The chest press exercise strengthens your upper body by working on your triceps (arms), deltoids (shoulders), and pectorals (chest).
To do these exercises, you use a chest press machine. Your hands go under a weight-bearing load, then push them away from the chest and back to the point where you started. The number of sets depends on your level of doing chest pressing.
There are different types of chest press machines that require different body posture. Every design strengthens your upper body, but each is slightly different in the muscles they target. You can pick the one you prefer or mix them up in your workout routine to reap the varying benefits.
Is a Chest Press Machine Good?
If you want to build your upper body strength, chest presses are among the best exercises to perform.
Although there are other ways of doing that, chest press machines are much better as you can target different muscles and adjust the weight as you proceed.
A chest press machine is good and will help you meet your goals, whether you are a beginner or an expert. For beginners, it is recommended you get a trainer or a monitor who will be keeping an eye on you to ensure you do not hurt yourself or overdo the workouts.
- Helps build upper body strength and muscle and works your triceps, deltoids, pectorals, biceps, and serratus anterior.
- It helps you keep physically fit and do daily chores like pushing a cart and strollers as well as sports such as baseball, swimming, and tennis.
- You also benefit from improved health, stronger bones, and better mental health.
- You’ll burn more calories, lose fat, and build muscles, which boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
How Much Should I Chest Press?
How much you can chest press depends on your fitness level, training experience, and size. Someone with training experience can lift twice as much weight as someone who hasn’t.
If you are a beginner, you should start with smaller weights, say 22lbs so you can feel the hang of it, get comfortable, and perfect your skill before adding more. Otherwise, you might strain your muscles, which aren’t used to heavy lifting and probably injure yourself.
Additionally, men and women have different body builds. Men’s muscle and physique tend to be stronger than women’s, so a man can lift more weights than a woman of the same or more weight.
There are outliers in these rules, but the key is finding the starting point for you then building on it as you train your body.
How Do You Do a Chest Press
A seated chest press machine makes your body comfortable and allows you to lift heavier weights while still in control. The movement is mainly from the shoulders and elbows in this position.
To exercise safely and get the most out of it, follow these steps.
Step 1: Adjust your seat height. Your seat’s height should be in line with your chest when you’re in the seating position and holding the handles-not above or below it. Start by raising or lowering your seat to align with your chest while your feet are touching the ground.
Step 2: Select the weight you want to start with. You should start with a lower weight and adjust as you continue. The ideal weight should fatigue your muscles after at least 8-15 repetitions but not too heavy that you cannot complete aa motion.
Step 3: Hold the handles in a palms-down grasp. Lift your elbows to a position where your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then push the handles forward and extend your arms as you exhale. This is the starting position.
Step 5: Move the handles towards you while exhaling
Step 6: Push the handles away from you while flexing your pecs, holding the contraction for a few seconds, and then moving back to the starting position.
Step 7: Repeat the process.
Step 8: After finishing, step on the lever then move the handles back to the original position.
For beginners, do 3-4 sets each 7-12 repetitions. Put your feet on the pedal after every set, put your arms on their side, and place the handles on the resting position.
Types of Chest Press Machines
Seated Chest Press Machine
When using this type of chest press machine, you sit on it and push the handles away fro you. Ensure your wrists are straight as bending them could result in injury, and the resistance is not transferred to the chest. Also, ensure the elbows are not locked.
There are different positions and grips you can adopt on a seated press machine, but it only works out the middle and upper chest.
This type requires you to sit upright while others need you to lie down. It may come with built-in weight, or you’ll have to have your weight plates.
Cable Bench Press Machines
These have a weighted cable instead of handlebars, which you push away from you.
They train you into focusing on your technique as the range of motion is not limited, but you have less stability. They are usually multi-faceted, helps you gain more functional strength, perform more workouts, and build smaller stabilizer muscles.
Incline Chest Press Machine
These chest machines require you to lie on a padded bench which you can adjust the angle so you can perform flat, incline, or decline workouts.
They help exercise different muscles since you can change the angle of the bench. The handlebars are attached to the machine but may require you to add weight plates for more resistance.
Also, ensure you don’t lock your elbows and keep your wrists straightened.
Standing Chest Press Machine
Standing chest press machines afford you a more stable and grounded position so you can entirely focus on recruiting your chest. They target your stabilizer muscles, such as erector spinae, rotator cuff, and transversus abdominus.
It is ideal for people with lower back issues as it exerts minimum stress on your lower back, but the downside is it works out your chest less.
