Myths abound when it comes to the power of exercise to transform your body; especially when it concerns your breasts. You can't tone your breasts through exercise, as they are comprised of mostly fat and their shape is determined by your genes. But you can reduce your cup size through weight loss or perk up your bust line by strengthening your pectoral muscles.
Pain and Discomfort
For women with B cup breasts or larger, exercise may cause pain. Certain exercises, such as running, jumping rope and aerobics, may cause the breasts to bounce painfully. To prevent pain and discomfort, the National Institutes of Health recommends women to wear a fitted sports bra. Compression-style sports bras work best for women with A or B cup breasts while compression or encapsulation-style work best for women with a C cup or greater. Also, choose a sports bra that best matches your workout activity, whether it's low, medium or high impact.
Breasts are comprised of milk ducts and blood vessels as well as lobules, lobes, fat and connective tissue. As a woman starts to lose weight, she may notice her breasts reducing in size as fat is lost overall when exercising. Many factors determine how much of a breast reduction a woman will experience, including her overall weight composition and whether she is a nursing mother. Rapid weight loss may result in excess skin and sagging breasts. To prevent sagging breasts, aim to lose no more than one to two pounds a week.
Although female breasts are not made of muscle, they do rest atop the pectorals, which can be strengthened. Incorporate pectoral-strengthening exercises, such as pushups, dumbbell bench presses and seated cable presses. While these exercises will not produce an increase in breast size, they will help prevent the breasts from appearing saggy.
The female breasts can go through many changes that may cause pain and discomfort during exercise. Common causes of breast pain may include menopause, pregnancy and periods. Depending on the severity of your discomfort during those times when hormones rule, you can swap out your vigorous workouts for gentler practices like yoga.
- MedlinePlus: Breast Pain
- American Council on Exercise: Chest Exercises
- 3FatChicks: Changes to Your Body After Weight Loss: Breast Size
- National Institutes of Health: An Analysis of Movement and Discomfort of the Female Breast During Exercise and the Effects of Breast Support in Three Cases
- REI: Sports Bras: How to Choose