Chest workout: what type of bench press is best for chest muscles definition

Chest workout

Last Updated on

What type of bench press is best for developing chest muscles? Find out what exercises you need to build chest muscles in the gym.

what type of bench press is best

What type of bench press is best for developing chest muscles

Bench Press is a Safe Exercise? Which bench press is better: on a horizontal bench, incline or on a bench with a reverse incline? These issues are especially significant on Mondays, which many consider the international day of chest training.


There is no exercise more discussed in a sports environment than a bench press. “How much do you press?” – Probably everyone heard this question.

In powerlifting, the bench press is one of three competitive movements and the only exercise in which only the muscles of the upper body work. In bodybuilding, this can be both an excellent exercise for the pectoral muscles and a cause of injury.



Bench presses are the basis of chest training. No one can argue with that. However, they have both advantages and a number of disadvantages.

Pros of the bench press:

  1. The pectoral muscles and arms participate in movement synchronously. Due to this, you can perform a bench press with a higher weight than when working with dumbbells.
  2. The bench press increases strength. Working with large weights makes you feel stronger.
  3. Since the exercise is performed with free weight, the work of stabilizer muscles is necessary to control the barbell. Work in simulators does not. Therefore, beginners often add this exercise to their training programs.

Cons bench press:

  1. Your shoulders are in danger. They are pressed to the bench, so they can not turn and help in movement. Due to the risk of injury to the shoulder joint, many athletes avoid this exercise.
  2. If you do not follow the correct bench press technique, this can lead to tearing of the pectoral muscle or other serious injury. This will stop your progress.
  3. When no one insures you and you cannot squeeze the barbell – this is another possible scenario for getting injured. For this reason, a dumbbell press is preferable.

It all depends on what goals you set for yourself. If you want to become stronger and bigger, then it is advisable to work with a barbell. If the possible risks are not worth it, then it’s better to abandon the bench press and choose another bench press for yourself.

Upper Chest Workout With A Bench Press

Exercises Number of sets Number of repetitions
1. Bench press 5 5
2. Incline Bench press 3 8
3. Dumbbell wiring on a horizontal bench 3 10
4. Bench press on the upper chest 3 12


Training The Pectoral Muscles Without A Bench Press Machine

Exercises Number of sets Number of repetitions
1. Dumbbell bench press on an incline bench (slight incline) 3 8
2. Sitting Bench press 3 8
3. Hands fly 3 10
4. Bodyweight push-ups 3 To failure




First you need to decide if you really need a lying bench press. Now let’s figure out which version of the bench press you need to use to achieve specific goals.

Lying Bench press on a horizontal bench for upper chest workout

If this exercise suited Arnold Schwarzenegger, then it will suit you too, right? During the golden era of bodybuilding, bench press was considered the main exercise for the chest. But here there are some nuances. In the 1970s, everyone did it, but now it is considered no longer so effective.

If you are a powerlifter, then everything is obvious. The bench press is one of three competitive exercises. Also in American football, it is used to test physical performance. Athletes need to reap a barbell weighing 100 kilograms for the maximum number of times. It develops strength and endurance.

For other athletes, the bench press is not so useful.

Performing it, it is difficult to work out the pectoral muscles in isolation; there is also a great risk of injury.

In addition, there is always the temptation to put on more weight to test your strength.

Therefore, the bench press on a horizontal bench can become an obstacle to gaining muscle mass. Fortunately, you have two more options if you understand that the bench press on a horizontal bench is not suitable for you.

Incline Bench press for chest and shoulder workout

The bench press on an inclined bench is more popular among bodybuilders, since the upper chest is more powerful here. The developed upper part gives the chest a “protruding” look that Arnold demonstrated in lateral poses in his best years.

There is not a single athlete whose upper chest is too developed. Therefore, the vast majority of chest workouts are built around incline bench presses.

There are only two drawbacks:

  1. Since the angle of the bench is higher, the working weight will be less than on a horizontal bench. Some athletes do some preliminary fatigue:  first, they press heavy weight on a horizontal bench, and then calmly work on an inclined bench.
  2. The shoulders are more involved in the movement, due to this it is more difficult to concentrate on the work of the chest. Most athletes use a tilt angle of 30–45 degrees. Instead, it’s better to take a bench with an adjustable level of inclination and put it on the racks. So you can perform the bench at a smaller angle. This will increase the load on the upper chest and minimize the work of the deltoid muscles. The only difficulty is that the bench and squats are free.

Reverse Incline Bench Press For Upper Chest Definition

Bench press on a bench with a negative slope is not even nearly as common as the two previous exercises. In some rooms on these benches is a layer of dust. However, not everything is so simple.

A study conducted in 1997 found that the bench press lying upside down heavily loaded the lower chest, and the load on the upper chest was the same as with the bench press. Six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates is a big fan of the upside-down press for precisely this reason.

The obvious drawback of this exercise is the risk.

If you do not have an insurance partner or if your weight is too large, then you are in great risk of injury. You can drop the bar on your chest or even on your neck.

The amplitude of movement here is shorter, and some athletes feel that they can not work out the muscles, performing such short movements. For this and other reasons, many prefer to push up on the uneven bars to work out the lower chest.

Author: admin