Bench Press vs. Chest Press: Pros and Cons

When you’re crafting your exercise routine, you want to be sure that each and every part of it works well for you. As such, when deciding between similar exercises, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each in order to make the best possible decision. That being said, let’s take a look at two popular weight-lifting exercises: the bench press vs. the chest press.

Similarities and Differences

Generally speaking, the bench press vs. the chest press are very similar exercises. They target similar muscle groups in the arms, shoulders, and chest. They have very similar effects on your muscle growth. Their main difference, however, lies in the equipment they use. While a bench press typically uses a barbell, you’ll need a machine to do chest presses. So, knowing the similarities and differences between the two exercises, which of them is right for you?

Bench Press

Man doing bench press

The bench press is one of the most popular powerlifting forms, and for good reason. It’s simple, it’s effective, and aside from weights, doesn’t require much special equipment to do. Many people appreciate the challenge of a bench press, as well as the massive gains that come with it.

The main drawback, however, is safety. Though most of the risk associated with bench presses can be mitigated by taking the proper precautions. Keep in mind what exactly a bench press is. You’re lifting a metal bar, possibly over one hundred kilograms, above your chest. So you can’t just let go if you start feeling tired, as dropping the bar could result in serious injuries. However, this can largely be prevented with a proper lifting rack and a spotter to help you rack the barbell once you’re done.

Chest Press

Man doing bench press

The chest press, on the other hand, is a much more beginner-friendly alternative, and presents significantly less risk of serious injury. However, chest presses require far more equipment than bench presses. Some of which you may not have or be able to afford. Typically, chest presses require a dedicated machine to do, so you’ll probably need to pay your local gym a visit rather than doing them at home. However, if you don’t mind the extra distance, they’re an excellent alternative to bench presses, especially if you’re just starting out on your lifting journey.

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