Chest Press | Tone Your Upper Body Without Pain or Injury

“I started doing chest presses to tone my upper body, but pain in my shoulders made me stop.”

Sound familiar? Shoulder pain and fear of more serious injury are common reasons why people give up the chest press exercise. View this 1-minute video from the exercise experts at the renowned Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami to learn how to do chest presses properly and safely. The results will be all gain, no pain.

From exercise physiologists Ivan Ferran, Jamie Costello, and Jackie Gavino at the Pritikin Longevity Center, get tips on how to tone your upper body without pain or injury.

Tone Your Upper Body Without Pain or Injury

The chest press is a great exercise. It not only tones your chest, shoulders, and arms, it strengthens your core.

Whether it’s a bag of groceries, a piece of furniture, or your kids or grandkids, the chest press can help you lift and carry them with greater ease and less likelihood of injury. A stronger core also improves your posture and balance, which can certainly help you avoid falling.

But it’s really important to do chest presses correctly. Do them wrong, and you’re headed for pain and possible injury.

How to Do A Chest Press to Tone Your Upper Body Without Pain or Injury

The interconnected relationship of the upper body can lead to shoulder pain if chest presses are not done correctly.

Chest Press Video

Begin by watching the Pritikin video.

Then imitate what you see on screen. Lie on your back on a bench or on the floor with your arms at a 90-degree angle to your body. With weights in your hands, slowly raise your arms and gradually bring the weights together as your arms fully extend. Pause briefly at the top, then slowly lower your arms.

Repeat the chest press 8 to 12 times. Do two sets for each session. Optimally, do your chest presses 2 to 3 times a week, always giving your muscles 48 to 72 hours to recover.

Chest Press | Avoiding Pain and Injury

To avoid shoulder pain or injury, always move your arms up and down slowly and smoothly. Begin with light weights and increase weight when you can easily do 12 repetitions.

If this exercise comes easily to you, and you’re looking for a greater challenge with increased strength and balance benefits, check out the advanced version of the chest press demonstrated in the video.

Since this advanced version is done while balanced on a stability ball (which is no small challenge), it is best learned and practiced with a university-degreed instructor like the exercise physiologists at the Pritikin Longevity Center.

The Rewards

Press the weights and impress yourself with your new-found strength and stability.

Strength Exercises | Key Benefits, Recommendations

We tend to know the benefits of cardiovascular exercises like jogging or swimming. They improve heart function and circulation. They also help lower blood pressure and reduce risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

But many of us don’t fully understand, or appreciate, the benefits of strength (also called resistance) exercises such as chest presses.

Strength exercises are exercises that strengthen all the major muscle groups of the body. If you do them regularly, you’ll reap huge benefits:

  • You’ll feel your muscles grow firmer and more powerful as your endurance increases.
  • Your coordination, agility, and balance improve.
  • You can better perform a myriad of daily activities – like climbing stairs, getting in and out of your car, carrying groceries, playing golf, hiking the countryside, and rough-housing with the kids. You do them all with greater ease, confidence, and joy.
  • As you increase strength and agility, you reduce the chance of falls and injuries.
  • You improve your body composition. That’s because as you build lean muscle, you reduce body fat. As you lower your percentage of body fat, you lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.
  • Finally, strength training helps prevent bone loss, even in those with osteoporosis.

Along with all the above, you’ll also look and feel better. There’ll be more pep in your step.

“And your body—from calves and thighs to butt and stomach to chest and arms—will definitely look fitter and trimmer,” encourages Pritikin’s Exercise Director Jamie Costello, MSC.

“But the key to all these benefits is not just doing strength exercises, but doing them right. If done incorrectly, they could create pain and keep you from exercising. They might even cause injury, which would also put you on the sidelines,” cautions Jamie.

To accentuate the positive benefits and eliminate the negatives, “we focus on one-on-one guidance here at Pritikin,” says Jamie. “Within a week or two, our guests are noticing that their muscles are automatically falling into correct form, and they’re feeling the benefits.”

Pritikin Basic 8

In addition to the chest press, there are 7 other exercises that are part of the Pritikin Video Series for strengthening the body’s major muscle groups.

All 8 are:
1. Squat: When done correctly, the squat exercise not only helps you look better (who doesn’t want a nicer-looking butt?), it makes life better. That’s because squatting is a movement we use in all sorts of everyday activities.
Watch the How To Do Squats Without Knee Pain video »
2. Calf Raise: Calf raises are a great exercise for toning up legs. What’s more, calf raises train your body to maintain balance, which can help you avoid nasty falls. Watch the Calf Raises Video: How To Shape Up Your Legs Without Pain »
3. Chest Press: The chest press not only tones your chest, shoulders, and arms, it strengthens your core. But it’s really important to do the chest press correctly to avoid pain and injury.
4. One Arm Dumbbell Row: This exercise builds a strong back. It also strengthens your shoulders, upper arms, and core. You’ll be able to walk and stand longer – at football games, at museums – without having to contend with an aching back. Watch the One Arm Dumbbell Row Video: Strengthen Your Back Without Pain or Injury »
5. 45-Degree Shoulder Raise: The 45-degree shoulder raise can power up your shoulder muscles. You’ll be able to do a lot of things more easily, like lifting your carry-on into the overhead bins of planes. Watch the 45-Degree Shoulder Raise Video: Powerful Shoulders without Pain
6. Reverse Fly – Scapula Retraction: The scapula retraction is a great exercise for improving your posture. The exercise experts at Pritikin recommend using bands. Essentially, you’re moving your shoulder blades (scapula) back toward your spine.
Watch the Scapula Retraction Video: Reverse Fly | Build Good Posture and Strong Shoulders Without Pain »
7. Standard Crunch: Here’s an important exercise for your core. Your Pritikin video will show you how to start with the simplest and safest movements, and from there progress to more challenging forms.
Watch the Standard Crunch Video: How To Do Crunches Without Hurting Yourself »
8. Prone Leg Lift: The prone leg lift is a superb all-purpose exercise for your lower body. It strengthens the lower back, glutes (the three muscles that make up the buttocks), hamstrings, and core. Watch the Video: How To Do Prone Leg Lifts Correctly »

At the Pritikin Longevity Center, the #1 priority is performing every type of exercise correctly to avoid pain and injury.

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