Machine Chest Press
Machine chest press is a good middle chest exercise for beginners or those nervous of working with free weights. Safety is one of the primary advantages of using a chest press machine. No spotter is needed to lift the weight, so focus can be on proper form and technique, expediting the learning process. It also is easier to isolate the targeted muscle group with machines. The chest press machine is time-friendly compared with the bench press in that there is only a simple pin insertion to change resistance. In any case, there are no significant differences between this variant and the basic machine bench press.
How to Use the Seated Chest Press Machine
STARTING POSITION (PREPARATION): Sit vertically with your feet fiat, either on a footstool or the floor. Your back should be pressed against the backrest. Adjust the seat height so that the handles are level with your chest. Keeping your spine in a neutral position, grasp the handles with a closed, neutral or pronated grip so that your forearms are parallel to the floor and your elbows are directly behind the handles in the same plane. Keep your shoulders down, your chin back, and your head up.
ACTION (EXECUTION): Inhale and slowly allow the handles to come towards you by bending your elbows. Once your hands are parallel to your chest, pause, exhale, push the handles, and return to the starting position by extending your elbows and pressing the weight along the predetermined path of motion.
Movement Path: The handles of the machine draw back in a horizontal plane toward your torso until your hands are parallel to your chest, and return to the starting position via the same path.
There are many types of machine presses. Many also have various grip positions, which allows you to use a very wide or narrowed grip and even a neutral grip.
Machine Chest Press Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to adjust the machine to match your height and limb length.
- Look for your chest to remain high, your forearms to remain parallel to the ground, and your elbows to remain directly behind your hands.
- Keep your elbows at the same height throughout the movement.
- Avoid flattening your lower back, overextending your shoulders forwards, or allowing your elbows to either elevate or drop during any portion of the exercise.
- Avoid picking your feet up.
- Stabilise by keeping your tail bone, upper back, and head in contact with the bench (your lower back should be slightly off it) throughout the movement, with your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- Slowly lower the bar to the down position without letting the weight rest on the stack between reps.
Muscles Involved in Machine Chest Press
Main muscles: pectoralis major, triceps, deltoids (anterior)
Secondary muscles: coracobrachialis, serratus anterior, subscapularis
Antagonists: latissimus dorsi, biceps, deltoids (posterior)
Machine Chest Press Variations
The machine chest press can be done with different kinds of equipment: lying on a flat bench, an incline bench or seated with a straight back. It is your choice what kind of machine pressing movement you prefer.
Machine chest press can be easily replaced with other pressing exercises that target your middle chest area. The middle chest is best stimulated from exercises done on a flat bench.
Sometimes referred to as the vertical chest press, the chest press is executed with the torso in an upright position. If you are a beginner, you may have difficulty pressing while lying on a bench. It may even feel very unnatural to be forced to mobilize all your strength in that position. In that case, machines that allow you to press while seated may be better suited for you. Machines are very stable and do not require you to balance the weight.
Free-weight exercises such as the bench press produce better muscular and skeletal adaptations than machine exercises such as the chest press. The bench press requires the recruitment of smaller stabilizer muscles in its execution. The serratus anterior, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and the coracobrachailis muscles are all recruited for support and thus developed during the bench press.