. It can impair your regular activities like picking your shopping bags or getting up from your chair after hours. It can also come in the way while working out.

However, you can prevent such scenarios through chest presses. It builds stability as well as balance. This can improve your posture as well as prevent any accidental falls or injuries.

Improved Bone Health

Weight-bearing exercises, like chest presses, has several bone-building benefits. Regular chest presses can improve and enhance the strength and health of your bones.

While undergoing such weight-bearing exercises, your bones hold up a tremendous amount of weight. This leads to the formation of osteoblasts cells in the bones of your shoulders, chest, arms, and back. These cells help in creating new bone cells along with laying them on and within the bones.

With more weight-bearing exercises, more osteoblasts are formed, increasing the bone mass. This improves the density of the bone while making them stronger and more endearing towards external forces.

One should not forget that this will come of use when one gets older. How? Well, once you age, your bones begin to degenerate. But you can avoid such conditions by inculcating chest presses in your workout plan.

How to Perform Chest Presses?

What should one prefer: performing an exercise rigorously without the correct techniques or undertaking training with patience with the suitable form? It goes without saying that it should be the latter.

To make things easier for you, we have segregated step-by-step instructions to get the correct form during chest presses.

Note: The following instructions are for beginners using dumbbells

How to Perform Chest Presses
  • Grab dumbbells and lay down straight on the floor or on the bench. We prefer the bench. Ensure that your spine is in a neutral and aligned position. If you are uncomfortable with dumbbells, signal a spotter to stay nearby.
  • Your shoulders, back, head, buttocks, and feet should constantly be in touch with the bench and the floor riser. With a pronated grip, hold the dumbbells and extend your elbows. Press down directly above your eyes and along the shoulder line. This will reduce the pressure on the shoulder joint.
  • Inhale and tilt your chin towards the chest. Push the weights upwards while exhaling. Watch out for the position of your arms and shoulders. They must not lose contact with the bench. Keep a neutral wrist position throughout the exercise.
  • Return to the starting position. Once the reps are complete, signal the spotter to take the dumbbells from your hands.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Chest Presses

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Chest Presses

Now that you have perfected the form, it is time to know the common mistakes that people make while doing chest presses. The purpose is to understand the errors beforehand to avoid making them in the future.

Positioning of the Arms

Do not spread your forearms too wide that the weights end up going outside the elbow lines. Push the dumbbells towards the chest’s centre without crashing the weights together.

Back Arch

You must maintain the natural arch in your lower back while performing the exercise. Do not try to lift it or press it too hard on the surface.

Heavy Weights

It is good to challenge yourself but always stay within your limits. If you find yourself tired and lethargic within the first few reps, change your weights as they might be too heavy.

Absence of a Spotter

You must always have a spotter nearby while performing chest presses. This is not only applicable for beginners but also for advanced athletes. An injury or accident waits for none, and you must be prepared if such situations arise.

Speed of Lifting

This exercise cannot be done in a hurry. You must stay relaxed and calm throughout to perfect the form. Lifting the weights too fast can injure your elbows.

Wrist Position

You cannot keep your wrists relaxed while performing chest presses. It can not only lead to injuries but also long-term wrist pain.

Instead, hold the dumbbells with a pronated grip. It means that your psalm must face away from your body, and the hand goes over the bar and dumbbells.

Losing Contact with the Bench/Floor

As mentioned earlier, your shoulders, head, butt, and back must remain in contact with the bench/floor. Along with that, your feet must stay relaxed and touching the ground in a flat position.

Sets, Reps, Programming Recommendations for Chest Presses

It is crucial to do everything in the right proportions, even exercises. Overdoing can strain your muscles and cause long-term injuries.

The following programs can be taken as a reference while doing chest presses:

Program 1: Linear Periodization

This is a simple program that can be effective for all kinds and levels of athletes.

Week 1: 4 sets of 8 reps at 100kgs

Week 2: 4 sets of 8 reps at 100kgs

Week 3: 4 sets of 8 reps at 100kgs

Week 4: DELOAD

Week 5: 4 sets of 10 reps at 100kgs

Week 6: 4 sets of 10 reps at 100kgs

Week 7: 4 sets of 10 reps at 100kg

Week 8: DELOAD

Program 2: Non-linear Periodization

Day 1: 4 sets of 8 reps at 70%

Day 2: 4 sets of 6 reps at 75%

Day 3: 4 sets of 4 reps at 80%

(Note: % denoted maximum repetitions)

The following workout plans can help you, especially if you are a beginner:

Pause Chest Press

Undertake 4 sets of 12 reps, pausing 1” off the chest.

You can alter the weight as per your comfort levels but do not go beyond 12 reps.

Increase the weights after the 10th rep.

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Chest Press

Include 20 reps in your first set.

Rest for 1 minute between the set.

Pause 1 seconds at the bottom and 2 seconds while lowering the dumbbells.

Variations of Chest Press

Chest presses can be performed in several variations. The following are some of the exercises that you can add to your workout plan:

  1. Barbell Bench Press
  2. Wide Grip Barbell Bench Press
  3. Close Grip Barbell Bench Press
  4. Glute Bridge Dumbbell Bench Press
  5. Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press
  6. Incline Barbell Bench Press
  7. Incline Dumbbell Crush Press

Safety and Precautions of Chest Press

Safety and precautions are prerequisites when it comes to performing chest press. You must adhere to the following tips and precautionary measures while doing this exercise:

  1. Use weights that can help you contract the muscles. Overdoing or taking more weights will do more harm than good.
  2. Irrespective of your spotter being around or not, do not lose your form and technique.
  3. Avoid flimsy and wobbly benches.
  4. Do not hold your breath at any point.
  5. Avoid this exercise if you have shoulder pain.
  6. Maintain a steady grip at all times.

Alternatives of Chest Press

Is your bench unavailable? Do you want to broaden your horizons while performing bench exercises? Regardless of the reasonings, you can include the following exercises while replacing chest presses:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Dumbbell Bench Press
  3. Barbell Overhead Press
  4. Barbell California Press
  5. Dips
  6. Dumbbell Fly
  7. Dumbbell Arnold Press

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