Should Women Do Chest Exercises?

I know there are women out there who lean towards excessive cardio, because the general idea is that weight training will bulk them up. Of course this is the furthest thing from the truth because a) women don’t produce enough testosterone to be “built like a man” strictly from lifting weights, b) bulking up includes being in a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you are burning) and c) the women who many of these people see with physiques that are “manly” are either competitors or they have used anabolic agents to help them reach THEIR goal of achieving the look you see.

Shoutout to my awesome client Kelly B. for this topic

Luckily, more and more women are catching on and seeing the benefits of resistance training; even though some still believe in lifting lighter weights for millions of repetitions to “tone up”. There are still a few misconceptions out there plaguing women when it comes to resistance training. The biggest one is what I mentioned before…lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions to “tone up” out of fear of being built like a man. And the other one is chest training – which is why you’re here. So let’s cover 3 common questions/concerns women have when it comes to training chest.

Q) Won’t training my chest make my boobs smaller?

A) Exercise in general will reduce your chest size. So, it’s not specific to doing chest exercises. Your boobs are made up of fat and when you exercise, you’re losing body fat from all over your body which [unfortunately for some] includes your boobs. But while some may frown at the thought of their breasts getting smaller, it should be noted that this helps achieve the “lift” many women are looking for – especially those who have given birth. Keep in mind, the amount of “boob-age” you lose is not a significant amount and like everything else with fitness…it depends on the individual.

Q) Will bench pressing make me look like a man?

A) I get it. Men brag about their bench press and it used to be the way the gym gorilla earned his reputation. So it’s easy to assume that you, as a woman, will morph into the gorilla beast you associate with the exercise. It’s simply not true. The bench press, or any other chest exercise for that matter, helps develop various muscles in the upper body. That silver back gorilla looking fella? Yeah, he has genetics, testosterone and a likely a diet to support his frame and his strength. You can’t look at him, or people like him, and assume that result is universal for everyone.

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Q) I’m not a Powerlifter/Bodybuilder – so why should I train my chest?

A) A great deal of women struggle with upper body strength. Obviously, your goal doesn’t have to be of a competitive nature to improve your upper body strength. Think about everyday functions and the long term. Surely you want to be able to do something simple like..push your own body weight or not struggle to do some of the more simple things in life. Most women tend to focus more on legs and abs – leaving upper body in the taboo category of “what will make me manly”. Training your chest incorporates more than just your pectoral muscles. You are training your shoulders, triceps, core and burning calories. You are working towards that overall “fit” and “toned” look you’ve always wanted.

You shouldn’t avoid doing chest exercises out of fear of looking like a man or losing your feminine features. Think about what you’re gaining – strength, a more sculpted physique and overall balance. If you’re not completely comfortable with training chest regularly, then sneak it in with other upper body training days. But don’t run from it. -T.H.E.