Focus On: Chest Press

Hey all! Happy weekend to you!

I am about to head to BodyPUMP, but wanted to leave you with a great move that can be done almost anywhere! And with anything!

get ready!

Focus On: Chest Press

Like biceps curls, you can chest press almost anything. Unlike biceps curls, however, your chest is much stronger than your biceps (I know this because the chest muscles and supporting muscles that get worked in this move are larger–aka stronger–than those muscle being worked during biceps curls)<—no, I am not psychic….I wish!

To do a chest press move correctly:

  1. Lie down on a bench.
  2. Starting with a barbell (or dumbbells) at the top, press the weight down toward the midline of the chest (or heart level).
  3. Stop the weight at about where the elbows are just about bench top level, NOT below. <—-most people do this part totally incorrectly, and thus recruit different muscles, making the move much much easier…..but thus not working the chest properly. The bar/dumbbells should never ‘bounce’ off the chest.
  4. Press the bar/dumbbells/person(<–haha) away from your body by squeezing the elbows in, and thus activating the chest muscles.
  5. At the top of the move, keep the elbows slightly bent, do NOT lock the elbows.

The reason why form is so important in weight lifting is because if that is not in correct position, the move might injure the person and/or totally work the incorrect muscle group. Plus, it is a huge waste of time to do a move with poor form. Sorry, but someone has to say it!

know what he's doing wrong??

The few things I notice at the gym/in class that do this move incorrectly are the following (so fix it if you’re doing it wrong! 😉 )

*my notes and corrections are in italics

  • Locking elbows at the top of the move <—-um we’re weight lifting, not joint destroying
  • Bringing the bar/dumbbells too close to the neck/face <—-keep the bar down by the heart area *see above pic!
  • Lifting the lower back off of the bench to help press the bar away <—–once again, this is a chest press, not a chest and back press
  • At the bottom of the move, letting the elbows go below the bench top level <—–this is just going to hurt your shoulders, and will be harder to press the weight away for the second part of the move! Plus, the bar should never ‘bounce’ off the chest, or even touch the chest!
  • Holding their breath <—–so weird, but a lot of people don’t breathe properly when doing the chest press! Inhale on the way down, exhale on the press up. You’ll know if you’re holding your breath if your face starts to turn red….

This is a great move to tone the entire chest (pectoralis major & pectoralis minor…..or, um, yes, the pecs!). So grab a barbell, some dumbbells, or a person, and start chest pressing away!

Try this short workout for the chest: 3 sets of 12 chest presses—to fatigue (with 20 seconds rest in between sets). Meaning, lift enough weight that the final reps should be close to impossible to finish…..but you can still finish them with proper form.

Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Which part of the chest press is YOUR favorite?? Have YOU ever seen the move done incorrectly from what I mentioned?? What do YOU like to normally chest press: dumbbells, barbells, or people??

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  1. Ah, I totally agree to your chest press tips! One time my elbows locked at the top and it was an instant moment of panic for me!

    ps: sweet blog! Just found it.

  2. These are great tips! I usually lock my elbows at the top of the exercise but I didn’t realize it until you said it, so thank you! Hopefully I won’t be doing that anymore. And I think guys in general don’t breathe right when they lift :) haha

  3. I always have difficulty having good form with these kind of exercises :( Great tips though! I’m hoping to get better at working out my biceps :)

    • It is a concentration thing….and a work at it thing. So no worries, just ‘think’ about when you do it, and keep doing it, and you’ll have it! I STILL have to work on my form as well. No shame :)

  4. This tips is really wonderful. Now I have to focus not to lock my elbow and control my breathing…


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