Are you looking to bulk up, tone, or define your chest? The best way to do it is with a bench press machine. Chest press machines specifically target your pectoral muscles for a challenging workout that focuses on your chest but also works your shoulders and triceps.
Both men and women can benefit from chest-enhancing workouts for strength and aesthetics. Keep reading for our review of the top bench press machines and chest-enhancing products that you can use at home.
Before you begin your search for a new bench press machine, read our buying guide! We’ve included tips and considerations for finding the best chest press machines and chest-enhancing products for you.
One downside to owning your own equipment: You are responsible for cleaning and maintenance. Have no fear! We’ll lay out all the possible expenses and new responsibilities that come with exercise equipment like a bench press machine.
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What Types of Chest Press Machines are Out There?
Here are several types of bench press machines available on the market. In addition, we included some other chest-enhancing products if you find chest press machines are not the best option for your home fitness area:
Seated Chest Press Machine
When using a seated chest press machine, you sit at the machine and push the handlebars away from you. When performing a machine bench press, you want to make sure you keep your wrists as straight as possible. Bending them too much can not only injure them but doesn’t properly transfer the resistance into the chest. You also want to take care not to lock out your elbows when pushing.
This not only protects your joints but keeps the muscle working. There can be a variety of handgrips and arm positions on a seated bench press machine, but it tends to only work the middle and upper parts of the chest.
Seated chest press machines are more upright than the chest press machines that require you to lie down. These machines can come with built-in weights or may require you to have your own weight plates.
Incline Chest Press Machine
Incline chest press machines require you to lie on a padded bench. Depending on the machine, the incline chest press may have the ability to adjust the angle of the bench for an incline, flat, or decline workouts. The handlebars are attached to the machine and may require weight plates for resistance.
These machines are versatile since you can change the angle of the bench you’re laying on, therefore changing which chest muscles you are using. The tips from the seated chest press still apply here as you don’t want to let your wrists bend too much when pressing and want to stop short of locking out your elbows.
Cable Bench Press Machine
There are other chest press machines that use weighted cables rather than handlebars. You push the weight cables away from you to engage your chest muscles. Weighted cable bench press machines are often multi-faceted and can perform tons of workouts.
Weight cables force you to really focus on your form and technique since you have a full range of motion and less stability when using the cables (1). This recruits smaller stabilizer muscles and helps to build better functional strength.
A bench press differs slightly from the other chest press machines. However, it can work the same muscles. A bench press requires you to lie on a weight bench and push up a barbell from a rack. Unlike the other chest press machines, the barbell is not attached to the machine.
Also, weight benches can be adjustable so you can get incline, flat, and decline workouts for your chest. The flat bench press machine will allow you to put the maximum weight load into the chest, resulting in more muscle growth. The bench press also builds power in the upper body along with developing the deltoids and triceps.
There are many popular pushup grips and bars on the market that can give you similar results as a chest press machine. Pushup equipment uses your own bodyweight to build muscle and functional strength. You place the pushup equipment on the floor and do pushups, which are another great functional strength exercise.
The ability to perform pushups not only builds your pecs, deltoids, and triceps but strengthens the back and core muscles. Pushups also require balance and coordination as they involve the whole body, and this is the functional benefit of this exercise.
Pushup equipment can range from an all-in-one pushup bar or separate pushup grips. These products can be very simple, or they can have rotating handles to work all areas of your chest.
We will review products in every one of these categories so you can pinpoint which chest-enhancing product is best for you. Now that you have a better understanding of the different ways to get the chest you want, check out the list below for the top-rated chest press machines.
#1) Best Bench Press Equipment
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This is another chest press machine that can give you a full-body workout with exercises to emphasize your chest. With it, you can work your abs, arms, legs, and chest.
- The seat and backrest are adjustable so you can use flat, military-style, incline, and decline positions
- You can use it for the bench press with a weight bar between 6 and 7 feet long
- Plate weights and barbell required and not included with the unit
- The product weighs 86.5 lbs. Size: 76 in x 56 in x 55 in
Who Makes It:
This machine is made by Body Champ, which is a product line of Body Flex Sports Inc. The company makes equipment and machines geared towards enthusiastic weight lifters. In their machines, the equipment manufacturer always aims to offer real challenges for the body and excellent quality. Combining innovation and classic designs, Body Flex Sports Inc. provides machines that stand the test of time.
The Bottom Line:
This machine is best for those who have limited space or want to downsize to one piece of equipment that will meet all of their home gym needs. It’s important to keep in mind that if you want to achieve the full setup, you also must purchase a barbell and weights to perform the bench press or squats.
#2) Best Seated Chest Press Machine
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This seated chest press machine is part of a complete total body home gym. This product can exercise the muscles in your back, chest, legs, and arms. It also includes all the weight necessary for using this product.
- Can exercise muscles in your chest, back, arms, and legs for a full-body home workout
- Includes both a bench press and cable press station
- Highly adjustable seat, bench, and handlebars for user customization
- Total product weight is 575 lbs. Dimensions: 82.9in x 56.5in x 82in
Who Makes It:
Bodycraft strives to master “the art and science of movement.” They found the company in 1994 with the mission to create fun and motivating fitness equipment for their users. They strive to make high-quality products that are safe, affordable and offer variety for their customers to choose from.
The Bottom Line:
For beginners trying out home workouts or new to strength training, this may be the best choice for getting into your new fitness lifestyle. Not only does this product have various chest press exercises, but it also is capable of exercising your back, legs, and arms. Consider this all-in-one product as your one-stop-shop for home workouts. Who would have thought that you could have an entire gym by purchasing one product? One thing to note: This is a huge and heavy piece of equipment (and a huge investment), so make sure you have the room and funds for this product.
