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Progression on Machine Chest Press?

Dr Darden,

Having maxed out on the machine chest press, I’m looking for alternatives. As I really like the feel on the machine I’d like to continue with it for as long as possible. I must admit my chest is one of the least developed muscles, which opens up for more agressive approaches. The above “problem” correlates to 30-30-30, 30-10-30 and regular 2 pos / 4 neg routines, which may open up for some varied suggestions?

Considering pre-exhaustion with pec-dec (also a really good machine with awesome feel) before chest presses? Superset or not?

Another alternative is to shift for dumbbell presses, which I like more than regular barbell bench presses. As I workout alone, I wouldn’t want to get caught under the barbell…

“The new HIT” provides an interesting chest emphasized routine, but I don’t want to add that much focus on chest, as I will lose precious load on the other muscles. I’d like to keep a full body routine.

What are your top suggestions to my “problem”?

If you haven’t tried the pre ex superset you are missing out. I feel a much deeper muscle stimulation with this method. It also limits the weight you can use for the press portion. Better for your joints.


I agree with applying pre-exhaustion. Do the Pec-Dec immediately before the Chest Press. And you can do one or the other, or both, 30-10-30.

You are going to really feel these two.

Thanks guys and Dr Darden! I will go for pre-exhaustion.

What do you mean you maxed out on that machine especially when you say your chest is the least developed? Does it not have much weight on it?

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This was only one machine but I am sore. Yesterday I did pre-exhaust pec-dec /negative dip. 7 ten second negatives

Good questions, Scott!

Yes on both! It has a weight stack with only 105 kg (=231 lbs) which I now easily do on 30-30-30, though max effort (eyeballs out) for 12 reps on 30-10-30. The Nautilus chest press has more weight on offer than the Gym80 brand I’m most oftenly using, but the range and feel on the Gym80 is actually superior (which I regret to realize). A german brand appearantly.

I think my triceps is doing a lot of the work, unfortunately. The pre-exhaustion will take care of that also.

If your triceps are doing the brunt of the work maybe you can do a squeeze press while using the chest press.
In other words, do not only press the machine, but concentrate on pushing inwards as well. May help recruit the chest more if you have dominant triceps.