The Best Chest Workout Machines That Aren’t the Smith Machine

A man needs variety in his life

In my years of weightlifting, I have learned that guided machines hold a clear and demonstrable value that should not be overlooked or exaggerated. Case in point: The Smith Machine has the stylistic advantage of closely resembling an authentic dumbbell bench press while only superficially offering the functionality of one. If you deprive a standard dumbbell bench press of most of what makes it such a great exercise – namely the requirement that you stabilize the weight and simultaneously limit its three-dimensional movement as you guide it down and up – what you are left with is an approximation less than the actual exercise.

It’s not that I hate the Smith Machine, as it undeniably has its benefits, especially if you’re rehabilitating from certain injuries or training legs at specific angles. It’s just that there are many better options among chest press machines if the goal is to fully train and develop chest muscles.

So what machines should I select for chest training if I don’t have to use a Smith Machine?

The answer depends somewhat on a number of different assumptions. Were you able to start your workout with an authentic dumbbell bench press? Have you ever participated in other chest training exercises, such as push-ups or dips? Are you relying on this press machine to provide you with your major chest day lift, or are you just using it as a way to wrap things up and leave your chest looking plump at the end of your workout? ?

Understood. But can I already get some specific machines?


I really like the Hammer Strength Plate Loading Chest Press, whether it’s the standard press or the incline press. The Hammer Strength machine’s trajectory of motion is consistent with the natural movement of your hands each time you push them straight out in front of you – they automatically move from a wide to a narrow stance. On a Smith Machine, your hands are locked in a position that will always prevent you from taking the chest through its full range of motion, no matter how much weight you load it with; it is not a problem on a Hammer Strength machine.

The positioning of the plate on this machine also makes the pressing application more natural, since you are technically pressing a weight positioned in front of you, as opposed to a cable system that pulls a weight located behind you. These may be minor long-term details, but they still matter.

Plus, there’s no way you’ll find yourself compromised by a solid barbell that you can’t twist and secure at the end of your lift.

What else?

As a second choice, I would choose to train on any of the selection pin chest press machines that allow for a quick transition from one weight to another. The Life Fitness Chest Press is a great example. One of the main advantages of using a machine over a free weight arrangement – in cases where such a statement can reasonably be made – is that the machine minimizes rest time, allowing you to gradually break down muscle. pecs until they can’t anymore. bear another pound.

This is another advantage of some machines that cannot be replicated on a Smith Machine, preventing you from rapidly increasing or decreasing the weight you are lifting. Not to mention two other obvious features: 1) Here we have even more chest training machines that better follow the natural movement pattern of the arms, achieving maximum chest contraction; and 2) they too eliminate the fear of being trapped under an unsecured barbell.

Is that right?

Yeah. At that time, I would say just sit on the good old bench.