The older you get, the more important strength training becomes to build strong bones and stave off osteoporosis. And if you can score a boob lift at the same time? Where do we sign up? Hello perky boobs…
Benching For Your Boobs
Enter the bench press, a move made famous by buff dudes in #DoYouEvenLift memes and gym-fail compilations. But, say the experts, women are missing out because presses can improve power for sports performance (read: that Muddy Princess race you’re training for), build bone density and improve flexibility in your upper body.
And because it’s a strength-training move, it’ll torch the fat you’re looking to whittle. “Several of the muscles in the front upper shoulder, ribcage and triceps will engage,” says Marelize Esterhuizen, group and personal trainer at Huba Fitness in Cape Town. “Remember that muscles respond best to a challenge, so don’t be afraid to lift heavy!”
It’s also important to give your muscles a break, so do this move three times a week with a rest between training days. Aim for two sets of 15 to 20 reps, says Ria Sandenbergh, chair of Sport Physiotherapy South Africa.
Avoid If… Your joints are hypermobile or you’re prone to shoulder injury. Need a challenge or want to up the difficulty level? Try these tweaks for different gains…
Play With Spacing
“Narrower hand spacing trains the triceps; a wider spacing places greater emphasis on the shoulders.” – Marelize Esterhuizen, group and personal trainer at Huba Fitness in Cape Town.
“Lower the bar for a three-second count before it touches your chest, then push the bar back to start – this is great for increased muscle endurance.” – Sanchia du Preez, boxing trainer (pictured)
This one will challenge your core stability. “Perform the press on a Swiss ball with your head supported and your gluteus muscles contracted so that your body makes a straight line.” – Ria Sandenbergh, chair of Sport Physiotherapy SA
Signs You’re Doing It Wrong
You’re not firmly planted on the bench. “Keep your shoulders and glutes flat on the bench at all times,” says Esterhuizen. Lifting them puts strain on those muscles, which could lead to injury.
You’re lifting too heavy. If you can’t fully lift the weight into the air, it’s too heavy for you. Start with something that will let you do at least 15 good reps.