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Svend Press: How To Do, Muscles Worked & Tips

svend press

The Svend Press is a rather unique and not very well-known exercise by the younger athletes today, as it was invented a long time ago and is considered “outdated”. This is a chest workout using two barbell plates. Although it’s no longer very well known or used, it’s not an excuse to prevent you from trying to diversify your chest workout with it. Let’s go into more detail.

What Muscles Does The Svend Press Work?

The exercise is primarily aimed at the pectoral muscles. As a results the athlete will see improvements in chest development as it gets a good boost for growth. The following muscles work:

  • chest muscles;
  • latissimus dorsi muscle;
  • triceps.

As a secondary benefit, the Svend Press will also enable progress in exercises aimed at working out the muscles of the back. For example Deadlift.

svend chest press

How To Do The Svend Chest Press?

You will need two barbell plates to do a Svend Chest. 10 lbs is considered the minimum plate weight for this exercise. You can try to start with a smaller weight (5 lbs) if you are a beginner. Then gradually increase the weight.

The Svend Chest Press technique looks like this:

  1. Press the plates firmly against each other with the palms of your hands. The arms are bent at the elbows and the palms are placed at chest level. This is the starting position.
  2. Take a breath and then on the exhale, squeeze out the plates in front of you. At the same time, straighten your arms and continue to squeeze your palms tightly. Try not to drop the plates. This movement can be performed directly away from yourself or slightly at an upward diagonal. Feel the target muscles of the chest working and continue to practice until you reach the ideal technique and increase the weight if possible.
  3. Return to the starting position and move on to the next rep. Focus on 3-4 sets of 10 reps.

The technique is simple, but for beginners it can be more difficult than it seems. Keep your arms up and start with less weight.

If you are an experienced athlete, you can not only increase the weight of the two barbell plates, but also the number of barbell plates to make it more challenging.

It is recommended to do this exercise as the final exercise of a chest workout.

The Svend Press with Dumbbell

There is also an alternative way to do the Svend Press, by using one or two dumbbells. This variation is similar to a standard dumbbell press, but the dumbbells are positioned parallel to each other and are pressed tightly together.

Lie down on a bench with your arms in the shape of a diamond. The dumbbells are then lowered and at the same time, the elbows are spread apart, making the chest work at the lowest point. Then return to the starting position.

This exercise can also be performed standing up.

It is better not to use a lot of weight as this is not a basic exercise.


The Svend Press was very popular amongst athletes in its time. But later it moved into a category of “forgotten exercises”. Since then, many other effective and more popular exercises have appeared, however it is still worth trying the Svend Press.

The Svend Press can be used to diversify your chest workout and can even help overcome stagnation and help you make continued progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Svend Karlsen?

Svend Karlsen is a Norwegian professional bodybuilder and powerlifter. He became famous for his cry “Viking Power!” and invented this exercise which was named after him. Sven retired from his sports career in 2006.

How Much Weight Should Be Used For The Svend Press?

We recommend using the following weights for Svend Press:

  • for beginners: from 5 lbs and more (consistently);
  • for experienced athletes: from 10 lbs and more.

How Effective Is The Svend Press?

The Svend Press can’t be the only exercise an athlete does for a chest workout. It has formative and pump characteristics. This exercise should be added to chest supersets or performed at the end of the chest workout.

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