How to do a Chest Press and See Good Results
The chest press is one of the most popular exercises for developing strong pecs. Getting a torso with the famous ‘V’ shape requires doing certain exercises. Experts advise working with the goal of getting the right balance between symmetry, volume, and definition. However, this is clearly a matter of personal taste.
The ideal technique for performing the chest press
The person should lie on the bench, which will firmly support your full back. Make sure you avoid injuring the natural curve in your lower back by pressing your belly button down. This will ensure you don’t get any lower back pain.
Both feet should be on the floor, with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle. The bar should be right above your forehead, so your arms will lean slightly backward.
Grip and lift
When holding the bar, a distance is left between both index fingers, this should be between 55 and 70 cm. A more open grip limits the elevation and exercises the pectorals and deltoids. On the contrary, a closed grip favors the work of the triceps. Experts advise you find a middle ground so that the upper musculature develops in a balanced way.
Extend your arms above your head to loosely hold the bar and place your hands. With the shoulders well positioned backward, tighten your grip and lift the bar from the rack. First, you extend your arms at their fullest, locking the elbows. Then, you lower the bar to your chest slowly.
Concentration is essential to avoid injury, so it helps if you find a point in the ceiling to look at
Remember, your forearms have to be vertical at all times, holding the bar. By keeping them this way, you prevent your wrists from bending, avoiding injuries
When descending, the bar should reach an intermediate point between the chest and the sternum.
Variations to improve the results of the chest press
An athlete with some experience in doing the chest press might find that the movements aren’t as effective as they were in the beginning. This could mean that you should modify the moves slightly.
With slight changes to the movements, the results are maximized. Also, it’ll keep your mind active, as we all know the worst thing during training is being bored with what you’re doing.
If you want a change, you can try placing your hands close to each other, right in the middle of the bar. Then, you do the chest press as you are used to. This will focus the effort and your pecs will work harder.
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You could also try lifting your upper body slightly every time you lift the weight. Placing the hands in their usual positions, and making sure your feet are well placed, proceed to do a regular chest press. Then, at the highest, the bar can go, crunch your abs to lift your shoulders.
Make sure you warm up thoroughly before doing any kind of chest press, as otherwise, it could lead to several injuries. Always keep your feet on the ground, as they give you stability. Of course, never start doing chest presses with a lot of weight. Build up your strength, don’t overdo things.
Alternative and complementary exercises to the chest press
Crosses with high pulleys
The results of doing crosses are very similar to those of chest press, due to muscle activation. It runs from the top down and ends with a cross-arm at hip height. In each session, you should do 3 sets of 10 reps each.
Parallel bar dips
Parallel bar dips are a great way to activate your chest muscles. Place a hand over each bar and raise yourself. Crossing your feet at the ankles and with your knees slightly bent, lower your body bending your elbows. We recommend doing 3 series of 10 reps each.
Push-ups with elastic bands
The band is held in both hands, crossing behind your back. This way, when you do the push-up, the resistance increases, making you work even harder. This is a great way to further work your pecs.
Tips to perform the chest press and avoid injuries
For beginners, we recommend you start doing chest presses holding only an elastic band. As you become stronger, you can use empty bars. The idea is to slowly increase weight and avoid injuries due to sudden movements.
Likewise, you should try to train with another person nearby. In case an accident or issue occurs, such as a sudden cramp, the other person can come to your aid.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- AMICI Formación en Fitness y Salud. Instructorado en Musculación. Ejercicios para el tren superior: pectorales. Extraído de: http://www.amicivirtual.com.ar/assets/files/musculacion/7ejercicios%20para%20miembro%20superior.pdf
- Pedro Ángel López Miñarro. Análisis de ejercicios de musculación para el tren superior. Ejercicios desaconsejados y criterios de corrección. Extraído de: https://digitum.um.es/jspui/bitstream/10201/5863/1/ejercicios%20fuerza.pdf