You know it and I know it, but it has to be said: your breast shape is normal, natural, and perfectly fine the way it is. But if you’re looking to perk them up a bit, you can work through some strength training exercises for that added benefit. (On the flip side, if you’ve been working out more and see your breasts getting perkier, this might be why.)
“There are no exercises for your breasts per se, particularly the glandular tissue inside, but your typical pectoralis muscle exercises can help,” says Alyssa Dweck, MD, OB/GYN. “Doing these [exercises] can build up enough muscle [to] actually make your breasts a little perkier.” Basically, these muscles are the foundation of your chest, and working them out (with things like push-ups and chest presses) will have your tissue sitting up a bit higher—to an extent. If you’re less endowed, you’ll see more gains. “If you have [big] breasts, no matter what you do to the pectoral muscles, your breasts will still be big. But modest sizes can build up [their pecs] and they will look a little bit perkier,” says Dr. Dweck.
Trainer Cat Kom, founder of Studio SWEAT onDemand, echoes this. “You can do exercises to perk up your breasts, but you’d have to do quite a bit to actually see the results,” she says, noting that you should be cautious if you have breast implants. “They can cause scar tissue to build up, which can cause pain and other issues.”
Besides working to lift your breasts, though, doing pec-strengthening moves can help you stand up straighter overall. “Pectoral muscle exercises not only strengthen your chest, but also work to improve your posture,” says Nicholas Poulin, trainer and founder of Poulin Health and Wellness. If you want to start giving your chest (and posture) some extra TLC in your workouts, keep scrolling for trainer-approved exercises that do the trick.
5 exercises for perkier boobs
1. Wide push-ups
Poulin notes that push-ups are one of the best chest workouts for women because they hit your pectoral muscles perfectly. “Wide push-ups are optimal, as the wider position has more of an effect on the chest,” he says.
Get into a regular push-up position (you can modify on your knees) with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart but still in line with the shoulders. Retract your shoulder blades, focusing on distributing your weight on your chest, and press down, going as low as you can by bending your elbows. Push back up.
“Focus on trying to drive your hands together to have a better muscle connection,” says Poulin.
2. Cobra pose
This yoga pose wakes up your spine and activates all of the chest muscles, says Poulin. Get on your stomach with your legs extended and the top of your feet on the floor. Place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows tucked in. Lift your head and chest off of the ground while drawing your shoulders back, trying to straighten your arms as much as you can. Hold for 30 seconds and try to do three sets.
3. Goddess pose
Poulin also recommends the goddess pose for stronger pecs, which is a staple yoga move that also works your hamstrings and glutes. His suggestion, though, is to incorporate weights.
Put two light weights in both hands and stand in a wide stance. Bend your knees and elbows about 90 degrees and bring the weights out to your sides, palms facing forward. Engage your chest muscles to squeeze the arms together in front of your body. Release with control. Repeat as you stay low.
4. Standing reverse fly
Combat rounded shoulders and strengthen chest muscles with this exercise, which Poulin says helps to strengthen the muscles that pull your shoulders back and improve your posture.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with weights held at your sides. Put your hips back and lean forward until your torso is almost parallel with the ground, allowing your weights to hang at arms’ length, palms facing each other. Raise your arms out to your sides until they’re in line with your body, return to the start position, and repeat.
5. Lying dumbbell chest fly
“This targets your pectoral muscles in isolation,” says Poulin, who adds that you can perform this on a stability ball to engage your core more.
Lie down and take a dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms above you with a slight bend in the elbows. Rotate so the palms of your hands are facing you. Breathe in and move both dumbbells down with control, maintaining the arm extension and lowering until your hands are almost parallel to the floor. Return to starting position and repeat.
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