Chest Press Machine Form
The cable-loaded chest press machine is a great alternative to the traditional bench press exercise. You can easily transfer your skills and strength from the bench press onto any chest machine for a great training stimulus.
Step By Step Guide
- Adjust The Seat Position
When using any machine at the gym it is important to remember that it is usually designed to suit the average person. To allow for differences in height, while still training the target muscle, they will sometimes include a seat adjustment into that design.
For the chest press you should adjust the seat so that the handles are in line with your nipple line.
- Get Into The Start Position
Some machines will also include a foot pedal depending on the start position for the first rep of the exercise. In the chest exercise, your first rep will start when the chest is under a full stretch.
To make it easier to get into position you can use the foot lever to bring the handles out to meet your hands. Slowly remove your foot from the lever and allow the handles to bring your hands back towards your body putting your chest into a full stretch.
All the other fundamentals of a pushing exercise will apply here.
Keep your shoulder blades pinned back and down. Like you are trying to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
Your elbows should be down in line with your hands and not up high at your shoulders during each rep. This is very similar to the arrow position discussed in the push-up position blog post.
- Use A Full Range Of Motion
The start of the rep is under a full chest stretch. The beauty of a chest press machine is that it has a nice elliptical arc of tension. This will keep full tension on the muscle under a large range of motion.
Make sure to press out as far as possible and straighten your arms at the end of the rep before returning to the fully stretched starting position.
Chest Press Machine Muscles Worked
The chest machine is ideal for training the same muscle groups trained during other similar Pushing Exercises like the push up or barbell bench press.
Any time you are pushing to the front of your body you will primarily train the Chest and Triceps muscle groups.
- Pectoralis Major (Chest Muscle) This is the main muscle responsible for drawing the arm across the body.
- The Tricep Muscles (Back Of The Arm) The main muscle responsible for straightening the arm from a bent position.
- Front Deltoid (Front of the shoulder) The front of the delt will help out the chest in bringing your arm across the front of the body.
Suitable Chest Training Alternatives
Chest Press Machine VS Bench Press
The chest machine is almost the exact same as the more traditional bench press for stimulating the chest and tricep muscles to grow.
There are only 2 main differences:
- Your movement pattern on a chest machine is programmed in thanks to the machine’s natural arc. This isn’t necessarily a problem for most people as these machines are designed to suit the average person.
- You will use less core activation than the bench press. In reality though you are using this machine to train your chest and triceps and not your core. A minor difference that isn’t worth fussing over!
When Should You Use This Machine VS Free Weights?
When your program calls for a primary exercise to overload the chest muscles you can use either a bench press variation or a chest machine.
Whichever version you prefer at the time. Just make sure to stick to it for long enough to actually start getting results.
Always remember to stick to the fundamentals of any pushing exercises you should have learned when developing your push-up technique.
If you still haven’t mastered the push up then I would suggest you start here first.
Not only will it be great chest and tricep training but you will also form a fundamental base for further progression in other pushing movements!
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Let me know if you have any questions!