How To Do Chest Press

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating a Chest Press

Chest Press is an upper body exercise that uses dumbbells to strengthen your chest, arms and shoulders. If you learn how to do Chest Press you will have another move beyond push-ups that strengthens multiple upper body muscles. In fact, Chest Press is a great complimentary exercise to push-ups. Do a set of Push-Ups, then do a set of Chest Press and you have a great super-set pair to cover all the muscles in the chest! Not only do you cover more muscles and muscle fibers, but you get both body weight and dumbbell moves all in one set!

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. Often when we don’t make that happen, the stronger arm tends to take over and the weaker arm never has a chance to catch up. 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. The shoulders connective tissue is vulnerable and easily injured, so move slowly and start with lighter weights. You can work your way up to heavier weights as you gain more confidence.

Upper body strength is an important part of the entire strength training picture. Beyond vanity, a strong upper body is important for practical living. It only takes a simple fall to knock someone off their game; especially if you are unable to push your own body weight back up off the ground. Chest Press will train you for a stronger and more capable upper body for all you have to do. And of course a great upper body looks fantastic!  Try this exercise in our workout 5 Gravity Fighting Moves For Your Chest.

Here are the steps to performing Chest Press:

1) Lie on back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Elbows are bent and dumbbells start at shoulder height.

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

Targets: chest, shoulders, biceps


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