The chest press is a versatile exercise that can be performed with barbells, dumbbells, bar and plates or even with resistance bands. It develops mainly the pectoral muscles of the chest. A qualified trainer is recommended to guide you through appropriate execution, particularly for more serious bench pressing with heavy weights. This description uses dumbbells.
Positioning the Body
Lie on the bench or floor with a dumbbell in each hand and your feet flat on the surface. If you use a bench, you may have the feet up on the bench or on the floor, whichever is comfortable for bench height and your body and leg length.
Position the dumbbells at the shoulders with upper arms at about 45 degrees to the body with elbows forward of the shoulder line to avoid stress on the shoulder joint. The palms should face forward.
Brace the abdominal muscles, tilt the chin slightly toward the chest and ensure you have a stable and comfortable position. You’re ready to lift.
Push the weights upward, taking care not to lock out the elbows in an explosive movement. The weights should follow a shallow arc and almost meet over the top of the chest.
It’s okay to straighten the arms as long as you don’t do it with sudden force.
Try to move the weights in a controlled, smooth and not-too-fast lift. The head or shoulder blades should not rise off the bench.
Lower the weights under control and muscle contraction to the starting position.
To start with, you could try three sets of 10 exercise repetitions of an appropriate weight.
Maintain the natural arch in the lower back; don’t force the back into the surface. This is called the lordotic curve and is a natural stability mechanism.
Don’t allow the forearms to spread wide so that the weights are outside the line of the elbows. Move in an arc toward the center of the chest but don’t clash the weights.
Don’t contort the upper body and shoulders to thrust the weights upward. This suggests the weights are too heavy.
If fatigue occurs during the latter repetitions of any set, reduce the repetition numbers or go for lighter weights.
It’s okay to place the weights down between sets if you wish. You don’t have to hold them at the shoulders.