The Guillotine Press: Is It The Best Exercise For Chest?

The guillotine press is an exercise that not too many people know about. Guillotine press: The Best Chest Exercise Out There?

The power it holds to achieving a very impressive chest is virtually unknown, but to a small amount of people.

We’re here to change that.

I’ve been doing the guillotine press for about a year and a half now and have seen amazing results.

I’ve never seen anyone else in the gym do this exercise because it’s simply never taught.

We’ll be going over what the guillotine press is, how to execute it, and some tips and WARNINGS!

The Guillotine Press


The guillotine press aka the neck press, was invented by Vince Gironda, a very well known professional bodybuilder who won 4th in the 1950 Mr. USA and 2nd in the 1951 AAU Mr. America.

He believed that the normal way of doing the bench press was not a very effective exercise to target the chest.

My own experiences have shown this to be true.

Yes, you do target the chest, but not as effectively as you might think.

With the neck press, instead of bringing the bar down to your lower pecs/chest/nipple area, you’re bringing the bar down just below your chin, or neck area, hence the nick name of the exercise, the neck press.

At first, that didn’t sound very safe to me.

But I gave it a try, with light weight and a spotter, and I was a complete convert from that day forward.

Comparing it to a regular bench press, I felt my chest working a whole lot more.

I not only felt it in my upper chest, but my lower and mid-chest area as well.

The Guillotine Press – The How To

This exercise is basically the same thing as a normal bench press, except you’re bringing the bar down to your chin/neck area instead of your lower chest.

– Find a flat bench press

– Load up a bar with some weights – start out light to get a feel for the exercise. If you normally bench 225, start off with just 100 pounds or even 90 pounds.

– Lay down on the bench and grab the bar with a wide grip.

– Push the bar up to get into the starting position.

– Slowly lower the bar down to your chin/neck area and push up.(How low? see below)

– Repeat

The Guillotine Press – Tips And Warnings

Some very experienced weight lifters might look at this exercise as a very dangerous exercise. I thought the same thing the very first time I heard about it.

I have a slight forward rotation on my right shoulder. Some people, if they really look (my wife’s the first one to ever notice it) will be able to see it.

But because of this “handicap”, I’m not able to perform a few exercises that puts my shoulders in a weird position.

There’s some people with great shoulder mobility who can do any exercise, I’m not one of them.

So I knew, or at least I thought I knew, that this exercise wouldn’t jive with me.

I gave it a try, but instead of going all the way down and touching my neck, I just go down about 90 degrees and that’s it.

Any lower and I’ll probably wreck my shoulders.

This goes with every other bench exercise that I do, I only go down about 90 degrees.

Some exercise physiologist recommend the same – don’t go below 90 degrees on the bench.

And it’s good advice.

If you go any lower, you run the risk of wrecking your shoulders and rotator cuff.

Once you do that, you can kiss goodbye ALL upper body exercises for a long time.

Even if you don’t have shoulder problems, I still recommend not going below a 90 degree angle with this exercise and with any other bench press variations.

The risk of shoulder injuries is just not worth it.

If you already have a preexisting shoulder condition, this may not be a good exercise for you.


Out of all the chest exercises out there, the guillotine press is one of the top 3 absolute best exercises for total chest development.

5 thoughts on “The Guillotine Press: Is It The Best Exercise For Chest?

  1. Yes i definitely also go only 90 degrees on all my benches especially the guillotine. ON certain reps during the guillotine movement i may come all the way down for a deep stretch, but thats for only 1 or 2 reps out of 10,

    And i do have a very well developed chest

    • Chest man,

      That’s the way to do it! I myself only go
      all the way down on my warm up sets, even then,
      it’s only a few reps due to a slight forward
      rotation on my right shoulder.

      The neck press (guillotine press) accounts for
      about 90-95% of my barbell benching. It’s that


  2. Wow.

    I feel my chest pump up for the ‘first time’ even during a bench workout. I arch my back still and my entire chest shakes at the top of the motion. Love it. Fuck bench press and heavy weight bench press. THIS IS THE BEST. along with dips. I do only this and dips and the pump is amazing but i have bad chest genetics so it doesnt really help but who knows after a year it does.

    • For sure! It’s definitely a top exercise that gets results… and once you get it going and “master it”, DO NOT be afraid to go heavy on this <--- just be careful.

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