I have a weight training question. I am a woman and I weight train regularly. What I would like to know is if working the chest muscles is important for a woman? I do pushups and I also do some bench press exercises. But I only do it once a week and I do very high reps (20-30 reps per set) with very little weight. Should I train my chest with lower reps and add more weight resistance. I feel like I’m not working that hard but I definitely don’t want to get too big and buff like those bodybuilder women I see in the gym. Can you help?
Chest training is important for women since it builds strength and muscle in the upper body and it helps to develop the chest, deltoids and triceps. Your current chest routine looks just fine at one session per week. In terms of adding too much muscle if you use heavier weights, don’t worry about that happening unless you are currently on muscle building hormones like testosterone. Women simply don’t have the naturally high levels of testosterone that men have, so there is no way you will build a lot of muscle even with heavy, lower repetition training. If you get scared from the huge female bodybuilders in the gym that look like men, don’t worry about ever looking anything close to them. Weight training with heavy weights will most likely just add muscle definition and a more athletic shape to your body. Heavy weight training will also help stimulate your metabolism which will help burn additional calories every day, even at rest. Weight training is one of the best things you can do to transform your physique into a sexy, athletic body.
I recommend switching up your overall reps for each workout. Since you currently train your chest once per week, try to implement a low rep and high rep regimen where you perform lower reps for one week (8-10 reps per set) and then higher reps the next week (15-20 reps per set). This way you will mix muscle building, strength and hypertrophy training along with high rep endurance and definition training. On your heavy, low rep training days make sure to use compound exercises like the barbell bench press that you’re already doing. Add some dumbbell work into your routine with exercises like the incline dumbbell press and decline dumbbell press in order to hit the upper and lower portions of your chest muscles. On your lighter days where you’re doing higher reps, you can incorporate more shaping movements like cable crossovers and bodyweight exercises like pushups and dips.
Varying the stimulation is the key to keeping your muscles guessing and growing, so it’s important to always change your exercises, reps, sets and overall workout routines. You want to avoid doing the same chest workout day in and day out. Not only is this terrible for muscle growth but on the mental side, it’s simply boring and you will get tired and burned out from doing the same thing every time you hit the gym. So, always try to keep your training fun and interesting in order to stimulate growth both for your muscles and your mind.