6 Best Chest Exercises That Do Not Require A Bench

A chiseled and toned chest is key to having a powerful-looking upper body. If you’ve been working on your chest for a while now, you’d definitely know about the bench press. Widely regarded as a classic lift, the bench press is considered as the foundation for chest exercises. It is also probably one of the most overused exercise terms, but definitely not an overrated exercise.

Although this exercise is important to a certain extent, a number of young people who workout today are more interested in how many reps they can do using a bench press rather than actually focusing on training as an athlete. If your workout program revolves a lot around the bench press, you need to know that your muscles will adapt to the exercise, eventually making you settle into an energy-sapping and progress-hindering zone.

Additionally, the bench press only lets you work on your chest from one angle. As a result, it’s important that you look beyond the bench press and incorporate different exercises into your workout regime.

Variations To The Bench Press

The bench press is one of the most commonly employed exercises for resistance training. But, there are question marks over its suitability in engaging different areas of your pectoral muscles (chest) and shoulders. If you’re intent on building your body the right way, choosing the right power tools to sculpt your pecs is the way to go.

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To begin with, you’d do well to adopt a multi-pronged workout strategy that involves a more diverse set of exercises targeting various regions of your chest. Here are a few non-bench lifts that you can use to get your pecs and shoulders in the best shape possible.

1. Dumbbell Floor Press

This exercise is more helpful for people with shoulder pain

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You don’t need a bench to perform the dumbbell floor press.

To begin this movement, lie down on the floor with your dumbbells, kettlebells, or other weighted equipment in each hand.

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Directions

  • Your knees should be bent with your feet on the floor.
  • Now, hold the weights over your chest with your arms extended.
  • Slowly lower the weight by bending your elbows and stop once your arms reach the floor.
  • Push back up by extending your arms to the starting position.
  • This move will improve your lockout position and the form of your bench press significantly.
  • For best results, perform three sets of 8 to 12 reps of this exercise.

2. Cable Flys

This movement mimics a dumbbell chest fly

Most of you tend to use the press whenever you wish to work your pectoral muscles. On the flip side, adding the cable fly to your chest workout routine can be extremely beneficial for your pectorals and front deltoids.

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Directions

  • For starters, attach two stirrup handles to the high-pulley cables of a cable-crossover station.
  • Grab a handle with each hand, and stand in a staggered stance in the middle of the station.
  • Make sure that your arms are outstretched but slightly bent.
  • Now, lean forward slightly at your hips without rounding your back.
  • Without changing the bend in your arms, bring your hands together.
  • Slowly reverse the movement and repeat the exercise to a count of 30.
  • You can gradually increase the number of reps as you become more comfortable with this exercise.

3. Archer Push-Ups

More advanced form of a push-up

Is the one-arm push-up your most coveted form of exercise? If yes, then the archer push-up is your stepping stone! Besides developing your chest, triceps, abs, and shoulders, the archer push-up teaches you to stabilize your core too.

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Directions

  • To start off, assume a push-up position with your left hand directly under your shoulder.
  • Now, fully extend your right arm straight out to your side and place your hand on a medicine ball or low step.
  • Bend your left elbow to slowly lower your chest down to the floor, making sure to keep the brunt of your body’s weight on your left hand.
  • Once your chest is just above the floor, push yourself back up.
  • Remember to do all your reps on one side, and then switch sides.

4. Svend Press

This movement helps with the inner portion of the chest

You can try out this exercise with either a dumbbell or a weight plate.

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Directions

  • To begin with, hold a dumbbell at your chest height while standing up.
  • Now, raise your elbows out to the side so your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Push the weight plate forward by extending your arms.
  • Slowly return to your starting position.
  • Perform as many reps as you can on the first instance before increasing the count gradually.

5. Stability Ball Incline Dumbbell Pull-Over

You develop balance and coordination in the pressing motion

Incline dumbbell pull-overs are traditionally done on a bench. However, trying it on a stability ball will make you work a little harder as you look to steady yourself.

Directions

  • For starters, position a stability ball under your upper back in such a way that your head is supported by it.
  • Now, pull your hips up so they’re in line with your torso and knees, forming a bridge position.
  • Hold one dumbbell with both your hands and push it up toward the ceiling while keeping your elbows straight.
  • Thereafter, slowly extend your arms back over and behind your head until the dumbbell is pointing toward the wall behind you.
  • Raise the dumbbell back up and over your head to your starting position, completing one rep.
  • Perform as many reps as you can on the first instance before increasing the count gradually.

6. Stability Ball Incline Press

This gets you stable and builds up balance

Why would you need a bench when a stability ball can do a fine job by itself.

Directions

  • To begin with, position a stability ball under your middle back, so you’re at a slight incline.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms upward while keeping your elbows slightly bent.
  • Now, rotate your hands so your palms are facing you, with your little fingers next to you.
  • Keeping your arms extended, lower the weights slowly until your arms are perpendicular to your body.
  • While going down, rotate your wrists so your palms face the ceiling at the bottom position.
  • Slowly bring the dumbbells back up to your starting position by rotating your wrists.
  • This way, when your hands meet each other, your palms are facing each other too.

Try out these exercises when you go the gym next time. These exercises can be a good way to give your muscles something new to adapt to, giving you bigger and stronger muscles.