Suspended Chest Press Guide
The suspended chest press builds upper-body strength, definition and shoulder stability, whilst challenging the core body and abs. This exercise is a good choice for beginners and advanced trainees alike:
Beginners benefit from the length-adjustable features of a suspension trainer, which allows you to control the difficulty of the exercise (the closer your body is to horizontal the more difficult the exercise).
Advanced trainees can lengthen the straps to allow the chest press to be performed in a push-up position and benefit from the unstable, independent movement of the handles to increase muscular recruitment and core stability.
How to do the Suspended Chest Press
- Lengthen the straps of the suspension trainer and grab the handles, facing away from your anchor point. Arms should be straight with a firm, neutral grip and handles extended at shoulder height.
- Lower your chest toward (but not beyond) your hands, similar to a standard push-up. Maintain elbows at shoulder height.
- At the bottom of the exercise, pause for a second and squeeze the arms back together in a controlled movement to return to the start position. Repeat.
- The movement is essentially that of a standard push-up but the instability of the suspension trainer increases the effectiveness of the exercise. You also have increased control over the difficulty of the exercise or the targeted muscles by changing the angle at which the exercise is performed.
Beginning the Suspended Chest Press
If you are unable to perform standard bodyweight push-ups, a suspension trainer is an excellent choice for developing the required strength and bodily control. Changing the angle of the exercise controls the difficulty (by altering the length of the trainer straps).
If you're new to suspension training, or struggle with the standard push-up, the closer you are to a vertical, standing position the easier the exercise becomes. As you develop strength you can increase the length of the straps to make continuous strength gains.
Advanced Suspended Chest Press
If you have a good level of fitness and find standard push-ups easy you can perform the suspended push-up as close to the ground as possible. This will mimic a normal push-up but the instability introduced by the handles (which are free to move around, rather than a static grip) increases the effectiveness of the exercise by maximising muscular recruitment and core stability.
To really add intensity to the exercise, a weighted vest is a simple and effective way of adding additional resistance.
Alternatively, the Bench Press is an excellent choice to build the upper-body with weight training.
Suspended Chest Press Variations
For variations on the suspended chest press you can try the following:
- Gymnastic ring push-up is a very similar exercise to the suspended chest press but uses gymnastics rings rather than a suspension trainer. Gymnastics rings still introduce the element of instability to the standard push-up exercise.
- Push-ups - standard bodyweight push-ups.