Chest Press

Major Muscles Worked:

Chest

Set Up:

  1. Lie on the floor (or a bench if you have it)
    Your knees can be bent, with your feet flat on the floor, or your legs can be straight. If your legs are straight, make sure that your legs are engaged, and not relaxed, flopping out to the side.
  2. Hold dumbbells in each of your hands with your arms straight, weights close to the ceiling, and above your chest.
  3. Palms face your knees.
  4. The ends of the dumbbells are either touching, or and inch or two apart.

The Movement:

  1. Bend your elbows, lowering the weights with control until your upper arms touch the floor.
    As you lower the weights, keep the weights (and your wrists) directly over your elbows. This means that the weights will separate from each other as they lower.
  2. Without pausing at the bottom of the movement, press the weights back to the ceiling.
    Reverse the movement of the weights, keeping them over the chest, and gradually bringing them closer to each other at the top of the motion.

Specific Cues:

  • Keep your eyes on the weights.
  • Do NOT close your eyes! Whenever you have weights over your head, it is IMPORTANT to keep your eyes OPEN!
  • As you lower the weights, your elbows can have one of 3 positions:
    • perpendicular to your body – this will work your chest muscles more
    • at a 45 degree angle from your body – this position works both your chest and triceps equally
    • close to your sides with your elbows closer to your hips – this works your triceps more, and will also require you to rotate your hands so that they’re facing each other at the bottom of the movement.

Chest Press on a Flat Bench, Incline Bench or Swiss Ball

What’s the difference between the three and performing it on the floor?

  • I like doing Floor Presses when I’m performing heavy sets, and I’m unsure if I’m going to be able to get the weight up from the floor. Performing the exercise on the floor is a very safe move – it would be unlikely that you would rotate your shoulder in a wierd way, or if you needed to drop the weight, it wouldn’t have far to go.
  • Presses performed on a flat bench gives me a greater range of motion; You can (and should) get a really good stretch across the chest when doing this movement.
  • You will be stronger doing presses on a flat bench than you will be on an incline bench because the incline bench incorporates more shoulder into the movement (the shoulder is a smaller muscle group, so it can’t lift as much weight). But I like incline presses because it gives that really pretty muscular line that travels from the clavicle down to the breast bone.
  • Performing the movement on the Swiss Ball engages the core and glute muscles. The swiss ball may block some of the range of motion, and stretch across the chest.

Banded Chest Press

How to Set Up for a Banded Chest Press

  1. Anchor the band to a stable anchor point behind you. Ideally, this would be slightly above shoulder height (if standing), or waist height (if kneeling)
  2. Make sure that the bands are about equal length in a relaxed position.
  3. Grab the handles so that when you’re standing with your back towards the anchor point, that the bands are not crossed.
  4. With your back to the anchor point, make sure that the bands skim the top of your arm/shoulder.
  5. With your palms facing the floor, and elbows bent, travel away from the anchor point until the bands are taught.
  6. Chest up, and shoulders back, place feet in a staggered stance (this will prevent you from using your body weight to press the bands together) or kneel with one foot flat on the floor.
  7. Press through your hands, straighten your elbows, making sure that your arms are parallel to the ground as you extend, and bringing your hands closer together at the top of the movement.
  8. Reverse the movement, keeping your elbows high.