Plate-Loaded Chest Press
These require the same plate weights used on barbells. They are ideal for heavy-weight people as they have a higher maximum weight. You can also load them with lesser weights if you lift less weight.
They minimize injury and isolate your inner pectorals. They train you to maintain muscle engagement throughout the exercise. You can perform the exercise while standing or lying on a bench. However, you will have to get off the machine and change the weights every time you need to adjust them, which disrupts your workout.
Best Chest Press Machines in 2020
Valor Fitness BF-47 Adjustable Flat/Incline Bench Press
|Valor Fitness BF-47 Adjustable Flat/Incline Bench Press with Independent Converging Arms and Ab...||Check price on Amazon|
This incline chest press has a heavy-duty frame, dual-layered pad, and a U-shaped base for stability and durability.
The handlebars are independent of each other to allow you to exercise one arm at a time and place different weight on each.
Additionally, it is versatile. You can adjust the ankle pads between two positions, the rubber strip to 9 different positions to perform incline or flat chest exercises, and use it as an ab crunch board, incline press, or flat press.
It requires plate weights, but they are not included in the package.
Who is it for?
This machine is an ideal option if you are looking to add a chest press machine to a workout place that already has plate weights. But you can also buy it then purchase the weights separately although it will cost you more.
Body Champ BCB5860 Olympic Weight Bench
|Body Champ BCB5860 Olympic Weight Bench with Preacher Curl, Leg Developer and Crunch Handle, Dark...||Check price on Amazon|
This chest press is made with your fitness goals in mind. It comes with a U-shaped front legs base for maximum strength and stability when exercising. The racks have a safe-grip feature and safety hook on catches to prevent pinching your hands when re-racking.
The backrest has 7 adjustable positions and other customizable features such as an arm curl, with adjustable foam rollers and leg lifts developer.
The accessories included are preacher curl pad, arm curl bar, spring clip, plate adapter, and ab crunch. However, the plate weights and barbells are required but not included. You will have to buy them separately.
Overall, it is a great chest press machine that you can use to work out your full body with emphasis on your chest. With it, you can work out your arms, legs, abs, and chest.
Who is it for?
This chest press machine is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to use it for all their workout needs. If you have limited space, you can also consider it as you can exercise most parts of your body without the need for another machine.
BodyCraft Xpress Pro 200lb, Single Stack Gym w/FCA
If you are looking to buy a seated chest press machine, then this Body Craft Xpress Pro will probably interest you. It offers a complete home gym experience. With it, you can exercise your legs, arms, back, and chest.
It features both bench press stations and cable bench stations, which are both adjustable. The seat and the seatback, bench, and the handlebars are also adjustable so you can customize their height to your liking.
It weighs 575lbs. The best thing with this chest press is that it comes with all the necessary weights, so you won’t have to purchase anything separately.
Who is it for?
This seated press machine will work well as a home gym machine for beginners and people who are relatively new to strength training. It’s an all-around machine that exercises your back, legs, and arms to strengthen and build your chest muscles.
Experienced body trainers can use it too for their home workouts. However, it’s important to note that this machine is enormous, and you need a large space to accommodate it.
Marcy Smith Cage Machine
|Marcy Smith Cage Machine with Workout Bench and Weight Bar Home Gym Equipment SM-4008||Check price on Amazon|
This machine can hold up to 300lbs, the frame is made of heavy steel and is best for home workouts as the materials that make it are not of commercial quality.
The frame has a powder-coated finish to prevent it from scratching. It requires weight plates, which you should buy separately. Its pulley system is one of the best in this list and an adjustable bench and seat that you can adjust to different positions.
It also features a leg developer for leg and thigh training, adjustable bar catches, safety stops for the bar press, and four storage posts to store your weight plates.
This equipment is an all-round gym piece for toning and strengthening the arms, legs, core, and chest muscles. It’s a combination of a Smith machine, cable crossover, a leg developer, and a pull-up bar.
Who is it for?
It’s a piece of ideal equipment for a person who wants to combine different exercises in one machine. It is also very affordable, so people on a budget can consider this.
However, the pulley system may not be easy to assemble.
Iron Company SportsArt Fitness A977
|IRON COMPANY SportsArt Fitness A977 Plate Loaded Incline Chest Press for Club Use - Commercial...||Check price on Amazon|
This equipment is a commercial-grade machine, but it would not be a crime if you had it in your house. It has a charcoal gray finish and a quality steel frame to guarantee a stable and safe workout. It’s the kind of machine you’re likely to find in a public gym.
