Chest Press vs Bench Press: An In-Depth Comparison


Our Summary and Answer:


The bench press is widely used in gyms and typically much cheaper than the more expensive chest press. One of the main benefits of using a chest press is that it does not need a wide range of motion which means that you can do the exercise with ease, quickly, and more frequently.


Both training methods are excellent for your muscles and overall health, but you will need to consider both the pros and cons of each piece of equipment before deciding what is best for you.


Today, we will be comparing two of the most popular chest exercises: the bench press and the chest press. While they may seem similar, there are a lot of differences between these two movements that you need to know about before you hit up your next workout.


We will be looking at how each movement is performed, what muscles each target, and some helpful tips for achieving them safely and effectively. So, without further ado, let’s get started!


What Is the Chest Press Machine?

The chest press is a machine that has a handheld weight stack and two handles that you grip onto. The chest press usually comes with both an up and down motion and horizontal motions depending on the model.


You can adjust the machine to fit your height (there is usually a bar for you to position yourself under) and then grab the grips, pulling them towards your body as you push the weights away.


The machine itself is usually set in a seated position which allows you to perform the movement with your back supported, creating a safer environment for your lower back to work in.


You can also adjust the chest press machine’s weight settings, increasing or decreasing depending on how easy or difficult you want your workout to be.


How does the chest press machine work?

The chest press machine works by simulating a bench press but without the need to balance yourself with your legs. The positioning of the machine ensures that you can work out safely and effectively without worrying about hurting yourself from the awkward angles associated with a free weight.


8 Greatest Benefits of The Chest Press Machine

Now that you know what the chest press is, let’s look at some of the benefits you can expect from using a machine like this.


#1 - Safety

The machine is highly safe for your back and spine, ensuring that you can focus on performing the exercise correctly without worrying about getting injured.


#2 - Isolates The Chest

As we know, dumbbells do not always allow for proper isolation of a muscle group (the bench press satisfies this requirement). This means that the chest press machine is a great way to target your chest muscles directly and move towards creating the desired physique.


#3 - Can Be Adjusted to Fit Your Needs

The chest press machine can be adjusted based on what you want to do in your workout, either switching over to an incline or declining position to isolate the upper and lower regions of the chest.


You can also adjust the weight stack to make your workout more accessible or more complicated, so if you are starting, you can take it nice and slow until getting used to things.


#4 - Great for Larger People

If you happen to be a larger person, the chest press machine is perfect for you, especially if you struggle with free weights and your body weight.


The machine’s stability ensures that you can focus on working the muscle without worrying about stability issues or struggling under heavier loads. This means that building lean muscle becomes much easier for you!


#5 - Safer For the Shoulders

As you can probably imagine, pressing weights directly overhead with dumbbells is not the safest of exercises, meaning that if you want to target your shoulders, then a machine like this may be perfect for you.


#6 - Saves Time

As we discussed in the last benefit, pressing weights directly overhead is not an effective or efficient way to work out. If you want to combine your chest and shoulder workout into one, using a machine like this would be perfect for you.


#7 - Can Be Placed in Any Home Gym

The chest press machine is also highly space-efficient, so if you have a home gym, then bringing this into the mix will allow you to work out all your muscles in just one go.


You can also leave the machine set up and use it as you wish, meaning that you do not need to waste time by having to set up and de-rack weights before every workout.


#8 - Ideal For Beginners

As mentioned above, the chest press machine is an excellent way for beginners or those just starting with their home gym workouts.


The machine can be adjusted to fit your needs, making it easier to get the perfect workout every time without wasting any time or effort.


So, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to work out your chest muscles, then using this type of machine will undoubtedly help you achieve that goal!


5 Key Disadvantages of the Chest Press Machine

Now that you know why working on a chest press machine might be the best decision you ever made, let’s look at some of the drawbacks of these machines.


As great as this type of equipment is for your health and wellness, there are some issues that you need to consider before making any decisions.


#1 - The Chest Press Is Not as Challenging

As we have mentioned above, the chest press machine is not as challenging as using free weights. This means that you can hit a plateau and struggle to continue to make improvements in your physique without switching things up a little bit.


#2 - Can Lead to Injury

As great as it may be for your health and wellness, the machine can lead to injury. Without having free weights or your body weight pressing against you, there may be a few issues that you need to look at before deciding.


#3 - Can Be Uncomfortable

As great as modern machines are for our everyday lives, they lack one thing compared to free weights – comfort. Now, this may not be too much of an issue with the chest press machine, but if you are used to using free weights, you may need some time to adjust.


