Become a Personal Trainer

Pec Deck Machine - How To Use It Properly

Pec Deck Machine – How To Use It Properly

The peck deck is a machine often present in the gym and is inserted in the bodybuilding training cards to train the pectorals. It is also called a pectoral machine and it is possible to perform:

  • horizontal push, the main focus is chest training ;
  • vertical thrust, the target is the shoulders.

Peck Deck: Correct Execution

Let’s see what is the correct execution both in the case of the horizontal and vertical thrust.

Horizontal thrust :

  • keep your chest open throughout the movement and your shoulders down as if you want to touch your buttocks ( abducted and depressed shoulder blades ),
  • maintain lumbar lordosis without “flattening the whole back” on the bench,
  • the elbows must be under the level of the shoulders during descent and ascent,
  • the forearm must be perpendicular to the ground, both in front and side view.

In the case of vertical thrust, however:

  • place the bench in such a way as to respect the scapular plane as much as possible during the push, that is the angle of about 30 ° that the scapula forms with the frontal plane, resting on the rib cage.
  • push the load vertically, keeping your forearm perpendicular to the ground.

Muscles Involved In The Peck Deck



Great pectoral

Anterior deltoid


Upper trapezius
Grand pectoral (partially)

Common Mistakes In The Pec Deck Machine

The most common errors in the execution of the peck deck mainly concern the setting of the shoulder blades, both in the case of the vertical and horizontal thrust.

RELATED:  Full Body Workout - This Workout Hits Every Muscle

Placing the bench too far forward brings the shoulder into greater abduction, while if it is too far back the push line will be incorrect, putting you in a disadvantageous position to express strength and to work your shoulders correctly.

In addition to the positioning of the bench, do not forget to perform depression and scapular adduction and do not lose this setting by throwing the shoulders forward in the push or by moving the elbows away from or near the torso during the movement.

Variants Of The Pec Deck

There are more variants than the versions just analyzed, each leading to a different muscle involvement depending on the option chosen.


Reverse Pec Deck

Position yourself on the seat looking at the backrest and carry out a sort of rear opening
Posterior deltoid

Sloped Pec Deck

Tilt the bench at least 45 degrees
Clavicular portion of the pectoralis major and anterior deltoid

Narrow Pec Deck

Grip as wide as the bust
Clavicular bundles of the pectoralis major and triceps

Alternative Exercises To The Pec Deck

The best alternative exercises that you can perform as an alternative to the horizontal peck deck are:

  • chest press and the like,
  • bench presses with different inclinations with barbell or dumbbells,
  • shoulder press,
  • thrusts overhead sitting or standing with barbell or dumbbells.


In conclusion, the horizontal peck deck as a machine constrains the trajectory of movement and hardly allows physiological joint movement during exercises. Furthermore, it removes the active stabilization component necessary during movements performed with free barbells and dumbbells, forgiving errors and/or compensations that free weights do not allow.

RELATED:  How to Bench Press Correctly

This does not mean that you do not get aesthetic results, but a fundamental component is missing, that is the coordinative one, necessary however in many other exercises. Do you have to avoid cars? No, but use them logically, aware of the limits you may face and that there are better or worse machines for each district.

The machine must not be an “escape” from learning unguided movements, but rather an aid to provide stimuli and perform jobs that would not be optimized with free weights. The advice is, first of all, to learn how to use free weights, with the right gradualness and preparation to create essential motor baggage to optimize results in the medium-long term.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *