Stop using fear of shrunken breasts to avoid bench pressing, ladies!

Some women worry that bench presses will reduce the size of their breasts. This is absolutely not true! Benching recruits primarily chest muscles. The muscles of the chest are not located in the breasts. In fact, a woman’s prized feature has no muscle.

If you think breasts have muscle, try making one move independently of contracting a chest muscle. Chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor) are situated deeper into the body, and have absolutely nothing to do with breast size.

Breasts are composed of fatty tissue. If you think bench pressing makes breasts smaller, then men who have “man boobs” would certainly have an easy fix-it solution in the bench press, wouldn’t they? But they don’t.

That’s because the motion of bench pressing will not make breasts smaller. However, a woman who seriously takes up chest pressing will also seriously take up strength training other parts of her body.

And when a woman commits to a serious strength training regimen, she usually duplicates this commitment in the areas of cardio and diet.

The result? Loss of body fat over her entire body. This includes some of the fat in her breasts, creating the illusion that perhaps one of her weight-lifting routines shrunk them.

No. What made her breasts smaller is loss of body fat that resulted from the increased metabolic rate triggered by her exercise regimen, in combination with fat loss from a better diet.

So then, how come it seems that women who do a lot of bench pressing have small breasts? I myself have not made this observation. But some women have.

Well again, a woman who does a lot of chest pressing probably also does a lot of other strength training routines, perhaps routines that you haven’t seen her doing because maybe you keep running into her on her chest pressing days.

And she probably puts in some serious cardio workouts  —  and hence, has a low body fat percentage.

I’ve never heard of a woman doing only serious bench press work and nothing else. Even women who compete in pressing competitions train other parts of their body, especially since heavy chest pressing requires strong shoulders and triceps.

Women who compete in benching also often compete in other routines, and hence, work their entire body for best competitive performance.

I’ve seen plenty of well-endowed women bench pressing, and have not observed any correlation between this exercise and breast size. So ladies, go ahead and start bench pressing.

This won’t shrink your breasts any more than dumbbell presses will, or the “butterfly” machine will. Ironically, some women believe that bench pressing will make their breasts bigger!

This, too, is completely untrue. Remember, fat is fat, and muscle is muscle. Weight-lifting does not build fat.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.