AskHuyen #1: Breasts and Barbells

The most common questions I’ve heard about the effects of exercise on breasts are:

  1. Will too much working out make my chest smaller?

  2. Can I do any exercises to make my boobs bigger?

My answer to both questions would be - don't stress it! As long as you're working your opposing muscle groups proportionally, and you're getting stronger and healthier- that's what counts!

But just in case you're looking for more of an explanation, here's a few points I need to lay out first:

  • First, every boob is a beautiful snowflake. Really- the ratio of fat to glandular tissue in each pair of breasts varies from person to person. 
  • Next, spot treating fat on particular body parts is not an accurate conception of fat loss. When you lose body fat via exercise, you’re losing that fat throughout your body.
  • Finally, your chest muscles lie under the breast tissue. Increases in chest muscle does not equate to increases in breast tissue.

Therefore, the answer to question 1 is: it depends. “Too much working out” is relative, but the flatter chests you might see in female body builders are due to abnormally low body fat percentages. If you’re like me, and are trying to hold on to what you’ve been gifted while chiseling out some abs- then you do not have to fear as long as your body fat stays within a healthy range.

On the other hand, if you are trying to decrease your bust, exercise and a proper diet contribute to fat loss overall, which would include the fat tissue in your breasts.

The answer to question 2 is: technically no, exercise cannot increase your bust. But perceptually, exercise can. Working the chest muscles helps with posture, i.e. fixing imbalances such as rounded shoulders- allowing your chest to get its proper shine if that’s what you seek.

The bottom line is that chest exercises should be included as part of a balanced exercise regimen. Regardless of any concerns for the appearance of your chest, a healthy body that can easily participate in activities of daily living i.e. opening doors, washing scalps, or punching people (not my daily life but, hey)- requires attention of all major muscle groups.


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