Alternatives To The Bench Press

The bench press is a classic but sometimes you be in a position where you can not do it. This is when this list of bench press alternatives can be useful in your quest for benchless mass and strength gains.



Push-ups can be a great bench press alternative. The exercise is fairly simple and can be done at home. In order to make push-ups more difficult you can add weight by using a backpack.

There are also plenty of difficult push-up progressions such as the planche that will keep you busy for a lifetime. Another bonus of the push-up is that it’s a very shoulder friendly exercise and strengthens your scapular stabilizers.


Similar to the push-up the dip is a solid pushing upper body exercise. When doing dips it’s even easier to add weight by using a belt. Before adding weight consider becoming proficient in the regular bodyweight version of the exercise. The downsides of dips is that they are not the most shoulder friendly exercise.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Many people who experience shoulder pain during regular barbell bench presses feel fine when performing the exercise with dumbbells. That’s because dumbbells allow you to find a groove that’s less stressful to the shoulder joint unlike the bar which forces you into a locked position.

Overhead Barbell Press

The overhead barbell press is a pushing exercise that requires serious core strength and support. It works the whole shoulder girdle and is one of the best things you can do for your shoulders. The exercise is usually joint friendly when performed correctly.

People who experience shoulder pain during bench presses often respond much better to the overhead barbell press. The downside of this exercise is that it does not stimulate the chest as much the bench press because you are standing upright. To fix that problem you may add an accessory lift such as dips or push-ups in order to increase the load on the pectoral muscles.

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