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The 5 Best Chest Press Machines for a Big Chest

The 5 Best Chest Press Machines for a Big Chest

Are you ready to amplify your chest workouts at home? Maybe you’re ready to up the ante of your chest workouts in your home fitness space and are looking for exercise equipment that can get you there. Or, do you already workout at a commercial gym but want to sneak in some more chest workouts to really make gains? Consider a chest press machine for your home.

With a chest press machine, you can pack on lots of weight to get a muscle-shredding chest workout. A chest press machine may the key to bulking up and making you stronger. Even if bulking up is not necessarily your main goal, resistance training on chest press machines is great for the young, the old, the exceptionally strong and those who are unconditioned (1).

In this article, we will discuss the research behind chest press exercises as well as give you a list of the best chest press machines for your home. Also, you do not want to miss out on our super-shredder chest workout. While the chest workout in this article is awesome in its own right, we also link you to several of our other upper body workouts. You now have a comprehensive and intense upper body workout regimen right at your fingertips! Read on for more.

Before we get into the best chest press machines on the market, let’s take a look at all the ways you can exercise your chest:

Equipment for Chest-Shredding Workouts

There is a wide variety of chest workouts you can do to improve the look of your chest. Don’t limit yourself to a flat bench press! Here is a breakdown of numerous equipment you can use to get the chest you’ve been hoping for:

Weight Bench + Barbell

Man Using A Weight Bench and Barbell For FitnessWhen you think of bodybuilding exercises for a big chest, a weight bench and barbell may come to mind. Free weight barbell exercises are very common and very effective for building your chest muscles. While you may think that classic chest exercises with a barbell are best, one thing to keep in mind is that barbell exercises have a higher rate of elbow soreness than other types of lifting equipment.

Depending on the equipment you use, you can perform chest exercises on flat weight benches or those on an angle. Decline chest press machines consist of a weight bench where the head of the bench is angled towards the ground. This equipment focuses on the lower chest muscles.

You can also do weight bench chest exercises on an incline chest press machine. With an incline bench, you sit almost upright. In terms of intensity, bench presses on an incline bench may be the most difficult!

Another similar type of chest equipment would be a Smith machine. Instead of using a free weight barbell, the Smith machine is constructed with a barbell that moves up and down on a track. With these machines, you can place a weight bench within the Smith machine and add weight to the Smith barbell. The barbell will move up and down the track during use.

Assisted Chest Press Machine

Man Using An Assisted Chest Press MachineThe alternative to bench press exercises would be to perform exercises on a chest press machine. You may be curious about the mechanics behind the chest press machine versus a bench press. While they both exercise the chest muscles, the way the weight is used differs completely.

As mentioned above, a bench press exercise uses a free weight barbell and weight plates. A chest press machine, on the other hand, uses weight blocks on a cable. This is more commonly known as a “weight stack.” The chest press machine is connected to the weight stack by a cable. When you engage the handlebars on the chest press machine, the cable pulls on the weight stack and creates resistance on your chest.

Miscellaneous Chest Equipment

You may also see people at the gym using dumbbells for chest workouts. Aside from dumbbells, you can get creative and press with cable weights or suspended weights like a barbell with kettlebells hanging from each end.

While some people swear that unstable weight exercises (i.e. the kettlebell and barbell combination) are far better for strength, balance and stability, one study showed that there is no difference in weight lifting performance between a stable weight load and an unstable weight load.

Choosing the Best Chest Equipment

Now that you understand the differences between the types of chest equipment available, you perhaps have a better idea of which type of equipment is best for you. Take a look at the Fitnessator top picks in chest press machines. As you will see, some of the chest press machines offer a mixture of other chest equipment as well. For links to our ultimate upper body workouts, see our sample workout section near the end of this article.

Fitnessator’s Top Pick 

Xpress Pro Home Gym– The Best Chest Press Machine for Max Outs

Xpress Pro Home Gym by BodyCraftWhy We Love It:

As you will see, the Xpress Pro chest press machine has the highest amount of weight you can add to your chest workouts. Their clever “Double-Up” feature allows you to double the weight stack immediately. You can get up to 400 lbs for your chest press reps!

The Research:

If you think that there’s only one way to do a chest press rep, think again! According to one study, muscle strain can change depending on the number of reps in a set and/or the speed of the rep. When you’re doing a chest press on a machine like the Xpress Pro, you can manipulate the way you perform the rep.

If you want to activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers, try doing many fast reps that last less than a second. For those who want to create slow and continuous strain on the muscles, slow down the reps. You will probably will not be able to do a high number of reps in a slow-moving set.

Details:
  • Exercises available on this machine: chest press, cable exercises, leg exercises, ab crunches, triceps extension, lat pulldown, shoulder press, seated rows, incline press, arm curls, upright rows
  • Several add-ons can be purchased to upgrade the basic model
  • Total product weight is 575 lbs. Dimensions: 82.9in x 56.6in x 82in
  • BodyCraft Website Price: $2799
Things to Consider:

While this machine has the highest weight, it also has the highest price. In fact, it is the only chest press machine on the list that is over $2000. However, this model includes a variety of attachments to help you engage in a total body workout.

