Strength Training for Better Posture: Chest Press


Starting Position

  • Lie down on a bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the bench.

  • Distance between your heels and butt is ~ 6″.

  • Arms extended directly above the chest.

  • Weights are facing each other with the palms down.

  • Lower back has a natural curve, relax your abdominals and do not flatten your back to the bench.

  • 3-5 degrees of bend in the elbow to provide shock absorption.

  • Hands are slightly inside the elbows, 80 degree bend at the elbow to maximally engage the triceps.



  • With the weights extended above the chest retract the shoulder blades down and together. This will move the weights apart 6″-1′.

  • Slowly lower the weights down until the elbows are even with the body, a 90 degree angle with the shoulder, wrist and elbow. Any lower will put excessive stress on the front of the shoulder joint.

  • The upper arm is held slightly below shoulder height, at 65-80 degrees of abduction.

  • Hold the position on the bottom for 1-2 seconds before pushing the weights straight up.


Resistance Machine Notes

I purposely did not show this exercise on a resistance machine. Being of smaller stature I was not able to set the machine to fit my body at the correct angles to execute this exercise in good posture. If you do use a resistance machine for the chest press please follow these set-up guidelines and perform the exercise as described above.

  • Make sure your upper arm is slightly below your shoulders. You may need to adjust the seat height to attain the correct angle.

  • The angle between the elbow joint and the hand should be 80 degrees. Most machines have multiple grips that can be used.

  • Sit with the lower body at a 90 degree angle from the ankle through the knee to the hip.

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About the Author


Jessica uses an integrative approach to help you overcome chronic pain. She believes in treating the whole person utilizing the biopsychosocial approach to healing. Her offerings include posture therapy, online exercise classes, pain science education, and individual or group wellness coaching. She is certified by the Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI), Egoscue University®, National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Wellcoaches.