Toning Your Chest
Strong pecs can perk up breasts
Forget myths that say working your chest muscles will make your breasts shrink and say a reluctant goodbye to those claiming the opposite - that building pecs will substantially increase your bustline. The truth is your actual breast size will never increase or decrease through strength training.
Breasts are made of fat, not muscle. The two are completely different and it’s impossible for one to be transformed into the other. It’s more likely your breasts will decrease in size if you lower your calorie intake and perform calorie-burning cardio activities, both of which help rid the body of fat. Even then it’s impossible to guess where the fat will melt off first, since everyone stores it differently.
You may be tempted to conclude chest workouts are pointless - but they’re far from it. We’ll get to that in a minute.
What are the chest muscles and where are they located?
The muscles of the pectoralis major sit on top of the rib cage, underneath the breast, and run fan-like from the upper arm to the breastbone in the center of the chest. The pectoralis minor is a triangular shaped muscle underneath the major. At one end three heads attach to the middle of three ribs, on the other it attaches to the shoulder blade.
What do they do?
The pec muscles are responsible for adduction of the arms (bringing them across the chest). They also assist in rotating the shoulders inward, in a forward shrugging motion.
Why you should strengthen your chest
So if working your chest muscles won’t make you gain a cup size, why do it at all? There are three good reasons. The first is that pecs are one of the body’s major muscle groups. Working them will help you add shapely, metabolism-revving muscle. And since smaller muscle groups are also put to work in pectoral exercises, you’ll be increasing the amount of calories you burn during your workout.
The second reason is arguably the “breast” (excuse the terrible pun). Firming up the chest muscles can actually give you a non-surgical breast lift. Your breasts won’t be physically bigger, but it’ll look like they are.
If that’s not enough to convince you, strong pecs (as part of a muscularly balanced body) are important for maintaining good posture.
Exercises that target the chest
- Bench press - Presses can be done on a flat, incline or decline bench. The incline bench press is great for women because it focuses the work on the upper pecs.
- Push-ups - This compound move is perfect for working the entire pectoral area.
- Dumbbell flyes - This move targets the outer pectorals. It’s done while lying on a flat bench. Dumbbells are held above the body and lowered to the sides and back up.
- Dips - A machine with handles is handy for this move, which works the lower pecs when the body is raised and lowered using arm and chest strength.