Despite what you have been told countless times, women should be completing the simple, yet important, bench press. It’s hard to determine where the notion that women shouldn’t do this lift came from, but it is simply not true. Let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding the bench press and why women can benefit by adding it to their fitness routine.
Let’s talk about the breasts
Almost all myths involving women and the bench center around what happens to your breasts when you strengthen your pectoral muscles (the muscles underneath the breasts). The reality is the two have almost nothing to do with one another. Breast size has everything to do with diet, and nothing to do with the muscles underneath them.
It’s impossible for breasts to become firmer or shrink in size because you started doing the bench press. If anything, working out your pecs might give you a little extra cleavage, because more developed chest muscles will help prop up your breasts a little a more. If you notice your breasts shrinking or firming up, it is related to your diet rather than bench presses.
The perfect body
Picture Hugh Jackman for a minute. There he is with his bulging arms, a massive back, and chiseled abs. Now picture him with a flat, non-existent chest. It seems pretty ridiculous, right? Well, that is essentially what most women do by not focusing on their chest muscles. However, it isn’t as prominent visually when we do it, because our breasts are in the way.
The reality is that muscle imbalances like this can be dangerous. They can lead to bad posture, as the weight of your body becomes uneven and may also make it harder for you to complete other exercises. Remember, you aren’t going for bulk muscle gain with your chest, but instead want to find the perfect balance for your body. The bench will assist with this.
Why the bench press?
The bench press seems to have developed a stigma that sees it viewed as a male-only exercise. Perhaps it’s because a lot of bench presses at the local gym seem to be dominated by large men who grunt a lot. Don’t be put off by this, however. The bench press is a most effective chest exercise. It is also a compound exercise, which means you will work several other muscle groups and raise your heart rate in addition to firming up your pecs.
And while you are probably familiar with other chest exercises, like push-ups and the chest fly, these don’t challenge the pecs in the same manner that the bench does. Incorporating the bench press into your chest routine is a useful way to keep your muscles on their toes.
Here’s what else to know
You will want to approach the bench press in the same way you do other lifts. Two to three sets at eight to ten repetitions each is sufficient. Make sure you’re using a challenging weight. Remember that it will take time to build up your strength, especially if you haven’t worked out your pecs in a while. So don’t feel the need to throw on heavy weights right away, but don’t go too light either, and always make sure you have someone to spot you.
We know all the proper techniques for the bench press, military press and other exercises that will firm and tone your body. Contact us today for more information.