Ladies: Don’t Be Afraid of Chest Workouts

Workouts that include special chest exercises will improve your strength, posture and upper body confidence. Unfortunately, many women underestimate these chest benefits due to fear based on misconceptions. Here’s what you need to know about chest exercises and how they actually affect your… um… ta-tas.

First, a little anatomy lesson: your chest is made up of two main muscles called the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor (we’ll just call them pectorals for brevity). These shirtless male fitness models with huge King Kong style breasts have very well developed ribcages, the larger of the two. And yes, we women have the same pectoral muscles!

However, as you can clearly see in the mirror, they are much less pronounced. They are also covered in our beautiful female lumps, which are actually made up of adipose and glandular tissue, a network of ducts and lymph nodes, nerves and blood vessels. Their main function, of course, is to release milk for feeding babies. In fitness, they don’t do much ( except sometimes get heavy ).

Don’t worry, your boobs aren’t shrinking because of chest exercises.

Many women avoid breast exercises because they think their breasts will shrink. Some of you giggle, but this fear is terribly similar to our initial fears of becoming huge muscle reservoirs during strength training ; In other words, they seem to be based on some misconceptions about strength training in general.

Now repeat after me: doing a few breast exercises alone will not (or rather, not be able to) reduce the size of your breasts.

They cannot, because that would mean that you can target and remove fat in specific areas of your body, or “pinpoint” fat , which we now know is not true. Rather, something else is happening: Breast contraction is a sign that your body’s fat cells are shrinking throughout your body.

Remember that your breasts are basically two pieces of milk-producing adipose tissue, the size of which depends a lot on genetics, hormones, and more. If you exercise and eat in a way that promotes weight loss, you will lose fat all over your body, which will inevitably lead to a decrease in your belly, arms and – yes – even your chest. In fact, you have no control over which parts of your body it draws its fatty energy from. What’s more, if you have more fat to begin with, you can expect to lose more fat overall, perhaps at a faster rate in the beginning .

Benefits of chest exercises

All this talk about exercise and the likelihood of chest contractions probably prompted you to run, hike up the hills. On the other hand, you may have heard that chest exercises have their benefits too – literally, chest exercises can make women “more fun.”

This is true to some extent, but not necessarily for your breasts to magically ignore gravity. According to , what actually happens is a combination of one to two or three hits of the following:

  1. A regular chest routine helps develop the chest, but since the chest and surrounding fatty tissue cover them, you cannot see these muscles.
  2. As you lose weight and fat around your breasts, you actually expose most of your pectoral muscles, allowing your breasts to stand out a little.
  3. As the muscles get larger, they appear to lift the chest so that they are slightly higher on the chest.

This combination of factors gives the breasts a more “cocky” look. In other words, chest exercises help develop the pectoral muscles and can indirectly change the appearance of your breasts. Of course, the effect can be less or more dramatic, depending on their size.

Strong breasts aren’t just for chest blows

Beyond aesthetics, chest exercises improve things like throwing or climbing, or even many of the daily movements that you might not know about that use the pectoral muscles. Your pectoral muscles are responsible for providing “horizontal push” force, such as pushing a pushchair or a heavy door. In addition to pushing things, developed breasts:

  • Improves posture. Just think of the often-spoken phrase “chest up and be proud,” and you can imagine how a strong chest along with equally strong shoulders and back can improve your posture . Keith Galliett , strength and conditioning coach and movement specialist, adds: “You will have a more ‘folded and aligned’ skeleton, and naturally you will be taller and more elevated.” It can also help change the appearance of your breasts, she says.
  • Maintains a generally “balanced” body. As in the previous point, if you develop the main muscle groups with the same attention, you will look more “symmetrical”. You will have fuller breasts (because the pectoral muscles extend to the front of your shoulders and to your collarbone) to complement your arms and shoulders. Plus, you’ll also have what many people in the industry call “muscle balance,” which basically means you don’t have one dominant muscle group that overcompensates for weaker or inactive ones. This will allow you to move better in general and perform other exercises safely and with greater efficiency .
  • Makes you strong as funky. I haven’t had a single friend say to me, “Upper body strength? No thanks. Quite frankly, whatever you plan to do physically, stronger breasts will help you do it better – whether it’s knee-less push-ups like nothing; or even adhering to certain yoga poses .

But suppose you skip chest workout altogether but continue to train other major muscle groups such as back, legs and shoulders – what could happen in the worst case scenario? Well, I thought about it myself and asked Jennifer Blake , a powerlifter and personal trainer. She said:

If a woman completely neglects to work out her breasts, it means that she is not doing any horizontal pushing of the upper body, and worst of all, she skips a lot of fun exercises that will add variety to her workouts and improve her shape. upper body. The pectoral muscles play a very important role in strengthening the upper body. In fact, you cannot increase your horizontal push force (such as push-ups, bench presses, and one-handed dumbbell presses) without targeting your pecs.

This does not mean that you need to break bench press world records, but the fact is that if you avoid strengthening your chest, you are holding yourself back from building significant upper body strength.

How to start a chest workout

The good news is that you are probably already exercising your chest without even realizing it. Yes, push-ups and other exercises like dumbbell presses work your arms, but primarily your chest. Keep in mind that chest exercises don’t have to be difficult. Pushups are a fantastic starting point (for anyone, really); Time-tested exercises like the bench press and chest extension are amazing too.

While helping her clients improve upper body strength, Kate loves to first make sure they can move their upper body joints, especially their shoulders, to the full extent that they are intended. (Kate demonstrates a great way to maintain shoulder health while doing push-ups in hervideo here .) She does this to prevent things like overuse or general shoulder injuries, noting that you should:

Be able to control your own body through a range of motion before loading more weight on yourself, because too often people’s shoulder joints do not work as they should, and therefore their shoulders are in poor position [to immediately do jerks-lifts with correct activation muscles]. Since you are in the early stages … do more preparation (get the right muscles to activate and the joints to move); and over time you will be able to move on to more strength training.

Your pecs are your main muscle group, so to gradually build strength, you must train them as often as you would other muscle groups (such as your back and legs). Ideally, focus on them at least once a week, following a sensible training program , adequate protein and nutrition , sleep , patience, and above all, consistency .

If you want to feel inspired, watch Jennifer’s showcase a couple of amazing exercises for stronger upper body here , or follow the simple strength training program here .


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