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Vertical Chest Press

by
author image Jonathan Thompson
Jonathan Thompson is a personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise and has extensive experience working with clients as well as teaching. Thompson holds specializations in longevity nutrition and muscle management for runners. He began writing in 2004.
Vertical Chest Press
A man is training on a chest press machine. Photo Credit DeanDrobot/iStock/Getty Images

The vertical chest press is a fitness machine that provides a fixed line of movement and focuses on the muscles of the chest. The machine features two stiff bars that raise to chest height and allow you to press outward in a motion similar to rowing while providing adjustable resistance. The vertical chest press provides a limited range of motion, which makes it a good choice for beginners looking to build strength. It can also be useful for sports-specific training for basketball and in circuit training.

Muscles Worked

The vertical chest press targets the sternal head of the pectoralis major, the muscle that makes up the central part of the chest. The clavicular pectoralis major, the anterior deltoid and the triceps all aid in the movement. The biceps also tighten without changing length to stabilize the elbow and shoulder joints.

Variations

Small variations exist in the designs of vertical chest press machines. An important safety feature included in some machines is a foot pedal that stops the weight and also brings the handles into your comfort range. The handles may also come up from the base of the machine or drop down from above the user. Some machines feature grips that allow the user to place the emphasis on different muscles of the chest. A wide grip places the majority of the stress on the outer pectoralis muscles while a narrow grip works the inner muscles.

Execution and Setup

The major features and functions of the machine are shared among the several variations of the vertical chest press. To properly use the machine, adjust the seat to a comfortable setting that places the handles at about chest level. Choose your desired weight by moving the pin to the proper place in the plates. Grip the handles, and extend your arms to lift the weights. Return the handles to the starting position to complete one repetition. ExRx.net suggests that if your grip is too wide, you may limit your range of motion.

Considerations

The vertical chest press is a compound exercise that engages a series of muscles and joints. This makes it a useful exercise in circuit training and for encouraging weight loss. The vertical chest press is not effective for stronger and more experienced exercisers to build muscle mass but can help beginners to work up to more difficult and focused exercises. Don't forget to dynamically warm up before the exercise and to perform stretches afterward.

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