Amazing Bench Press Alternatives

Amazing Bench Press Alternatives

The bench press may be the king of international chest day, but it doesn’t always need to be the king of YOUR day.

While the bench is a great exercise for strength and size, it isn’t perfect for every situation in the gym. This may leave you wondering what the next best choice could be for your training! Well wonder no more because today we are going to go over a few of our alternatives to the bench press so YOU can get the MOST out of your upper body training.

Do you think yours is on our list?

Table of Contents

  1. Push-Ups
  2. Dips
  3. Dumbbell Chest Press
  4. Barbell Floor Press
  5. Barbell Overhead Press
  6. Dumbbell Fly
  7. Cable Fly
  8. Dumbbell Pullover


What You Need:

  • Arms
  • Maybe Legs…

When it comes to bench press alternatives, there is something incredible about the simple, yet effective push-up.

While the muscles engaged are similar, you can do push-ups anywhere you can get down into a plank position… Or even in places where you just have a wall. That makes this movement an absolute MUST have in your toolbox of health and fitness.

If the push-up is too hard, you can do simple progressions until it becomes easy. If it is easy, you can add resistance like bands or a plate to your back or even change elevation by putting your feet on a chair or platform.

How to Move

  1. Get into a plank position with your core FLEXED and ready to go. Make sure your hands are JUST outside your shoulders to hit your chest really well.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower yourself down as far as you can or until your chest hovers an inch off the ground. Your elbows should be at 45 degrees and can flare out slightly.
  3. Keeping your core flexed, explode up, pushing your palms through the floor, locking out.
  4. Repeat until your set is done.


What You Need:

  • Chair/Bench
  • Dip Handles

Much like the deceptively simple push-up, dips are another underrated banger.
Firing up the chest, triceps and shoulders, dips also engage your core heavily and just look really freaking cool.

Performing the movement on dip handles is generally the most effective, however using a chair or bench is another way you can get them done on limited equipment. Muscle targets can also be incredibly varied depending how you angle your body. A more forward lean with your chest down targets that area, while chair dips hit more triceps.

If you are wanting easier dips, chair dips or a dip assistance machine can be used, or weight can be added to make it harder.

How to Move

  1. Set either the dip handles up or get your chair in position. 
  2. Pull your shoulders back and ensure they don’t collapse forward during the exercise. 
  3. Bend your elbows, allowing them to go BACK so that you can start dipping down.
  4. Keep going until you feel a good stretch in your chest/shoulders/triceps.
  5. Press through your palms and push yourself back to the starting position.
  6. Breath, dip, repeat

Dumbbell Chest Press

What You Need:

  • Dumbbells
  • Flat Bench

When it comes to building a monster chest, the dumbbell bench press may beat out it’s more popular brother the barbell bench press.

It uses the same exact muscle groups and range of motion while removing the need for a rack. This exercise also helps create a bit more of an “isolation” element in the press by making it so that your strong arm cannot help your weak arm lock out. (Trust us, this will make you better in the long run)

Another added benefit for dumbbell bench is that if you are experiencing issues, the mobility aspect of this helps keep your body happy.

How to Move

  1. Lie on a bench holding onto a dumbbell in each hand. Keep the dumbbells close to your chest.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and down to get a good brace.
  3.  Press the dumbbells away from your chest, with your palms at a 45 degree angle away from one another.
  4. Squeeze firmly at the top so your chest and triceps are flexed.
  5. Once extended, loosen your elbows to lower the dumbbells back down. Stop when the dumbbells almost touch your chest.
  6. Your upper arms should be at minimum parallel to the ground, if not lower.
  7. Repeat for maximum jackedness

Barbell Floor Press

What You Need:

  • Barbell
  • Rack
  • Floor

The floor press is an interesting alternative to bench press to say the least.
This follows similar movement patterns while creating a shorter range of motion due to your arms quite literally hitting the floor. There is also less stretch in the pec muscles, meaning that if you are having issues there this is an ok option.