#4 - Less Satisfying

As great as modern workout machines are for your health and wellness, there is no doubt that there is something more satisfying about hitting your mark with free weights.


This is why switching things up often will ensure that you stay mentally and physically satisfied, meaning that you can keep working harder to achieve your goals!


#5 - There Is Less Focus on The Core

As we touched on briefly above, the chest press machine can leave you feeling a little stiff in your core region. This means that if you want to ensure that you are getting the most out of every workout, it might be worth combining chest presses with another type of exercise.


8 Benefits of The Bench Press

Now that you know a little more about the bench press let’s look at some of the benefits of using this type of equipment.


#1 - Builds Muscle Mass

As you are lifting free weights, the bench press is a great way to help you build muscle mass, tone your body, and improve your fitness and health.


#2 - Prevents Injuries

Using free weights will undoubtedly help prevent injuries as you are using your body weight rather than a machine that can be harsh on your muscles and joints.


#3 - Improved Fitness and Health

As we have mentioned above, the bench press is a great way to work on your core and upper body muscles, which means that you will see improvements in your overall fitness and wellbeing.


#4 - Burns Calories

The bench press is a great way to help you build muscle mass which means that you can burn more calories while you are working out too! This means that you can continue to improve your physique by using the bench press.


#5 - Can Improve Your Posture

If done correctly, the bench press is a great way to work on your posture. This is because you will be strengthening your muscles, which can help improve your posture and make you look taller.


#6 - You Can Exercise with Your Partner

If you are looking for a convenient way to keep fit and healthy together with your partner, then why not try the bench press at home? All you need is some free weights which means that you can switch things up if necessary.


#7 - Increase Your Confidence

As you will be improving your fitness and health, this can only lead to increased confidence, which means you will feel happier in yourself.


#8 - No Need for Much Space

If you are looking for an exercise machine that does not need much space, the bench press is undoubtedly the one for you! As it does not need much space, this means that you can use it in the comfort of your own home.


6 Disadvantages of Using the Bench Press

Now that we know about the benefits of the bench press let’s look at some of the drawbacks.


#1 - Easy To Get Hurt

Although we mentioned that free weights would help prevent injuries while you exercise, the bench press is still an exercise machine which means that it can be harmful if not used correctly.


#2 - Requires A Lot of Effort

If you are looking for a quick workout, then the bench press is not for you. Using this equipment will require a lot of effort and may not be suitable if you lack motivation.


#3 - The Weight Can Fall on Your Hands And Wrists

The weight is falling from above your head while using this equipment; the bench press can be very dangerous and cause injury if you do not have a spotter.


#4 - Needs A Wide Range of Motion

The bench press requires a wide range of motion, which can be very hard on your shoulder and rotator cuff.


#5 - Requires A Lot of Knowledge

The bench press requires a lot of knowledge to be carried out safely and correctly, so you might need an experienced person to supervise your training.


#6 - More Difficult to Perform

The bench press can be more challenging to perform than other exercises, especially if you are looking for a workout similar to your professional training.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Reps Should I Do for The Bench Press?

As the bench press is a great way to work on your muscles, you can do anywhere between 6-12 reps for this exercise.


How Often Should I Do the Bench Press?

If you are just starting out with chest training or if it has been a very long time since you last worked out your chest, then we recommend that you do 8 reps per set and 4 sets each session.


Is chest press as good as bench press?

Compared to the bench press, the chest press is far safer as it does not require a lot of weight and does not require a wide range of motion.


Is bench press hard?

If you are looking for an exercise that will help you build muscle mass, then the bench press can be challenging but is certainly worth it in the end!


What muscles does chest press work?

The chest press will work the same muscles as the bench press, which means you will work your chest, triceps, and shoulders.


Can you build muscle with a chest press?

The chest press is a great way to help you build muscle mass which means that you can burn more calories while you are working out too! You will benefit from using the bench press.


What is a good workout for the chest?

There are many great exercises that you could try to develop your pectoral muscles, such as the bench press and push-ups. However, we all have different preferences, which means that what works for someone else may not work for you!


Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that both exercises are great for giving your body a workout. Although the bench press may be beneficial in some ways, it can also present various risks; however, you can use this information to guide you when choosing what equipment will work best for you!


We hope this article has helped you understand the bench press better and perhaps, help you decide what piece of equipment, if any, will work best for your needs.