#3) Best Incline Chest Press Machine
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This incline chest press machine received 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. It is also an “Amazon’s Choice” product. You can use this incline chest press on several areas of your chest, giving you a well-rounded chest workout.
- Heavy-duty steel frame (2in x 2in)
- Adjustable bench press for incline or flat chest exercises (can also do abdominal exercises)
- Plate weights required and not included with the unit
- Total product weight is 83 lbs. Dimensions: 44in x 20in x 10in
Who Makes It:
Based in Florida, Valor Fitness is a company that sells over 400 fitness products to home exercisers, studios, professional athletes, and commercial gyms. Their beginnings in 2006 were rough and plagued with financial hardship and the personal struggles of its founders. After several years of challenges, the company moved from a single-family home to a large warehouse in order to accommodate increasing sales.
The Bottom Line:
This product is optimal for someone who is looking to add a chest machine to a fitness area that already has free weights and plate weights available. If you are an avid home exercise enthusiast, consider investing in this tried-and-true incline chest press machine to reach your chest goals.
The Essential Buying Guide for Chest Press Machines: Things to Remember
After reading the reviews above, you can see that there are many options in chest press machines. How do you choose? To make selecting your chest press equipment easier, here is a list of the important factors you should consider:
Your Chest Goals
Not everyone wants to bulk up their chest. Some people want to tone, create definition, or perk up their breasts. Once you identify what you really want out of your chest exercises, choosing the equipment is easy.
If you want to build muscle and bulk up, choose one of the products that uses weights (not just your body weight). Some products can accommodate more weight than others. If you want toning, definition, and perkiness, you should opt for the products that use your own bodyweight or those that have lower weight options.
Some of the products in this review require additional items for use. The cost of plate weights can add up, especially if you’re an experienced lifter and need to add more than a few fives. You may also need a barbell, particularly for the bench press.
That is another expense! When using plate weights, it’s best to use weight clamps to keep the weight plates secure while you work out. Additional items you might also consider are a power rack or squat rack for your barbell and a weight plate storage rack. Not all the items on this list have these requirements, but it is important to note.
Understand the Fine Print
Pay attention when buying any fitness equipment! It’s important to read the fine print so you aren’t surprised when you receive your equipment. Remember, they sell some chest press equipment with weights, whereas others require additional purchases.
Space and Footprint
Regardless of which chest press equipment you choose, make sure you have plenty of space in the area you plan to keep the equipment. Some of these products are tall and big. In addition, we reviewed products from mobile handgrips to large total-body gym stations. So, choose the equipment that will best complement your home and fitness area.
Should I invest in a chest press machine?
You may wonder if chest press equipment is really a worthy investment for you. You may have other equipment and other expenses in your home fitness area, but chest press machines can complement any home exercise routine.
As you will see in the reviews below, chest press machines and other chest-enhancing products fit with any budget. They can also be included as a set with other fitness equipment, giving you a full-body exercise, and saving you money.
Bench press machines are specifically designed to target your chest muscles, giving you a highly efficient workout. These machines are one of the best ways to get the chest you want quickly. Some machines allow for heavy weight to be added to challenge your muscles for growth.
The ability to add more weight is critical for making progress; The more you can increase the weight you can lift, the more you can progress with muscle building. Muscles require progressive overload to get larger and stronger.
Many women fear chest exercises will make them look buff. If you’re not interested in bulking up your chest, lower weight or bodyweight chest exercise equipment can improve strength in women and perk up your breasts.
Regardless of what your chest and shaping goals are, it’s best to check in with your doctor before you begin a weight lifting routine. This way, you can make sure you’re aware of any limitations and reduce your risk of injury.
Tips to Caring for Your New Chest Press Equipment
- New equipment is exciting, but it’s also a responsibility. Now you’re in charge of maintaining and cleaning the equipment. For the larger equipment we reviewed, there may be steel frames, leather seats, moving joints, and cables. All of which have the potential for damage over long-term use.
- The pushup equipment is used on the floor. Make sure your floor is clean or get into the habit of frequently cleaning the pushup equipment. No one wants to workout on dirty, dusty equipment!
- If plate weights are required for your chest press machine, be sure to store them on a weight rack. It’s also important never to drop your free weights on the floor to avoid damaging your property or even yourself.
- If there are children or pets in your home, safety is a top priority. Store your free weights in a way that’s safe. For example, keep your fitness equipment in a room with a lock. Or, keep your free weight rack in a locked closet. To avoid damage to yourself and others, always use precaution when using free weights, barbells and other exercise equipment.
The Bottom Line on Investing in a Chest Press Machine for Your Home
Chest press machines are great for targeting key chest muscles for bulking up, defining, and toning, but sometimes you don’t want to buy a huge machine that only does one workout. Luckily, chest press machines are often seamlessly included in full-body stations or can be incorporated as small body-weight workouts.
Even after reading this article, you still may feel lost as to which chest press machine is the perfect fit for you. A word of advice: The chest press machines are diverse and can fit anyone’s needs.
The most difficult part is determining what you are truly looking for in chest-enhancing bench press workouts! Don’t worry though! You can always refer back to our essential buying guide so you know you are making an educated purchase.
Which chest press products are you most interested in trying? The all-in-one gym? What about the pushup equipment? Tell us about your favorite chest press products in the comments below.