A strong, lifted chest is good for way more than cleavage. Strong chest muscles are essential to having proper posture, and working out this area can result in a greater calorie burn.
It seems as if from the time they appear, breasts — and how to control their size and perkiness — are a constant cause of concern for women. So, how does your chest workout affect your breasts? After all, while we are focusing on health here, it’s understandable to be wary of chest training if you think it’s going to make your boobs look bad. At Bodybuilding.com, fitness writer and personal trainer Shannon Clark sets the record straight on some of the myths women have heard about developing their chest muscles. First of all, don’t worry about your boobs getting smaller. “As long as you sustain body fat levels that are well within a healthy range, you won't have an issue,” writes Clark. Nor will your breasts turn hard or overly muscular. “Training your pecs will build muscle underneath the fat [that] makes up your breasts,” asserts Clark. “As long as you aren't dieting too severely, your fat mass should remain. If anything, the added muscle helps your breasts appear fuller and might actually give a little boost to your cleavage!”
Many chest workouts include pushups, either in the classic form or a variation thereof, though Clark does advise that pushups should be a part of a larger program and not the only form of chest training: “As with any other muscle group, you need a sufficient level of exercise variety and weight resistance training in your program,” says Clark.
It pays to perfect your pushup form to get the most out of your workout and prevent injury. In a recent article for Shape, associate editor Sara Angle reports that, according to personal trainer Angela Reynolds, you should “[t]ry pushup variations only after you can do three sets of standard pushups for 12 to 15 reps.” Angle continues, “The great thing about pushups is that there is always a way to make them more difficult. But progressing before you’re ready will only hurt you, so master the standard pushup first.” Angle’s other pushup tips include focusing on form as opposed to the amount of reps and modifying your pushup to avoid injury. If you have the basics down, check out InShape’s Build a Better Pushup workout for a full body blast that will help you build up the strength to properly perform pushups. You can also try the pushup perfecting supersets workout featured here.
Strength training is great for toning your body, and the chest is no exception. Clark provides tips for how to create an effective chest exercise regimen and offers two chest workout routines for you to try, though these workouts are for more seasoned fitness enthusiasts. Personal trainer and former figure competitor Jen Comas Keck designed a workout for Women’s Health that is similar to Clark’s but relies on dumbbells as opposed to cables or barbells. Both of these workouts assume you are adept at handling weights.
Bust boredom with Fitness Blender’s Bust Booster chest workout. While the focus is upper body, your core will definitely feel the burn. Bodyweight moves such as tricep dips and planks are combined with unique dumbbell moves for a challenging workout. Fitness Blender sets this workout at a difficulty of two (out of five, with five being the toughest), but beginners may still find this one a little too challenging. The trainers do offer modifications throughout to guide those who may need some help. The video is also accompanied with some tips to keep the girls lifted, such as wearing a supportive sports bra.
Cosmo for Latinas brings you “6 Exercises to Beat Bra Bulge,” a workout that takes classic chest strengthening moves such as chest flys and pushups and adds some weighted bar exercises. The gifs in this workout are helpful for understanding proper form. (Bonus: The workout includes a link to steps for mastering a pushup, which will help you safely get off your knees to eventually perform a full standard pushup.)
Check with your doctor to make sure you’re ready to add some of these chest-strengthening workouts to your routine.