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Woman and Slow Progress on Bench Press

femme et progression au bench press

salut coach , ma femme progresse bien sur les différents exercices principaux (squat , front squat , push press , deadlift /deadsquat , power clean ) mais seul son bench press reste difficile a faire progresser .
est ce particulier pour les femmes que ce soit dur a cet exercice , ou est ce simplement un exercice qui demande vraiment une bio mécanique particulière pour elles ?

woman and progression bench press

coach hi, my wife is progressing well on the various main exercises (squat, front squat, push press, deadlift / deadsquat, clean power) but only his bench press is difficult to make progress.
this is especially for women it’s hard to exercise, or is it simply an exercise that really requires special mechanical bio for them?

Well, right off the bat women tend to be weaker in the upper at equal muscle mass. For example at an equal level of lower body muscle mass, women are as strong as men but tend to be around 60-70% of men in the pure upper body lift., Which might be why her push press is going up nicely (using more lower body).

But women can get strong in the bench no doubt. I have trained and know several women who did in the 185 - 225 range without a bench shirt or drugs. I fact I trained a 53 years old female who was 121lbs who could do 185lbs with a pause on the chest (powerlifting competition). So women can get strong on the bench, but they need to do more upper body hypertrophy work than men to get there.

They also tend to have bad mind-muscle connection with their lats and can’t engage them properly when bench pressing.

I wouldn’t necessarly focus on any one specific upper body muscle, just increase overall upper body muscularity. Focus on more on building up the upper body rather than using a pure strength protocol for the upper body, at least at the moment

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merci coach , on va travailler d’avantage l’hypertrophie du haut du corps , peut-être faire le power look programme aussi .

thank you coach, we will work more hypertrophy of the upper body, maybe make the program look as power.

Well the power look program would not be adequate for her at the moment. The progression model would likely not be sustainable in the higher intensity zones and too easy in the lower intensity phase. Build up the muscles first.

That’s just phenomenal.

Yes x 1000. Honestly, being able to really get my back online is a challenge. I do think that building a stronger back / better lat activation has helped my bench. We always think chest and tris, but I think really anything that builds upper body strength has carry over to the bench press. Strength in something like a bent over BB row seems to carry over for me.

[quote=“Christian_Thibaudeau, post:2, topic:219248”]
They also tend to have bad mind-muscle connection with their lats and can’t engage them properly when bench pressing.[/quote]

Oh hell yes! Absolutely agree, this is definitely my experience with women as trainees.

Out of curiosity what were the common factors for your outstanding female bench pressers? athletic history and such. I assume they focused proportionately more time on hypertrophy than on max strength out of each training block (or maybe year) than guys?

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ok coach

devrait elle ne pas faire de développé couché , mais d’autres variations (incliné , dips, écarté , etc…) , pendant le renforcement des groupes musculaires synergiques ( dos, triceps ,épaules …) ???

The 53 years old female competed in bodybuilding and did traditional hypertrophy work for years. The other strong bench pressers are Crossfit competitors, and 3 of them have a background in competitive gymnastics.


Thinking out loud here regarding lat activation for BP. I’m going to try this before benching next time.

Just warmup a bit with a plate loaded high row machine, a few light single arm high rows from a standing position, with my resting hand on my lats just to remind myself to get my back tight there when I bench.

@Aragorn or @Christian_Thibaudeau, if either of you guys have time would you mind looking at the video of me benching on my log Ballet and Barbells , posted a couple of days ago? I’ve never videoed my lifts, and I’m trying to get a feel for my form. I know things are busy so if you don’t have time this week, no worries.

Actually straight-arm pulldowns as an activation tool would be more specific.

And a drill I use to teach lats activation in the bench press is as follow:

  1. Set up as if you were going to bench, grab the empty bar and get it to your starting position

  2. Have a partner gently pull the bar toward him (he is in a spotter position), you resist him, keeping the bar in place. If you do this with straivgth arms you will have to use the lats to keep it there.

  3. Hold that for 10 seconds focusing on pulling with the lats

  4. The partner stops pulling gradually but you maintain the same lat contration for 10 more seconds

  5. Then perform 3 reps with the bar trying to keep the same lats feeling


Thanks, Christian. I will give that a try. That’s better. Already in a BP position, and immediately before.

ma femme va faire le blitz pecs ,que vous aviez posté , pour renforcer les muscles concernés :slight_smile:
un bon choix ?
merci coach

4 WEEKS pectorals Hypertrophy SPECIALIZATION
(Do the Saami schedule for 4 weeks)

A / Bench press 3 x 4, 3 x 8
B / Dips (weighted if possible) 4 x 6-8
C / DB Incline Press 4 x 8-10
D / Wide-grip bench press 3 x 12-15
E / DB seated shoulder press 4 x 8-10

A / 4 x 4-6 Front squat
B / Leg press 3 x 12-15
C / Bulgarian split squat 3 x 8-10 / Leg
D / Leg curl 3 x 8-10

A / Behind neck press 4 x 8-10

Superset 1 (4 sets)
1.1 Incline DB press x 8-10
1.2 Flat DB press (same weight) x max reps

Superset 2 (4 sets)
Pec Deck Machine 2.1 x peak contraction 8-10 seconds per rep 2
Dips 2.2 (unweighted) x max reps

Superset 3 (4 sets)
3.1 Decline DB press x 8-10 negative in 4 seconds
3.2 Decline DB flies x 8-10 hold the stretch 2 seconds per rep

A / rack pull) 4 x 6
B / Pull-ups pronated grip (use a hard or bands if a nimble if possible) 4 x 6-8
C / DB Chest-supported Row 4 x 6-8 second peak contraction by 2 rep
D / DB shrugs torso tilted slightly peak contraction 4 x 10-12 seconds per rep 2

A / Bench press 4 x 6-8 negative in 5 seconds (no lockout)

Superset 1 (4 sets)
1.1 Pec Deck Machine highest hands shoulders x 8-10
1.2 Pec Deck Machine hands shoulder level (same weight x max reps
1.3 Pec Deck Machine lowest hands shoulders (same weight) x max reps

Superset 2 (4 sets)
2.1 Floor press x 8-10
Dips 2.2 (non-weighted) x max reps
2.3 Push-ups x max reps