The Chest Press Machine: How to Build Muscle and Avoid Common Mistakes

Updated: Jul 2



chest-press-machine


The chest press machine is one of the most popular exercises in the gym. It targets the chest muscles as well as the shoulders and triceps. In this article, we will describe how to use the chest press machine and how to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout. We will also focus on some of the common mistakes people make when performing this exercise.


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


What muscles does the chest press machine work?

The chest press machine works the chest muscles, specifically the pectoralis major and minor. These muscles are located in the chest and are responsible for moving the arms forward. The chest press machine also works the triceps, which are located on the back of the upper arm. They consist of three heads: the lateral head, medial head, and long head. The triceps are also responsible for extending the elbow. Lastly, the chest press machine works the deltoids, which are located on the shoulders. The deltoids consist of three heads: the anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear). lastly, they are responsible for lifting the arms up.


Benefits of the Chest Press Machine

The chest press machine is a great way to build muscle in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It is also a great exercise for beginners because it is easy to learn and does not require a lot of coordination. Additionally, the chest press machine is a compound exercise, meaning that it works multiple muscles at the same time. This makes it an efficient exercise for those looking to build muscle. Lastly, the chest press machine allows the form to be corrected more easily than free weights, making it a safer exercise.


How to Use the Chest Press Machine

Here are the steps for using the chest press machine:

  • Sit down on the machine and select the weight you want to use.

  • Adjust the seat so that your chest is in line with the pads.

  • Grab the handles and press them away from your chest.

  • Extend your arms fully and then return to the starting position.


Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when using the chest press machine is not going all the way down. When you don't lower the weight all the way, you are not fully working your chest muscles. Additionally, people often use too much weight and sacrifice form in order to lift it. This can lead to injury. Finally, some people use a chest press machine with their legs crossed. This puts unnecessary stress on the knees and can lead to joint pain. To avoid these mistakes, make sure to lower the weight all the way, use a weight that you can handle with proper form, and keep your legs uncrossed.



Chest Press Machine Variations

There are a few chest press machine Variations that target the same muscles and here are a few of them:


Variation #1: Incline Chest Press Machine

The incline chest press machine is similar to the regular chest press machine, but the angle of the bench is inclined. This puts more emphasis on the upper chest muscles.


How to perform:

  • Sit down on the machine and select the weight you want to use.

  • Adjust the seat so that your chest is in line with the pads.

  • Grab the handles and press them away from your chest.

  • Extend your arms fully and then return to the starting position.


Variation #2: Decline Chest Press Machine

The decline chest press machine is the opposite of the incline chest press machine. The angle of the bench is declined, which puts more emphasis on the lower chest muscles.


How to perform:

  • Sit down on the machine and select the weight you want to use.

  • Adjust the seat so that your chest is in line with the pads.

  • Grab the handles and press them away from your chest.

  • Extend your arms fully and then return to the starting position.


Chest Press Machine Alternatives


Alternative #1: Dumbbell Chest Press

The dumbbell chest press can be done with a barbell or two dumbbells. This exercise allows for a greater range of motion and works the stabilizer muscles more than the chest press machine.


How to perform:

  • Lie down on a bench with a weight in each hand.

  • Press the weights up and together until your arms are extended.

  • Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.


Alternative #2: Push-Up

The push-up is a great bodyweight chest exercise that can be done anywhere. It works the chest, shoulders, and triceps.


How to perform:

  • Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Lower down into a low plank position while keeping your core engaged.

  • Push back up to the starting position.


Alternative #3: Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is a chest exercise that can be done with a barbell or dumbbells. It allows for a greater range of motion and works the chest, shoulders, and triceps.


How to perform:

  • Lie down on a bench with a weight in each hand.

  • Press the weights up and together until your arms are extended.

  • Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

  • Remember to keep your form strict to get the most out of this exercise.


Alternative #4: Pec Deck

The pec deck is a chest exercise that can be done with a machine. It works the chest, shoulders, and triceps.


How to perform:

  • Sit down on the machine and select the weight you want to use.

  • Place your elbows on the pads and press them together in front of your chest.

  • Extend your arms fully and then return to the starting position.



Summary

The chest press machine is a great exercise for building muscle. However, there are a few common mistakes that people make when using this machine. Make sure to lower the weight all the way, use a weight that you can handle with proper form, and keep your legs uncrossed. There are also a few chest press machine variations that target the same muscles. The decline chest press machine puts more emphasis on the lower chest muscles while the incline chest press machine puts more emphasis on the upper chest muscles. If you want to completely change the exercise there are also other options to target the chest, triceps, and shoulders. These include the dumbbell chest press, push-up, barbell bench press, and pec deck.


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:



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