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How to Use a Bench Press: 7 Best Chest Exercises You Can Do Using This Machine

Guide to the best chest exercises using the bench press. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)
Guide to the best chest exercises using the bench press. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Andrea Piacquadio)

If you have access to a bench press, you must have wondered about the best chest exercises you can do on that bench. However, bench press isn’t only for your chest; you can use it for compound movements that work on your triceps as well.

Before knowing the best chest exercises you can do using the machine, it’s important to understand how it works.


How to Use Bench Press?

The bench press isn’t a machine attached to cables or pulleys. It’s a bench with a barbell rack attached to it. Usually, there is more than one height for the rack to make it easier for everyone to use it.

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Place the barbell on the hooks; rack them with a suitable weight, and lay on the bench. Your forehead should be underneath the barbell, and you should be able to grab the barbell on extending your arms while maintaining a bend from your elbows.

This is your starting position. To do any exercise, push the barbell slightly upwards to take it off the rack, and proceed with the exercise you want to do.


Best Chest Exercises You Can Do Using Bench Press

While the most common exercise done using the bench press is the barbell chest press, here are seven other chest exercises you can do.

1) Barbell Chest Press

This is a classic exercise for your chest muscles.

Once you’ve racked the barbell with suitable weights, ensure you’re not holding a close-grip or a wide grip. It should have a medium grip.

When you do the chest press as you lower the barbell, try not to flare your elbows too much. The entire pressure should be on your chest muscles. This exercise works on your pecs, triceps and shoulders.

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2) Wide Grip Bench Press

To do this exercise, place your palms wide apart. If you’ve never done this exercise before, it’s advised that you start with a lower weight.

This is one of the best chest exercises for the lower pecs, but it works on the upper pecs, triceps and shoulders too.


3) Close Grip Bench Press

This exercise uses the bench press but works on your triceps as the primary muscle group.

To do the exercise, place your palms in a close grip, and proceed to take it off the rack, and do a barbell press. You can keep your palms at forehead-width or chest-width or palm-width apart.

The closer your palms are, the harder it’ll be to push the barbell but the more intensely your tricep muscles will be worked on.

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Ideally, you should begin with the basic movement before moving to the advanced variations.


4) Explosive Chest Press

This is a variation of the barbell bench press but is one of the best chest exercises to boost muscle strength and endurance. It’s better to use lighter weights for this movement.

Lower the barbell towards your chest slowly (controlling the negative), and push it up in a fast explosive motion. Control the negative while lowering the barbell and pushing it up with force.

This variation does not put much pressure on your shoulders but is completely focused on utilising the chest muscles.


5) Superset

A superset is a combination of two exercises that are done consecutively to turn them into one set. You can combine a barbell bench press with another chest exercise, preferably an isolation movement, such as fly or push-ups.


6) Drop Set

A drop set is when you do the same exercise multiple times in one set but keep dropping the weights and increasing the reps with each round.

For example, you can begin chest press with 25 kg/ 55 lb, and do five reps. Immediately, drop the weight, and take it to 20 kg/ 45 lbs, and do seven reps. Right after that, drop the weight to 18 kg/ 40 lb, and do ten reps.

You can do drop sets for as many rounds as you wish to, but ideally the weight is dropped three or four times in one set.


7) Burnout Set

A burnout set is the ultimate way to tire your muscles and force the fibres to grow back thicker and stronger.

Barbells usually have a weight of their own. You can choose to do a burnout set without weights, or you can add light weights, depending on your strength and muscle endurance.

If you’re looking for one of the best chest exercises to finish your workout with, this is the set you should look for.

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Edited by Bhargav
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