The vertical chest press machine can strengthen your pecs.
As with many major muscle groups, you can exercise your chest with a variety of tools and from several angles. If free weights aren't available, or you're looking for some variety in your workouts, you may wish to exercise your pectoral muscles with a chest press machine. The machine puts your torso in a vertical position, rather than the horizontal, inclined or declined positions of standard barbell chest presses. Perform five to 10 minutes of cardio activity to get your pecs ready before you sit in the machine.
Adjust the Machine and Go to Work
As long you set up the chest press machine correctly, it's fairly difficult to do the exercise with incorrect form. Adjust the seat height so the machine's handles are as high as the middle of your chest. Sit with your back against the back support and your feet flat on the floor. Use an overhand grip and align your forearms with the handles. Exhale as you push the handles away from you. Stop just short of locking your elbows. Inhale as you let the handles return slowly to the starting position.
Work Your Chest, Shoulders and Arms
The vertical chest press works the same primary muscles as the horizontal version. Vertical chest presses target the sternal head of the pectoralis major, your largest chest muscle. The exercise also works the clavicular head of your pecs, on your upper chest, the anterior deltoids in front of each shoulder and the triceps in your arms. Additionally, the short head of your biceps muscles are engaged as stabilizers.
Vary Your Vertical Chest Press
Some chest press machines let you work one arm at a time. Other machines allow you to adjust the handles' width. If you spread the handles farther than shoulder-width apart you shift some emphasis to the outer pecs. Moving the handles close together targets the inner pecs. If you raise the seat, leaving the handles lower than your middle chest, you'll work the lower pecs harder. Lowering the seat forces the upper pecs to work harder.
Add Vertical Presses to Your Workouts
Perform 10 to 12 repetitions of the vertical press whenever you work your chest. To build muscle, do at least two chest workouts per week, but not on consecutive days, and use progressively heavier weights. Add 5 to 10 percent more weight whenever 12 reps doesn't challenge your muscles. If you're looking for the fastest, most efficient way to build chest muscles, the best exercises you can perform are the horizontal bench press, pec deck flyes and bent-forward cable crossovers, according to a 2012 American Council on Exercise study. Vertical chest presses were fourth on the ACE list, ahead of exercises such as pushups, dips and incline flyes. But the vertical press elicited just 79 percent as much muscle activation as the horizontal bench press.