Floor pressing builds insane strength in your triceps by halting your momentum at the bottom and forcing you to shove that bar up. It also teaches you how to squeeze your muscles at the top since you have no leg drive to assist in the concentric portion of the lift.

How to Move

  1. Place the J hooks at a level that you can reach from your position lying on the ground.
  2. Lie on the ground so your eyes are roughly in line with the barbell. Your legs can be straight or bent, whichever is most comfortable or prescribed.
  3. Firmly grip the barbell in your normal bench width.
  4. Unrack the bar and brace your core.
  5. Perform the press by softening the elbows and letting your the bar come to you.
  6. Stop when your triceps touch the floor and explode back up.
  7. Repeat until complete

Barbell Overhead Press

What You Need:

  • Barbell
  • Rack (Preferably)
  • Overhead Space

You can’t have a complete upper body without some boulders hanging off of them shoulders.

Overhead press is a compound exercise that calls upon multiple muscle groups to create team work at lock out. The delts, traps, triceps and core all play in the movement and build towards that overall pressing goal. Make sure you lock out fully though, or you won’t be getting every benefit of this alternative.

Another advantage for overhead press that isn’t talked about nearly enough is that if you DON’T have a rack, there is no need to worry about not being able to do the movement. You just clean the bar to your chest and OHP on your merry way.

How to Move

  1. Set up your bar with the desired weight and height.
  2. Grab the bar with your hands just wider than your shoulders and grip firmly.
  3. Unrack the bar so that it lightly touches your collarbone and let your elbows point forwards not out.
  4. Step back so that you don’t hit the rack during your set.
  5. Stand tall while looking forward. Flex your core and squeeze your glutes for stability.
  6. Press the bar upward, squeezing your triceps and shoulder muscles for full extension at the top.
  7. Gently lower the bar back down the way it came.
  8. Allow the bar to come to a complete stop resting across the top of your collarbones.
  9. Repeat until yoked.

Dumbbell Flys

What You Need:

  • Dumbbells
  • Bench

Dumbbells flys are a good choice for people wanting target their chest while also not massacring the rest of their muscles.

Flys load the pecs in a lengthened or stretched position giving a really solid pump. You can adjust the angle of incline on the bench to feel it better in certain areas compared to others. This may seem like bro-scienece, and it might be, but we have fun with it.

One small tip is to keep a slight bend in your elbows through exercise to protect your joints the best way possible

How to Move

  1. Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand and press them above your chest, palms facing in.
  2. Retract your shoulders, flex your lats and tuck your chin to keep a neutral spine.
  3. Slowly move your arms and hands outwards taking the dumbbells away from each other.
  4. Stop when you feel a stretch in your chest muscles.
  5. Pause, then squeeze your pecs and front delts to bring the dumbbells back together.
  6. Repeat the movements again.

Dumbbell Pullover

What You Need:

  • Dumbbell
  • Bench

The dumbbell pullover is a bodybuilding classic for a reason. They are a single joint exercise that uses muscles in your back AND your chest, along with a few core ones as well.

Dumbbells might not be a perfect alternative for the bench, but if done right they will still give you a massive chest pump at the end of the day.

We personally prefer to perform this exercise while having our body fully on the bench so we can focus on the pump, but other people just put their shoulders on and seem to do just fine.

How to Move

  1. Lie on a flat bench long ways
  2. Hold a single dumbbell in both hands (creating a triangle in your fingers helps hold on) and extend your arms over your chest
  3. Plant your feet firmly, keep your core engaged, and your shoulder blades pulled back and down.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell so that your shoulders are in line with your ears (stay flexed) t
  5. Squeeze the dumbbell back to its starting position.
  6. Repeat until you are Arnold

Reasons to Choose a Bench Press Alternative

At the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about building a chest worthy of the gods when these are in your back pocket or you are injured.

While bench is king of the international day of chest, these added stimuli will help craft something incredible and life changing.

Which of these moves are you going to be putting into your rotation for a monster chest.


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