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Sculpt a Chiseled Chest With a Machine Bench Press

April 4, 2013 | Joe Giandonato

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Get in a challenging chest workout whether you're on the road or stalled out because your weight room partner bailed with another lame excuse. (No gym? No problem The Bedroom Bodyweight Workout.)

Even the most pathetic weight room has a few free weights and a machine bench. Free weights are great for building strength and size, but they sometimes require a spotter—in contrast to machines, which are generally safer for solo training and do not require spotters.

But "safe" doesn't mean "ineffective." Performing the Machine Bench Press with intense effort, together with bodyweight exercises, will provide your major muscles with plenty of stimulus while alsoengaging your small stabilizer muscles. (See form techniques first.)

Machine Bench Press Workout

Equipment Needed: Machine bench press (selector or plate-loaded type)

Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii

Sets/Reps: 2-4x8-15

  • Situate yourself in the bench machine: make sure that your head, shoulders, back, hips and buttocks are in contact with the pads
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor or the machine footplate
  • Keep the handles of the bench machine aligned with the middle of your chest; your elbows should fall below your mid-chest and your arms should be parallel to the floor before you begin
  • Inhale and firmly grasp the handles
  • Brace your core, drive your shoulder blades back into the bench and push your heels through the floor
  • Exhale and press the handles away from your body
  • Lock out your elbows, while keeping your head, shoulders, back, hips and buttocks in contact with the bench and your feet firmly on the ground or footplate the entire time
  • Slowly return the handles back to starting position

To make the Machine Bench Press more challenginglengthen the eccentric (or negative) phase, push the handles just shy of lockout or reduce your rest interval between sets. Or, depending on your goals and training experience, pair each set of machine Bench Presses with a Push-Up variation. (See 10 Powerful Push-Up Variations.)

Topics: BENCH PRESS
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
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