How To Do A Chest Press

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating a Chest Press

The chest press is an upper body exercise that uses dumbbells to primarily strengthen your chest, with your arms and shoulders being the helper muscles. The chest press is a great complimentary exercise to push-ups. Or if you can’t do push-ups, it’s a great alternative because you take the bodyweight pressure off your shoulders.

A chest press is a great exercise to do with a barbell and most people probably recognize the barbell version over the dumbbell version. However, the dumbbell chest press definitely has advantages. By getting each arm to hold a dumbbell rather than the two arms holding the same bar, you are forcing independent training of each side. This allows for more muscle growth and joint stability.

This dumbbell chest press will also allow you to choose how wide you open the weights, knowing that the wider you go the more challenging it will be. Be careful, however, not to go so wide that you put your shoulders at risk. Start with lighter weights and progress to heavier weights as you gain more confidence and build strength.

Upper body strength is an important part of the entire strength training picture. Beyond vanity, a strong upper body is important for practical living and everyday activites like pushing, lifting and pulling.

Try this exercise in our workout 5 Gravity Fighting Moves For Your Chest.

Here are the steps to performing a chest press:

1) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Engage your abdominals and keep your low back from arching. Elbows are bent and dumbbells start at shoulder height.

2) Extend arms fully pressing away from your chest. Slowly lower to start position.

Target muscles: chest (pectorals), shoulders, biceps

(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
Skip to content