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When was the last time someone asked you how much you bench? What do you mean, never? But you're an extremely fit, muscular woman. Surely someone must have asked you at some point about your bench totals. No? In all seriousness, we're not surprised.
While any man sporting a bit of bulge in his biceps is begged for his bench digits, fit women such as ourselves don't get the same kind of grilling. We'd guess this is because the bench is in the free-weight room at just about every gym we've seen, and that room remains primarily the domain of beefy brutes and wimpy wannabes - all male.
Despite the fact that it's now 2008 and women have made major strides in infiltrating that free-weight room, the bench press is still simply not seen as an exercise women habitually do. We hope to rectify that right here, right now, because while there are many other ways to get a good pectoral workout, the bench press truly can't be beat.
Why You Should Bench Press
There are numerous benefits your physique can reap by adding the bench press to your weekly regimen.
It Provides A Measure Of Your Upper-Body Strength:
As it turns out, there's actually a pretty good reason why guys are always comparing bench press totals. The number of pounds you can bench press is an important figure with real significance to fitness professionals.
Because the bench is a compound, or multi-joint, exercise (it involves not only your pecs but also your front delts, triceps and even lats), it's the universal benchmark for upper-body strength used by strength coaches and exercise physiologists. The more you can bench, the stronger you are and the better overall shape you're in.
Click To Enlarge.
The More You Can Bench, The Stronger You Are
And The Better Overall Shape You're In.
It Builds Your Pecs Like No Other Exercise:
Even though you use other muscle groups when benching, your pecs are still the major target. But because they get a lot of help in raising that bar, you can put more weight on it. The more weight you can press, the more you're overloading those muscles. Need we say that the more you overload, the more you build? No machine allows you to stress your pecs like the bench press.
It Can Carve Out Your Cleavage:
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Reality check: Bench pressing won't make double-Ds out of your A cups, nor will it give you a surgery-free breast lift. In fact, it won't have much effect on your breasts. What it will do, however, is fill out your chest, which makes those sexy, summery blouses and dresses look that much better on you.
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And, if you're really committed to your chest workouts and your diet, benching can sculpt the inner area of your pecs, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing peek of athletic cleavage. Plus, because benching also involves the delts and triceps, you'll end up with a more athletic frame and taut, shapely arms.
For more info on how to use the bench press to your advantage, plus our full Hers "Boost Your Bench" routine, pick up the July/August issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers, on sale now.