How To

Seated Chest Press - Plate loaded


The chest press helps build the pectoral muscles while also working the biceps, deltoids, and latissimus dorsi. The seated chest press is an upright version of the lying bench press and a great addition to an upper-body strength workout. Here is what you need to know about performing the seated chest press using a chest press machine.

Benefits of the Seated Chest Press

This exercise targets the pectorals, the main muscles of the chest. These are the same muscles you use when pushing a shopping trolley or getting up off the floor.

Developing the pecs is an aesthetic goal for many people. It’s also important because strength in these muscles decreases with age, potentially increasing your injury risk while decreasing your mobility and quality of life.1

The chest press machine also recruits the biceps and the big muscles of the shoulders and back. That makes this exercise especially beneficial for those who participate in sports that involve the swinging of a bat, racket, or club.

Seated Chest Press vs. Bench Press

The seated chest press machine removes the recruitment of stabilizing muscles that are required to keep your body steady when performing the bench press. This means, you are targeting the chest muscles, but not the muscles that work with the chest to perform pressing movements. For functional fitness, this could be less desirable.

However, if you want to add more volume to your chest workout without tiring additional muscles and managing overall fatigue, the seated chest press is a good choice. Additionally, the bench press recruits more overall muscle fibres in the chest than the machine.

How to Do a Seated Chest Press

After setting the chest press machine at the desired weight, sit with your feet firmly on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. If the seat is adjustable, ensure that its position allows your arms to be horizontal when fully extended. Here is how to perform the exercise.

  1. Grasp the handles with a full grip, your thumb circled around the handle.
  2. Maintain a neutral wrist position with your wrists in line with your forearms.
  3. Exhale and push outward until your arms are fully extended (don’t lock the elbows).
  4. Keep your head steady against the back support during this movement and your neck still. You should feel resistance against the horizontal push.
  5. Pause briefly at full extension.
  6. Bend your elbows and return to the starting position, breathing in during this recovery.
If this is your first time using a chest press machine, use lighter weights. 
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