Technique Tuesday

Last week we worked through the Progressions and Regressions of the Press-up. So here we’re staying with the Pressing action.

Bench Press

Firstly, yes women can do Bench Press. It won’t turn you into the legend that is Arnie! 🙂

So, we’ll start with the set-up…(see above)

  1. Feet flat and under your thighs – push these into the ground and away from you to gain a solid base and footing.
  2. Part 1 will give you a slight arch in you mid-back (don’t worry about this)
  3. When gripping the bar, ‘pull the bar apart’ to create control of the bar
  4. From this, squeeze your shoulder blades into the centre of your back on the bench (pack your shoulder) to keep a strong/safe shoulder position

Nb – not as simple as laying down and picking the bar up…

The Press

  1. Control the bar down to the highest point on your chest
  2. Keep your elbows tucked in around 45 degrees from your body. Look for a vertical forearm.
  3. Touch your chest with the bar but do not relax/rest the bar here
  4. The bar wants to be touching your top whilst tension is still going through your shoulders, chest, back and arms.
  5. From here, push yourself into the bench and drive the bar up
  6. At the top of the rep your shoulders should still be packed and not extending forward


So then, if you struggle with the balance of the Barbell Bench Press due to one arm being weaker than the other, the best way to build up to it is by becoming better at, (you guessed it) the press-up!

Although if you fancy a different variation, you can try DB Bench Press. This will help iron out any imbalances from side to side.

We have the exact same set up here although we can’t ‘pull the bar apart’, we simply grip the Dumbbell and pack the shoulder.

As we control the DB down, keep it off your chest again and keep a vertical forearm again, we don’t want to ‘bounce’ these anywhere, they want to slow and controlled throughout.

A good idea would be to build a base of control, so go light and do more repetitions.


So as you get stronger, you may want to vary the Bench Press and progress it to help you get stronger.

Here we can add Bands or chains to increase tension towards the top range of the movement. This is where we usually have to slow the pressing phase down so not to injure the elbow due to hyperextension of the joint.

Doing this will mean we have to continually add force into the bar to finish the rep with the added tension from the bands/chains (see below). This will also require your shoulders and back to work harder to stabilise and control the movement and not to let the bar ‘drop’ onto your chest.

Any questions or advice on how to fit these moves into your workouts, please fire them over!