When the effects of gravity, aging and pregnancy take a toll on your breasts, it can affect your self-esteem and appearance. Since your breasts lack muscle fibers, you can't firm them up through exercise, but you can use exercise machines that target your pectoral muscles underneath your breasts. Toning these supportive muscles and maintaining good posture can give the appearance of fuller, perkier breasts. There are a variety of machines you can choose from.
Bench Press Machine
A bench press machine mimics the motion you would make if you were doing barbell or dumbbell bench presses. The benefit of using this machine is that it's somewhat safer, because it controls the weight for you and you don't need a spotter. After selecting the desired weight in the weight stack, you lie face up on the bench and grasp the handles with an overhand grip. You then extend your arms above your upper chest, before slowly lowering the weight until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. If you're more comfortable in an upright position you can also use a seated bench press machine.
Incline Pec Deck Machine
The back rest of a pec deck machine, or butterfly machine, can be set at an incline to target the lower pectoral muscles that support your breasts. During this exercise, you're sitting on the seat with your back against the back rest, your forearms on the designated pads and your elbows bent at shoulder level. You then use your pecs to bring the forearm pads together in front of your chest before slowing separating them. Depending on the machine, you might have to extend your arms and hold onto handlebars instead of placing your forearms on pads.
A cable-crossover machine can be used for a variety of exercises including standing cable flyes to target your chest. According to a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, this exercise is one of the most effective to target your chest. To do this exercise, you must attach stirrup handles to cables of the station and elevate them to a high position. After selecting the desired resistance and grasping the handles, you bend forward from your waist while standing in a split stance. You then use your pectoral muscles to cross the handle over each other in front of your chest. After a short pause, slowly return to the starting point.
If you don't have access to chest-strengthening machines, a stability ball or your own body weight can also be used. In addition to your chest, the unstable surface of the ball also engages your core and legs for optimal results. A variety of chest exercises on a stability ball can include dumbbell presses and flyes, and pushups with your hands or shins on the ball. If you don't have a stability ball, the dumbbell exercise can be done while lying on a bench and the pushups can be done on the floor or with your hands or feet elevated on a bench to target your chest from different angles.
- Columbia University: Go Ask Alice!: Sagging Breasts I Fear, From Not Wearing Brassiere
- Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training for Women; Mark Vella
- American Council on Exercise: Seated Machine Bench Press
- American Council on Exercise: Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises
- Women's Health Big Book of Exercises; Adam Campbell
- Ask the Trainer: Best Chest Exercises for Women