Get ready to dominate the bar girl, cos we’re about to take you through everything you need to know about how to bench press.
Now, a lot of girls think they shouldn’t train arms. They’re worried about getting bulky and anyway, we’re all just here for the booty gains, right?
Although we can all admire a peachy booty, you gotta work your bench too, girl. And unless you’re taking some nasty steroids, you’re never going to get bro-levels of bulky. It’s just not in your DNA.
By including upper-body days in your routine, you’ll be on track to achieving that coveted all-round physique. With the perfect bench press for women, you’ll feel stronger and more confident in this essential big three lift. It can even help firm up your other lifts too.
What are you waiting for?! Hit the bench girl!
How to bench press
To start you off on this guide to upper-body perfection, we’ve got to teach you how to bench press. It’s one of the big three lifts in powerlifting, a super effective compound movement and a key muscle building tool.
You’ve seen the gym bros go nuts for it, but now it’s time to check it out for yourself. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions:
- Lie in the bench with the bar directly above your face
- You should have an arch in your back, so you can easily slide your hand underneath. Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor and your shoulders back and tight beneath you
- Grip the bar at just outside shoulder-width apart
- Push it up and out of the rack, so it’s now above your upper chest/lower throat and your arms are going completely straight upwards
- Slowly lower the bar down to your chest so it touches down in the centre, right over your nipples
- Push the bar up in a smooth motion, until your arms are straight again, and the bar is above your upper chest and lower throat.
Top tip: Try widening your grip a little if you feel too much of the strain through your triceps. That will recruit more big muscles in your chest.
We recommend you start off light to get used to the form. Take it easy to make sure you get the technique down. If you haven’t benched before, don’t worry if you get shaky arms and aren’t achieving a smooth movement. That will come as your deeper, stabilizing muscles develop and your body learns to adapt to the exercise.
Once you’re good with the overall movement, you should start adding more weight to it. Don’t go crazy and start throwing on the big plates, girl. Where you can easily add 10kg to your deadlift or squat, the arms need much smaller increments. Become best friends with those teeny tiny plates and build yourself up nice and slow.
If it starts to get heavy, grab your gym girl and ask her to spot for you. With a little support from your sister, you’ll be able to hit bigger weights and not worry about dropping the bar or injury.
How to incline bench press
The barbell bench press is a key lift to have in your arsenal, but that’s not where it ends. It’s the lift that keeps on giving.
Once you’ve got the bench press nailed, you can start working on other variations, designed to target your muscles in new, hella-painful ways. The incline bench press alters the focus on your body, putting more emphasis on your upper chest and shoulders.
Turn up the heat on your upper-body day with this variation on the standard bench press:
- Find an adjustable gym bench
- Alter the back of the bench so it sits at around a 60-degree angle and place it under the bar rack
- Sit on the bench and grip the bar at just outside shoulder width apart
- Press the bar up and out of the rack until your arms are straight and pushing directly upwards
- Lower the bar to your chest in a straight line. This should be to your upper chest rather than below your nipples as with the normal bench
- Push the bar directly up again until your arms are completely straight
Top tip: Perform this one with dumbbells for adding muscle building potential. The unilateral nature of the movement will help you iron out muscle imbalances and get those stabilizing microfibers working hard for you.
This one will make washing your hair a little difficult, but the strength that comes from it will be amazing. So, we’re sorry… but you’re also welcome.
What muscles does the bench press work?
Your bench press is a key compound movement, which means it works a range of muscles in your upper body. With this movement you’ll be working your:
- Pectorals (chest muscles)
- Triceps (back of your arms)
- Anterior deltoids (front of your shoulders)
- Latissimus dorsi (back muscles)
It’s works a huge range of muscles in your upper body, so it’s one of the best things out there to challenge your body. What’s more, because you’re working so many muscle groups in one go, you’ll improve muscle coordination.
Benefits of doing the bench press
Now, we know that if you’re new to the gym, it can feel a little intimidating get started on the bench. Guys love working bench and seeing them push big weights could easily put you off. But don’t sweat it girl, we’re all here to do our own workouts and, besides, the bench has so many benefits, you need to get on it.
We’ll start with strength, shall we? There’s no doubt that drilling a compound upper body movement is one of the most effective ways to build muscle. It encourages your body to work together and improve strength in a more intelligent way – you just don’t get that from isolated movements.
By working bigger sets of muscles you’ll be burning more calories as your work out. That’s great if you’re looking to get rid of fat and tone up in your workout. The extra bonus is, the muscle you grow from drilling your bench will also use up more calories on a day to day basis. Sweet.
Shape and confidence
Working bench and pursuing upper-body strength is also an excellent way to help you achieve that incredible, athletic body shape. You’ll be able to craft an enviable hourglass figure. What’s more, as you get stronger, you’ll feel empowered and confident in the gym space, having mastered the top three key lifts.
Get out there, girl. Slay the bench press and achieve that well-rounded body strength and full physique all at once.
Drilling the bench will make you fitter, healthier and stronger, so don’t spend all your time on those isolated movements. Give the bench a go.
Looking for more articles to get you started in the gym? Have a read of these: