A lot of women struggle to get their lower body and glutes into the bench press.
In one of my classes I put together a workout with a big focus on how to engage your glutes when bench pressing.
But first let me share my workout of the day we did in my class and how glutes tie into the bench press.
A1. Bench Press 5 Sets of 8 reps at 70-75%
A2. TRX Iso Hold 20-30 seconds (f you don’t have a TRX try Fat Man Pull Ups
A3. Hip Thruster (or glute bridge it’s known as) with kettlebell or dumbell hold for 25-30 seconds
Rest 1 minute between each exercise.
Now lets dig a little deeper.
For most women to get stronger at the bench press they need to rely on technique and full body strength.
Guys can muscle things with the bench press.
Women can’t muscle the bench press.
So technique and full body strength matters.
If you are benching correctly it should be a FULL BODY workout. It’s not just a “chest’ or “arm” workout. It’s a full body exercise.
It’s a “LIFT”.
What is the biggest muscle on the body?
If you guessed GLUTES you are correct :).
So lets talk about getting those glutes into the bench press.
This makes your bench press stronger.
As well it gives your glutes a workout.
Now when it comes to the glutes for benching here is something that most women do.
They may squeeze their glutes and push their hips to the sky (like a hip thruster / glute bridge).
BUTT (no pun intended lol) if you are doing this it’s not as good as it could/should be.
Instead squeeze your bum and focus on pushing your hips BACK TOWARDS YOUR SPOTTER.
If you push your hips to the sky more than likely they may come off the bench.
For competing in powerlifting this is not a good thing.
For general strength training you want your hips pushing BACK. This is much more efficient.
So think about squeezing your bum and driving your hips back to your spotter, not towards the sky.
It will also make it a little easier on the lower back for some women.
If you want a stronger bench press this is key, and as well it will turn every set of bench press into a glute workout :).
Give it a try.
As for the other two exercises let me explain.
The TRX row hold is designed to teach you to hold your chest up and squeeze your back. You want to learn how to get your back tight in the bench press. Again we want full body strength, not just the chest and arms.
The kettlebell or dumbell glute bridge is designed to get your glutes working for a longer TUT (time under tension).
Think about this.
If we do 8 reps and each rep takes say 2-3 seconds that TUT time under tension is 16-24 seconds.
So our glute need to work and learn to hold tension for that length of time.
Same as the TRX row.
It’s much harder than it appears.
You will get a solid bench session, upper back work, tons of glute work, improve your posture and more.
Again #Winning :).
Give it a try and let me know how you find it.
Coach Rob is the creator and owner of Women Who Lift Weights and Heavy Weights Training Center.
He is a Coach, Writer and Competitive Power Lifter.