Tell me please which article I have to use in the following sentence.

Today I am going to train my chest by doing the/a bench press and the*/**a inclined dumbbell bench press.

I have definitely heard English native speakers trainers use both the definite and indefinite article, and even zero one. Is there a rule as to which articles one has to use before the names of exercises, or is it optional?

  • There is no specific rule for exercises, so your question is covered by this one and lots of others.
    – Stephie
    Oct 20, 2018 at 14:49
  • Possible duplicate of Articles: When do I use "a", "the", or "__"?
    – Stephie
    Oct 20, 2018 at 14:50
  • If there were such a rule, you could easily find it, right? ["train my chest" is a no-go.] Also, I believe we have answered this question before, so this tells me you might not have grasped the basic idea with the/a.
    – Lambie
    Oct 20, 2018 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


the bench press refers to the lift as prototype or archetype, not as an instance. a bench press refers to a single instance of the class "bench press".

If I say

Today, my plan is to do a bench press.

it means I will do just one of them.

If I say

Today, my plan is to do the bench press.

it could mean, and probably does mean, that I am going to practice doing them, and will do several or even quite a few of them. The only situation where it would refer to just one press is where you'd discussed attempting this lift with someone, and now you're telling them that you plan to attempt it today, or some similar context. The meaning would be "the aforementioned bench-press".

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