The maximum weight is 500lbs. The arms have independent movement, converging pushing angle, and a progressive resistance curve. The seat height is adjustable and made from quality vinyl to offer comfort.
The equipment only uses Olympic weight plates and one plate horn on each side of the arm. The weight plates are, however, not included and should be purchased separately. There are 4 other plate horns to store your weight plates.
Who is it for?
This equipment is best suited for professional body trainers and hardcore weight lifters. It can accommodate more weight, thus an excellent choice for heavy people.
Is a Chet Press Machine the Same as Bench Press?
Both the chest press and bench press target the same muscle. But they are slightly different.
Bench press trains a larger range of motions compared to chest press. You will, therefore, be able to build more muscle than you would with a chest press.
You can perform bench press at different angles and with barbells and dumbbells. The two enable you to exert more tension on your muscles, thus more muscle growth and the more calories you will burn.
However, the bench press is not for everyone. If you have ever had a shoulder injury, you should try the chest press as the bench press is not ideal.
How to Perform a Bench Press
- Lie on a flat bench with your eyes under the bar
- Grip the bar, lift it from the rack, and hold it over the nipple line with your arms locked
- Inhale deeply and lower the bar until it touches your chest
- Pause then push it up above your chest
Perform 4-6 sets of 10 repetitions, each resting for about 60-90 seconds after each set.
Which One is Better?
Both the chest press and bench press have different adb=vantages. You can mix them up in your workout routine.
For anyone with a history of a shoulder injury, you might want to stick to chest press as the bench press is pretty intense. You don’t want to strain your shoulders and probably dig out past problems.
You can move the weight much farther than in a chest press machine, which contracts and expands more muscle fibers. However, you might need a spotter if you are lifting heavy weights to look out for you in case you expend your muscles too much.
On the other hand, a chest press machine is much safer, as you can only extend so far. Therefore, you don’t need a spotter. You can also press one arm, which is impossible with barbells. Additionally, a chest press machine is more time-efficient when you’re adding weights compared to a bench press.
Buying Guide for Chest Press Machines: Things to Remember
As you exercise, you will build muscle and probably gain weight. It’s essential to go for a machine that can accommodate your weight in different positions without compromising performance. Check the maximum weight of the machine or the load the bar rest can hold.
The bench you choose should be strong and sturdy to hold your weight. There are cheap machines, but some won’t offer you the stability you need.
Different benches are of different sizes. Choosing a bench that will occupy the whole space is not ideal. You should choose one that fits in your workout space.
Consider the measurement of the equipment both when folded and assembled. It should leave enough space for you to move around and for other equipment. After a workout, you can fold it and place it in a corner to free up some space.
Some gyms have different stations for incline, decline, and flat workouts. But in your home, it may not be practical to purchase separate machines. You will need an adjustable machine so you can attain the different positions.
An adjustable machine allows you to exercise your muscles in the three different positions. You can adjust the bench at different angles, depending on what you want to achieve.
An adjustable bench also helps you save money and space instead of having a different machine for every position.
Some items in this list require you to purchase extra accessories, such as plate weights. The cost can add to significant figures, especially for experienced weight lifters who need more than a few plates.
For a bench press, you might also need a barbell. Other additional items include weight plates storage rack and a power rack for the barbell. These are an added expense. You can purchase some of them later.
But if you don’t want additional expense on weight plates, consider going for a chest press machine that includes them in the package.
It is recommended you compare different prices for the machine you are interested in. Prices may vary depending on quality and features but take care not to spend too much.
We are not saying you go for a cheap machine, but as long as you don’t compromise on quality, pick the one you can comfortably afford without breaking the bank.
How much you’ll be using the machine may affect how long it will last. You should go for one that can handle your weight (even after gaining more). Look for a machine that’s sturdy and has a strong build.
Whether you’re just starting or are a professional body-builder, a good-quality and robust machine is a plus. You don’t want to run to the store every year to buy a new one.
Should I clean my chest press?
To get rid of dirt, bad odor, and bacteria, you should clean it. Wipe the seat and powder-coated parts with water and make sure to dry it to prevent corrosion.
Can a beginner use a chest press?
Even if you have never lifted weights before, you can use a chest press. The only difference between a beginner and an experienced weight lifter is the weight. Beginners should start small then build up the weight as they gain more experience.
Are chest press machines effective?
Chest press machines help put tension on your muscles in your shoulders, arms, and chest making them build up. You can also exercise one arm.
How big should my chest press be?
Ideally, it depends on the amount of space you have and the machine you need. An ideal size will fit your space and leave some room.