3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives

3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives to The Barbell Bench Press

3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives
3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives

The barbell bench press is a staple in many gym-goers’ routines for building a strong and well-defined chest. However, it’s not the only exercise that can effectively target the chest muscles. In this article, we’ll explore three handy chest exercise alternatives to the barbell bench press that can add variety to your workouts and help you achieve your fitness goals.

3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives to The Barbell Bench Press


1. Dumbbell Chest Press

3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives
3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives

The dumbbell chest press is a versatile exercise that allows for a greater range of motion compared to the barbell bench press. This exercise also helps to correct muscle imbalances because each arm has to work independently.

To perform the dumbbell chest press

  • Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand, held at chest level.
  • Press the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

Benefits of the dumbbell chest press

  • Increased range of motion: Dumbbells allow your arms to move freely, resulting in a deeper stretch and contraction of the chest muscles.
  • Improved muscle balance: Since each arm works independently, the dumbbell chest press helps to identify and correct any strength imbalances between the left and right sides of the body.
  • Reduced risk of injury: The ability to adjust the weight independently for each arm reduces the risk of overloading one side of the body, lowering the risk of injury.

2. Push-Up Variations

3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives
3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives

Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise that can effectively target the chest muscles while also engaging the shoulders, triceps, and core. There are numerous variations of push-ups that can be tailored to suit different fitness levels and goals.

Some push-up variations include

  • Standard push-up: Start in a plank position with hands shoulder-width apart, lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground, then push back up to the starting position.
  • Wide-grip push-up: Perform a standard push-up with hands positioned wider than shoulder-width apart to emphasize the chest muscles.
  • Decline push-up: Elevate your feet on a bench or step to increase the difficulty and target the upper chest muscles.
  • Diamond push-up: Place your hands close together beneath your chest to target the triceps and inner chest muscles.

Benefits of push-up variations

  • No equipment required: Push-ups can be done anywhere, making them a convenient option for home workouts or when traveling.
  • Versatility: With numerous variations to choose from, push-ups can be adapted to target different muscle groups and accommodate various fitness levels.
  • Functional strength: Push-ups mimic everyday pushing movements, helping to improve upper body strength and endurance for activities like pushing doors or lifting objects.

3. Cable Flyes

3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives
3 Handy Chest Exercise Alternatives

Cable flyes are an isolation exercise that targets the chest muscles by simulating the motion of hugging a tree. This exercise provides constant tension on the chest muscles throughout the entire range of motion, leading to greater muscle activation and growth.

To perform cable flyes

  • Set the cables to chest height and stand between them.
  • Grab a handle in each hand, step forward slightly, and position your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • With a slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands together in front of your chest in a controlled motion.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, keeping tension on the chest muscles throughout the movement.

Benefits of cable flyes

  • Constant tension: Unlike free weights, cables provide constant tension on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion, maximizing muscle activation and growth.
  • Adjustable resistance: Cable machines allow for precise adjustments to resistance, making it easy to increase or decrease the weight as needed.
  • Improved muscle definition: Cable flyes target the inner and outer chest muscles, helping to sculpt a well-defined and balanced chest.


While the barbell bench press is an effective exercise for building chest strength and size, incorporating alternative exercises into your routine can help prevent plateaus, reduce the risk of injury, and target the chest muscles from different angles. By incorporating exercises such as dumbbell chest presses, push-up variations, and cable flyes, you can keep your workouts fresh, challenge your muscles in new ways, and achieve your fitness goals more effectively. Remember to always prioritize proper form and technique to maximize the effectiveness of each exercise and minimize the risk of injury.


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