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Chest Exercises for Women Do Not Reduce Breast Size

There’s a long history of women seeking out augmentation through surgical and other means to change their bodies to fit this ideal body image that is flaunted by models on magazine covers. It’s long been thought that by doing exercises aimed at the pectoral muscles beneath breast tissue that it would actually make breasts smaller but studies prove that is not the case. Furthermore, what is “ideal” to one man varies greatly from person to person and depends far more on a long list of things that include height and body type, because it isn’t just a one size fits all mentality.

While specifically training the pectoral muscles of the chest won’t make your cup size any larger, it’s also not going to significantly make them smaller either. As with every other muscle building program, they simply tone what is already there. If you didn’t have much in the way of a cup size to begin with, you’ll end up the same way after chest training, the only difference you’ll notice is that they’re firmer and seem to be lifted more due to muscles that are supporting their weight better by being strong beneath. The other issue with ignoring chest exercises as part of a routine workout plan is an imbalance that will be felt by the entire body when every other group of muscles becomes lean and takes shape while the chest remains ignored.

This is a workout you can do twice a week to help improve those neglected pecs, which has a lovely side benefit of helping your shoulders and arms as well.

  1. Barbell Bench Press: It targets your pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and triceps brachii. Lie face up on a flat bench, and hold a barbell about an inch or two above your chest, spacing your arms just a bit wider than your shoulder width. Push the bar away from you until arms are fully extended, but not locked. Locking them can cause injury and the inability to lower the bar, so if you are new to this, try to keep a spotter nearby. (Someone who can catch the bar if you cannot lower it yourself.)
  2. Dumbbell Decline Flye: This targets only the pectoralis major. Lie on your back on a decline bench, both feet secured under the foot pads. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms out to the sides, even with your shoulders, not below. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, move only your shoulders to bring both dumbbells right above your chest, nearly touching each other. Pause, then extend your arms slowly to return to the start. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
  3. Machine Chest Press: This exercise is targeted at your pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and triceps brachii. Sit up at the machine with both feet flat on the ground and the handles level with your upper chest. Hold each handle using an overhand grip. Without arching your back, push both handles away from you until your arms are straight but unlocked. Bend your arms slowly back to the start position, without resting the weights on the stack between reps. Try for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
  4. Machine Pec Flye: Targets only your pectoralis major. Position yourself at a pec flye machine with feet planted firmly on the ground and spaced at shoulder width. Keep the handles out to each side at shoulder height and hold one handle with each hand, palms facing forward. Maintain a bend in your elbows slightly, and contract your pectorals as you bring the handles together in front of your chest. Open arms slowly until you have gone back to the start position. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
  5. Push-Up: Yes, the dreaded push-up. With good cause, this targets your pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps brachii, and transverse abdominis. Get into the push-up position keeping your weight evenly distributed between your hands and toes. Hands should be shoulder width apart, and your feet should be together if possible, further apart for more support. Keeping your back straight as a board, bend elbows to lower your chest to the floor. Keep your head in line with the rest of your body, and return to starting position. Aim for 3 sets, as many reps as you can handle.

When doing chest exercises, and even (or especially) during the cardio portion of your exercise plan, be sure to wear a sports bra that gives ample support. Some very exhaustive studies have been done on the subject to warrant using support while enduring strenuous activity. Also be sure to let your primary care physician know that you’re going to be starting a new routine. Be sure you drink plenty of water; staying hydrated is easily the best thing you can bring to your workout besides a great attitude. Because this only needs to be done twice a week, and only takes about an hour to an hour and a half, it’s not heavy on time if you’re short on time already, and it doesn’t push your muscles to the point of failure as with bodybuilders.

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