How Much Weight for Barbell Chest Presses?

Having a spotter decreases the likelihood for injury.

Having a spotter decreases the likelihood for injury.

Chest exercises aren't just for men who want to be chiseled and look good shirtless. They are also beneficial for building the pectoral muscles of a woman's chest, decreasing her bust size and giving a natural lift to your breasts. Knowing how to execute the proper form with the right amount of weight can lead to visible results safely.

Chest Press

Ask a friend to spot you during this exercise to avoid injury. Lie down on your back onto a weight bench with your feet flat on the floor. Position yourself on the bench so your eyes are directly under the barbell. Place your hands on the barbell so your grip is slightly wider than your chest. Raise the barbell off the rack and slowly lower it until it almost touches your chest. Immediately press it upward until your arms are straight.

Muscle Failure

Muscle failure might sound scary, but finding this threshold will help you understand how heavy you need to make the barbell for an effective chest workout. As you are exercising, your muscles will begin to get tired and the exercise will start to get harder. When you feel like you almost cannot lower or lift the barbell, you have reached muscle failure. Use a weight that you can achieve this within 90 seconds. Communicate with your spotter to avoid passing muscle failure, which could result in the heavy bar landing on your chest.

Safe Progression

Don't jump right into lifting what you think your muscles can tolerate -- lifting too heavy, too fast can create muscle tears and strains. Start with a relatively light weight and work for 90 seconds. If you can complete the exercise easily without tiring, add five to 10 pounds to the bar and try again. This will also be helpful for increasing your workload over time. As you gain power and strength, you will need to lift heavier weights to continue challenging your muscles.

Frequency

Doing the same exercise each day can become boring, but it also doesn't allow enough time for muscle recovery. During weightlifting exercises, tiny tears are created in your muscles fibers. These fibers are repaired and your muscles become stronger during rest days. Wait a full 48 hours between each session for proper recovery. If your chest still feels sore, wait an additional day.

 

About the Author

Ashley Farley has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. She is also a writer specializing in healthy living, fitness and nutrition topics. Farley has an Associate of Science in mental health services from the Community College of the Air Force and is pursuing her B.A. in English at Wright State University.

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