Machine chest press exercise

Machine chest press

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Synergists: Clavicular (Upper) Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, Triceps Brachii
  • Mechanics: compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  • Adjust the seat so that the handles are approximately chest height.
  • Sit in the chest press machine with your back pressed firmly against the back rest.
  • Grasp the handles with a pronated (overhand) grip.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the ground.


  • Exhale as you press the handles out until your arms are fully extended.
  • Inhale as you reverse the motion until you feel a mild stretch in your chest.
  • Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • To minimize the pressure on your shoulder joints, keep your elbows a little lower than your shoulders.
  • Some chest press machines have a foot lever that will help you to push the handles forward from their resting positions, making them easier to grasp at the start of the exercise. Otherwise, you’d have to stretch your arms far back to grasp the handles. After you grasp the handles, you have to release the lever before starting to press. Once the set is over, you have to use the same foot lever to brace the handles and lower them back to their resting positions without having to stretch your arms far back.
  • The machine chest press is great if you want to push very heavy weights with your chest but don’t have anyone to help you with the barbell bench press. Otherwise, the barbell bench press is favorable to the machine chest press. The reason is that the barbell bench press necessitates the recruitment of more stabilizer muscles. The machine chest press is also great for beginners, the elderly, and people undergoing rehabilitation.
  • See also the standing cable chest press and the dumbbell squeeze bench press.

Machine chest press video

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