5 Bench Press Alternative Exercises

Updated August 19, 2013

Despite the average gym rat’s infatuation with the bench press, and bench pressing on Mondays, it’s not a required exercise. That might shock a few of you, but it’s true.

Perhaps you can’t use the bench press because you don’t have a spotter, or because the bench station is constantly being hogged by the same 3 gym members. Maybe you just don’t like the bench press as a muscle building exercise. Fair enough.

If you’re looking to build your chest there are many great movements to choose from. The following list features 10 quality bench press alternative exercises.

Incline Bench Press

Believe it or not most top bodybuilders consider the incline bench press to be the king of chest builders. When polled regarding their favorite muscle building exercises, you commonly see the incline bench press listed before the flat bench press.

Chest Dips

The chest dip was once considered the upper body squat. These days this important exercises has become an afterthought. Learn proper dipping form and give them a try. Your chest muscles will thank you.

Flat Bench Dumbbell Bench Press

The flat bench dumbbell bench press is a very underrated mass builder. But be warned, low rep sets can feel awkward. Don’t be afraid to blast your chest with 8 to 15 reps sets on this exercise.

Decline Bench Press

Because of the bench angle, the decline bench press usually features a shorter range of motion. While this tends to involve more tricep usage, it also generally allows for the use of a greater weight making it a good chest blasting alternative. Try using a slightly wider than normal grip and concentrate on chest involvement during your reps.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

It stands to reason that if the incline barbell bench press is a rock solid variation, incline dumbbells would be a good choice as well. Make sure to use a slight angle on your incline presses. There is no need to raise the seat past the 30 degree mark.

Bench Press Alternative Exercises that Missed the Cut

The following chest exercises are quality secondary chest building choices. It is recommended that you perform these lifts after primary movements such as dips or incline bench presses.

  • Pushups with Feet on bench
  • Reverse Grip Bench Press
  • Close Grip Bench Press (More of a tricep-focused exercises, but also great for the chest)
  • Dumbbell Floor Press
  • Cable Crossover
  • Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Pec Dec
  • Hammer Strength Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Dumbbell Flyes

Have a question about chest training? Leave a comment below.


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