Considered one of the most fundamental lifts, the chest press is an excellent way to measure your progress—just add the numbers on the plates! (Although not while you are doing the chest press. I’ve learned the hard way that math + lifting weights = disaster.) Lie on your back on a weight bench and either grip a barbell or two dumbbells. With a spotter nearby, press the weight straight up and then bring the bar back down until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Use the heaviest weight you can safely handle for 5 reps.