Best Machines for Chest Exercises

Table of Contents

All the muscle gains that bodybuilders flaunt on stage aren’t achieved by overdosing on protein powder. In all my years of training, if there’s one thing I know is that everyone hits the gym in hopes of getting that coveted body. But it’s easy to give up without the proper techniques and strategies.

Building muscle is undoubtedly hard; growing jaw-dropping pectorals is even harder, and it’s a lot more complicated when we rely on lightweight dumbbells and resistance bands. Every good chest workout regime should include progressive training and increased reps. And the most effective way to reach your goals is to become friends with good old gym machines.

Beginner or veteran, it’s not always easy to pinpoint which machines are best suited for pecs – or any area, as a matter of fact. But that’s okay. The knowledge of a professional coach doesn’t come until years of experience with weightlifting. To ease the burden, here’s a detailed guide to the three best machines for chest exercises you should be looking for.

Body-Solid Powerline PCCO90X - Best Cable Crossover Machine

Body-Solid Powerline Cable Crossover Machine - High and Low...
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I’ve chosen to start with the Body-Solid Powerline crossover machine because it targets an often underestimated set of muscles. The lower chest is an area that I always encourage my trainees to work toward improving. What good does muscular imbalance do when all the effort goes into the upper pectorals? 

Its combination of high and low pulleys provides multiple options for chest balance. These pulleys operate with zero friction for swift to and fro motions. The station has the benefit of attaching Olympic and standard plates during use. PCCO90X’s patented nylon framework guarantees quality performance, even after long periods of use. For primary use of the crossover machine:

  1. Hold onto the handles of the pulley levers and step back from the frame.
  2. Position yourself either with one foot forward or both feet equally apart.
  3. With the palms initially facing down and inward (toward the body), slowly pull your hands closer to each other.
  4. Gradually release the hands back to their original position.

What’s even better with this system is that it can be coupled with the flat bench to give a total chest workout. The cable crossover machine can perform core stabilizers and arm and leg exercises.


  • Excellent for full chest workout
  • Easy full range of motion
  • Durable quality frame material
  • Versatile plate attachments
  • Comes with lubricant/oil


  • May be too advanced for beginners

Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine - Best Pec Deck Machine

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There’s no way of claiming rights to a well-developed upper body without having a nicely chiseled upper chest. Marcy Smithhas created this convenient home gym station so that you get the benefit of a total body workout right in your house.

While this equipment is beginner-friendly, it’s also an excellent pick for seasoned individuals. Its built-in pec deck is great for enhancing the strength and mass of chest muscles, or more specifically, the pectoralis major.

One of the benefits of this system is that it eliminates the need to go back to that bench press. I’ve seen many clients struggle to balance their arms before they can even begin their first round of barbell bench presses. But the Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine will do the same job with less headache.

Aside from the other full-body options of left lifts and lat pulldowns, this equipment is excellent for completing multiple reps of butterfly presses. This is the exercise you want for those chest muscles and is exactly what the pec deck is made for.

A primary concern with these machines is that they won’t last well over a year without rusting, but this is no rip-off product. It is made of a heavy-duty steel framing and accompanied by sturdy rods for the safe insertion and use of weights.

Speaking of which, the package includes two sets of 50 lb weight sets, although the advertising does mention it only comes with 90 lbs in total.

The fact that the system comes with built-in weight resistance is another plus for me. I’ve had someone tell me that the levers and handles are easy to glide, which is great if you want to ensure a full range of motion during workouts. You will also notice that all appendages are well-padded for comfort.

Once assembled, the chest workouts are pretty basic to follow through with. To perform a butterfly press, you should:

  1. Ensure that you are correctly seated with your back supported and leaned back.
  2. Hold on to the padded handles on either side of the machine and squeeze your elbows together as you bring them towards your front center.
  3. Pull your arms back towards your body. This is where the work comes in as your muscles lengthen.

Again, the fly-machine isn’t the only feature of this multifunctional system, but it is what you want to take advantage of if you wish to have nice pecs. There’s also a dual arm press and pulley system for building both your upper and lower body. All in all, this would definitely be a great buy, whether or not you’re able to commute to the gym regularly.


  • Excellent for independent fly exercises
  • Weights included in package
  • Built-in weight resistance
  • Smooth movements for wide range of motion
  • Multi-functional; also good for lower body workouts


  • First timers may find it tricky to put together
  • Mislabelled bolts in packaging

Home Gym Weider - Best Seated Chest Press Machine

Like the XtremepowerUS, MegaDeal offers an excellent home gym system with ample uses; my favorite being its seated chest press machine.

Although these models are well known to work the deltoids and latissimus dorsi, they are also good for stimulating the pectoral muscles, much like the traditional bench press. In fact, you can very well consider it an upright bench press.

