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Can You Get Rid of Man Boobs with Upper Body Workouts?

by
author image Kimberly Caines
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.
Can You Get Rid of Man Boobs with Upper Body Workouts?
A man playing racketball in a gym. Photo Credit Momo64/iStock/Getty Images

If man boobs are affecting your appearance, maybe it's time to get rid of them. Spot reduction isn't possible; excess chest fat will only disappear if you reduce your total body fat. A healthy diet, regular cardio and full-body strength training can do the trick. Your routine can include upper body exercises that target your pectorals under the fat. When the excess fat is gone, you'll be left with a well-defined, slimmer chest.

Perform Cardio for Caloric Burn

Cardiovascular exercise burns calories that contribute to the caloric deficit that's needed to lose weight; it takes a daily deficit of 500 calories to lose a pound in a week. Most forms of cardio engage the large muscles in your lower body, but some forms also engage your upper body for optimal caloric burn. Boxing workouts with heavy bags, target mitts or speed bags work your entire body, as does swimming, rowing, using an elliptical with moving handles, walking or jogging with an emphasis on pumping your arms, or playing tennis or racquetball. The American Heart Association recommends 30 to 60 minutes of cardio on most days to lose weight.

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Include Bench Presses

Experts recommend full-body strength training on two to three days of the week. These exercises stimulate muscle tissue that boosts your resting metabolism and promotes caloric burn. Muscle also takes up less space in your than fat, so you'll lose inches of flab from your chest. Barbell bench presses can be part of your upper body workout. Research by the American Council on Exercise proved this exercise to be the most effective in engaging the pectorals. During bench presses you're face up on a bench and hold a barbell with extended arms above your chest. You lower the weight to right above your chest, then press it back up again. Complete two or three sets of eight to 12 reps.

Perform Dumbbell Chest Flyes

Unlike bench presses, which also engage your triceps and shoulders, dumbbell chest flyes isolate your pectoral muscles, making them do most of the work. During this exercise you're face up on a bench with your arms extended upward, holding a set of dumbbells above your chest. Rotate your hands so your palms face each other and then lower your arms out to your sides. When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, return the weights to the starting point by making a hugging motion with your arms. Do this eight to 12 times for two or three sets.

Incorporate Cable Crossovers

Cable crossovers are another ACE-recommended exercise that can be part of your upper body workout. During this exercise you use a cable crossover machine with the cables set high above your head. You then face away from the machine, grasp a handle in each hand and take on a split stance. To engage your chest, pull the handles toward each other in front of your chest, while keeping your elbows slightly bent. Cross one hand over the other and really feel the contraction in your chest, before releasing the tension and returning to the starting point. Two or three sets and eight to 12 reps should have your chest burning.

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