Build Your Chest Without the Bench Press

When athletes attempt to build a bigger and stronger chest, the Bench Press is the first exercise they typically flock to. It's extremely effective, coaches often test it during the pre-season and it looks downright impressive.

However, the Bench Press is not the only exercise that builds upper-body strength and size. In fact, performing it too frequently will make your workouts stale and impede potential gains.

Add variety to your workouts by trying a chest workout without the Bench. Adding these movements will help you reach your strength and size goals, and may even increase your Bench Press.

Chest Workout Without the Bench

Weighted Push-Ups

Weighted Push-Ups


The Push-Up is probably the first exercise you ever performed. It effectively challenges your chest muscles, engages your core and limits stress on your shoulders.

You can start with regular Push-Ups, but if you regularly perform the Bench Press, they might be too easy. For more of a challenge, wear a weight vest or drape chains across your back, as shown in the video above.

Sets/Reps: 3-5x8-12

TRX Chest Flies

TRX Chest Flies

Instead of lying on a bench and bringing dumbbells together over your chest, perform Flies with TRX straps. This variation makes it a full-body movement, engaging your core and even your legs to maintain a "moving plank" position. And the instability will help prevent shoulder injuries.

Sets/Reps: 2-3x10-12

Weighted Dips

Weighted Dips

Dips are commonly used to work the triceps, but they also work the lower pec muscles, which are not targeted during flat or incline presses.

Start with your bodyweight and add weight as your strength improves by suspending a plate from a belt.

Check out the video at the top.

Sets/Rep: 3-6x6-13

Read more:


Christie Carlson Christie Carlson - Christie Carlson is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and a personal trainer. She earned her Master of Science degree in Exercise and Sports Studies/Kinesiology...
Become a Contributing Expert