The chest press feature comes with an adjustable seat that can accommodate varying torsos and comfort levels. I would also like to stress on the resistance it provides – up to 214 lbs. So long as you choose appropriate weights, there isn’t anything really complicated in performing a seated chest press:

  1. Sit against the backrest, with your feet parallel to the floor and shoulder width apart.
  2. In a neutral position, slowly press forward by extending your elbows up in front of your upper body. 
  3. Continue the extension until your elbows are completely opened out.
  4. Likewise, slowly return to your original position by flexing your elbows.

As expected from a home gym station, the Weider comes with other accessibilities for leg curls and arm exercises. At an affordable price, I’d say it’s a great choice for an upper chest workout.


  • Good for activating upper chest muscles
  • Durable Material
  • Adjustable seat
  • Reasonable pricing


  • Some users have difficulty assembling its parts

The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

The equipment are listed, but figuring out the importance of each sounds a lot easier before you actually get started. When it comes to chest-related exercises, the features on most machines are basically the same. Instead, why not consider the effects that these stations could have on your different muscles?

Pectoralis Major

These are the larger pair of chest muscles. They attach the upper chest to the arm. It is no surprise, then, that the major pecs are responsible for allowing motion in the arm. This is made possible through adduction, rotation, flexion, and extension.

With that, you may already figure out why well-developed pectoralis majors are essential. The more anticipated benefits of properly stabilized upper chest muscles are for good posture and overall strength.

What you may not know is that these also help support our back muscles, which are also needed for safe body positioning. These aspects are great for enabling everyday activities like pushing, pulling, and swinging.

While all three of these machines are great at working out these muscles, the XtremepowerUS Multifunctional Home Gym Station does tackle them more directly than the others.

Pectoralis Minor

These would be the smaller, lower chest muscles. They can be found spanning the middle ribs and attaching to the scapula (shoulder blade). Generally, the pectoralis minor function to provide abdominal stability and range of motion in the shoulder.

As the only machine system mentioned to target all pectoral muscles, the Home Gym Weider would be ideal for pectoralis minor enhancement.

The level of effectiveness of the machine mainly depends on the angle of movement of the crossover cable pulleys. For the lower chest, the cables should be held initially above the shoulders and maintain regular movement with the machine at about head level.

Likewise, for workouts directed more for the mid-chest, the arms should be lowered a bit closer to the shoulders.

As a tip when searching for other cable crossover machines, more pulleys included means swifter motion. No one needs extra added resistance to their cable exercise.

The reduction ratio is also something to keep an eye out for. A 1:1 ratio guarantees that you will be working with the exact weight indicated on the weights. Anything higher poses a difference in the actual load you will be pushing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most effective chest exercises?

A common mistake is to walk into the gym and perform all your exercises within the same motion range or with only one type of machine.

There is no perfect chest exercise that can be singled-out amongst the rest. Since each move is aimed at isolating a specific area, the best chest workouts are the ones which include enough exercises to target your muscles from multiple angles.

Barbell bench press usually ranks first for the most effective exercise, especially for the larger pectorals. The butterfly press, forward-bend cable crossover, and chest press all follow and cover a wide range of target areas. Notice how these all require the use of the machines listed. They really are great.

How can I build my chest muscles fast?

Muscle growth requires work both in the gym and in the kitchen. As mentioned before, isolation exercises are essential for improving the condition of your pecs. You may not be able to isolate your upper chest from your lower chest, but you can dedicate a couple days in the gym every week to focusing on activating those muscles.

Don’t rely on the light weights for this; they don’t provide enough of a shock to the fibres to cause any change. You can, however, mix things up a bit with machine chest press and other station exercises, paired with some heavy dumbbell moves.

I can’t stress enough on how important proper nutrition is for muscle growth. Be sure to take in a lot of protein to help repair and recover damaged tissue. Hydration is also key – don’t starve your body of electrolytes during and after workouts. This can be dangerous.

Can I get ripped in 2 months?

As a straight off beginner, this might be difficult. The body takes some time to condition itself to sudden physiological changes. Pace yourself and set more realistic goals.

The process won’t be as difficult for more seasoned gym members, though. With the proper diet and exercise regime, getting ripped is more or less achievable within 8 weeks. You won’t be bodybuilder sculpted though, but there will be some difference in the tone and cut of your curves.

The Conclusion

As much as you may love holding on to those light weights, it’s time to be honest about where you see things heading in the long run. Nothing worth the effort ever comes easily. A muscular chest is one of them. But with the right mindset and preparation, your chest exercise machines can take you all the way to the end of your dream.

If you’ve had any success on your muscular makeover, share some tips with us in the comment section below.

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Jessica Carter
Jessica Carter
Jessica is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and holds a Masters degree in physical therapy from the University of British Columbia. She has been working in the field for 5 years and writes as a freelance about all things fitness related.