Vertical Chest Press

Man workout on fitness machine in gym

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. This strength training exercise has similar motion to bench press except instead of being horizontal, it faces vertically. 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 of course various chest exercises.

What are the muscles worked during vertical chest press?

Chicago Cubs' Jay Johnstone Works Out

DeanDrobot/iStock/Getty Images

The pecs and upper body are the main muscle groups of focus in this chest workout. The vertical chest press targets the sternal head of the pectoral muscles, 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 and experience muscle growth. Activation also occurs in the biceps without changing length to stabilize the elbow and shoulder joints with some activation occurring in the lower back and lower chest as well.

What are the variations of vertical chest press?

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. An adjustable seat also comes with most machines to make the exercise more comfortable. The exercise can be done without fitness equipment and can be completed using dumbbells, a small barbell or any kind of free weight as long as you have a flat bench.

How to do vertical chest press?

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 and shoulder-width apart. Choose your desired weight by moving the pin to the proper place in the weight stack. Grip the handles, and extend your arms to lift the weights. Return the handles to the starting position to complete one repetition. suggests that if your grip is too wide, you may limit your range of motion.


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. Be sure to make sure you decide on a number of reps that will challenge you but not injure your chest muscles. If you are a beginner, a spotter or personal trainer may be necessary as well.