Bench Press Exercise (and Variations) for Women
What is a Bench Press?
Bench press is one of the best upper body strengthening exercises, which focuses on all major upper body muscles, especially your chest muscles and triceps. It is usually performed with a barbell and it is safe to perform this exercise with a spotter, especially if you are new to it. The more you do it, the stronger you will feel. The main benefits are a considerable increase strength in your triceps and in the definition into the muscles down the side of your core and back (a lovely and defined silhouette).
The exercise can also be performed with dumbbells if necessary. It can also be performed lying down on the floor, however the range of movement when lying on the floor will work your chest muscles more than your triceps. This exercise can be performed at the gym or at home.
Muscles Used: Pectoralis muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids.
Variations: press ups, dumbbell bench press, floor bench press
1. Lie comfortably on the bench with the barbell just over eye level. Make sure your head, back and glutes are supported by the bench (don’t hang over the edge).
2. Your back needs to be in a comfortable position, not overly arched or completely flat against the bench. Keep your feet flat on either side of the bench.
3. Engage your shoulders by rolling them down your back, as if into their ‘back pockets’. This will force your chest to push out a little
4. Grip the bar at either side, so that your hands are vertically in line with your elbows wrapping your palms firmly around the bar. It will look as if you are forming a rectangle with your arms and the bar.
5. Lift the bar off the rack and extend arms fully so the bar is just over your eye line.
6. Breathe in. Lower the bar slowly down to mid-chest level. Your elbows will drop just below the bench. The bar shouldn’t land on your chest.
7. As you breathe out, push the bar up, straightening your arms, just over your eye line again.
8. Repeat as many repetitions as required, focusing on the form and position of arms, keeping your core engaged at all times.
9. Re-rack the bar safely after your set.