Customer Reviews:

Customers who like this incline chest press machine say it is super sturdy and heavy duty. Also, many families get a lot of use out of this single piece of equipment.

On the other hand, customers complained that the home gym took several hours (sometimes all day) to complete. While this is normal for huge pieces of equipment, consider assembling a team or having expert installation.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Heavy weight lifters who are interested in performing chest press max outs would love this machine. With a quick switch to 400 lbs per rep, use this machine at the end of an intense chest workout routine (if you’re able, that is).

Fitnessator’s Runner Up 

Galena Pro Home Gym– The Best Full Body Chest Press Machine

Galena Pro Home Gym by BodyCraftWhy We Love It:

While there are other “home gym chest press” combinations on this list, the Galena Pro home gym by BodyCraft emphasizes the chest. If an awesome chest is your goal, consider the Galena Pro to make your gains.

Details:
  • Exercises available on this machine: chest press, pecdeck, leg extension, leg curl, lat pulldown
  • Several add-ons can be purchased to upgrade the basic model
  • Total product weight is 500 lbs. Dimensions: 72in x 58in x 81in
  • BodyCraft Website Price: $1899
Things to Consider:

If you’re looking for total body workout equipment in this same price range, check out some of the other chest press home gyms on this list. While the Galena Pro does have some extra exercises and attachments, there are plenty of other products that offer more exercises. 

Customer Reviews:

Even though this is also a huge piece, assembly was a little shorter than the other models on this list. According to one customer, he was able to assemble everything within 3 hours. That’s a huge difference compared to the Fitnessator’s Top Pick!

One major downfall to this model is that it seems to be just a little too short for the average size male. Per one customer who is 5’8”, the cables do not extend enough for a full range of motion. Check the measurements on each of these machines so that you have a good idea of how it will fit with your body.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Those who are serious about getting a bulky chest should put this one on the top of their list. Since this is basically a total chest gym, you can perform several chest-specific workouts on this one machine. Add this machine to complete your home fitness space. 

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

Leverage Bench Press by Body SolidLeverage Bench Press– The Best Chest Press Machine for Chest Workouts

Why We Love It:

If you already have other pieces of exercise equipment and want a machine that focuses only on bench press workouts, the Body Solid chest press machine is the best option for you. This does not have any other attachments aside from the bench press. So, if you’re serious about bench presses, this should be at the top of your list!

Details:
  • Exercises available on this machine: bench press only
  • Requires weight plates (does not come with any weight)
  • Total product weight is 171 lbs. Dimensions: 67in x 51in x 55in
  • Fitness Factory Outlet Website Price: $999
Things to Consider:

Unlike the other chest press machines on the list, the Body Solid bench press is only designed for one specific chest workout. When we compare the price of this machine and number of workouts you can do, this is one expensive chest press machine! Also, you will need to purchase weight plates for this equipment. 

Customer Reviews:

People love that the assembly for this product is fairly quick and easy. Also, customers like that the bench press arms can be used in unison or one at a time. This can help you isolate and balance your chest muscles.

Customers complain that the weight bench used in this product is a bit flimsy, especially if you’re trying to bench a lot of weight. However, other customers have been able to successfully bench 360 lbs without issue.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Since this machine is chest-specific, it would be best suited for someone who already has a complete home fitness space. Also, if you really are looking to focus on your chest and get ripped quick, this chest-only machine can make your exercises efficient and effective.

EXM2500S Home Gym– The Best Chest Press Machine for Overall Upper Body Gains

EXM2500S Home Gym by Body SolidWhy We Love It:

If having a nice upper body is a greater goal, the Body Solid home gym can help you highlight your chest, arms and back better than the other machines on this list. With several workouts that focus on your upper body as a whole (rather than just the chest), you can make sure your muscles are well-proportioned and toned.

Details:
  • Total weight stack is 210 lbs
  • Exercises available on this machine: pec station, chest press, leg developer, cable exercises
  • Dimensions: 83in x 51in x 83in
  • Body Solid Website Price: Price varies based on geographical location, however, MSRP value is $1699
Things to Consider:

Depending on where you purchase this product, some shipping companies will not deliver this machine to your door. Instead, some shipping agreements state that the shipping company will bring the machine to your address, but you must remove it from the truck! Before you finalize your order, communicate with the sender to understand exactly how your item will be delivered.

Customer Reviews:

People rave about the heavy duty metal frame and comfortable seats that come with the product. Also, some customers say that this set is comparable to commercial gym equipment.

Per customer reviews, people claim that assembly for this product is long and complex. So, grab a friend or hire an expert to install this piece. One great suggestion for making assembly easier is to label all of the parts with sticky notes before you start putting everything together.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

When you compare this home gym chest press machine to the others on the list, it does not offer as much weight. However, this machine is cheaper than its competitors, which is great for people who are on a budget. Families and those who are looking for weight training (but not extreme weight training) would enjoy this chest press machine. For most people, a 210-lb weight stack is more than enough to see improvements.

Smith System and Cage Machine– The Best Chest Press Machine for Under $1000

Smith System and Cage Machine by MarcyWhy We Love It:

If you can’t tell already, we love the Marcy chest press machine because you can get a total body home gym for under $1000. That’s amazing! What’s even better is that you get several types of chest workouts on one machine. Reap the benefits of both barbell and cable chest exercises. Also, this is the only set on this list that doubles as a Smith chest press machine.

Details:
  • Exercises available on this machine: chest press Smith machine exercises, leg developer, triceps exercises, bicep workouts, pectoral training
  • Requires weight plates (does not come with any weight)
  • Total product weight is 430 lbs. Dimensions: 95in x 79in x 86
  • Marcy Website Price: $999.99
Things to Consider:

Assembly for this chest machine may be quite difficult to accomplish. This is due to the cabling system associated with the Smith machine attachment. While assembling a team of friends (or professionals is important), make sure someone reads up on how to successfully assemble a Smith chest press machine attachment.

Customer Reviews:

As you may imagine, customers love the value in this product. This is truly a complete home gym and awesome chest press set for under $1000. People enjoy the diversity in this machine and have even created more exercises on the set.

Overall, customers think this is a good, smooth-functioning machine, however, some customers complain that the pulley system is a weakness. Aside from difficult assembly, the pulley system has been known to malfunction (forcing you to reassemble the tricky system).

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you do not already have a bench press in your home, consider the Marcy chest press. You get several varieties of pectoral training along with the benefits of using a Smith machine. Also, if you are limited on space, the Marcy set comes with several storage posts for your weight plates. No need for a weight shelf!

The Rundown on Chest Press Machines

After reviewing the Fitnessator’s top picks in chest press machines, here’s a breakdown to help you compare these products:

Product

Less than $2000

Types of chest exercises offered

Includes non-chest exercises?

Maximum weight offered for chest exercises

BodyCraft Xpress (Top Pick) Cable & seated machine chest press Yes 400 lbs
BodyCraft Galena Pro (Runner Up) X Seated machine chest press Yes 300 lbs
Body Solid Bench Press (Honorable Mention) X Flat bench press No Weight plates required
Body Solid EXM2500S X Seated machine chest press Yes 210 lbs
Marcy Cage Machine X Cable & barbell/Smith machine chest press Yes Weight plates required

 

Sample Chest Workout

Try this sample workout routine along with your new chest press machine. Since this is a hardcore workout, make sure you check with your doctor that it’s appropriate for you. With his or her clearance, try this workout and/or work up to it.

Exercise

Notes

Target Area(s)

Sets

Repetitions

Flat pushup with weight plate
In this exercise, you do regular flat pushups with a weight plate on your back. Keep your core activated. Chest, arms, core 3 15
Incline pushup
Using a weight bench or other platform, place your hands up on the platform and keep your feet on the floor. Chest, arms 3 25
Decline pushup
Switch your position from the incline pushup. In a decline pushup, your hands are on the floor and your feet are up on the platform. Chest, arms 3 20
Chest and/or triceps dip
If you have chest/triceps dip equipment, this is also great for the chest. Otherwise, between two sturdy tables, curl your legs beneath yourself and dip towards the floor. Add a weight plate belt for resistance. Arms, chest 3 20
Dumbbell chest fly
Using dumbbells and a weight bench, lay flat on the bench and extend arms out to the sides. Keep your arms straight as you slowly “flap” your arms up to the center and back down to the sides. Chest 3 15

 

While this is a great chest workout by itself, if you want to continue making major upper body gains, check out the following workouts provided in these articles:

With all of these mega-shredder workouts right at your fingertips, you can get ripped quickly and effectively! 

Before You Purchase

In this article, we discussed some basic information about the best chest press machine for you needs. We also laid out Fitnessator’s top picks in chest press machines, many of which work the chest and can serve as a total body home gym.

Aside from finding the perfect chest press machine, make sure you optimize your workouts so that you can accomplish your upper body goals. If you want to see some major gains and diversify your current upper body workouts, check out our exclusive Fitnessator workouts.

What are your favorite chest exercises? Did you discover some new exercises in the Fitnessator workouts? Tell us about it in the comments.

2 Comments

  • Halyna R says:

    Thanks for the sample workout! That’ll come in handy. I barely do any chest exercises and just upper body workouts in general (I’m a runner for life. Haha!). But I would like to figure out a more balanced workout routine. How effective are chest press machines for beginners? And what would be the best way to start working on my upper body strength?

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      Chest press machines are great for beginners! They offer a very specific chest workout (a pushing motion) which is helpful for building strength (or lack thereof). For a good upper body workout, click here.

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