Lifting heavy is a great thing to add to your fitness routine, but does lifting weights reduce breast size? If you're new to weightlifting and concerned that weight training will make your chest smaller, here's what you should know.
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Lifting weights will not decrease your breast size, but overall weight loss might reduce the size of your breasts.
Read more: How to Get Started With Weightlifting
Does Weight Training Reduce Breasts?
Weight training will not reduce your breast size. But according to the Center for Young Women's Health at Boston Children's Hospital, losing weight, in general, can lead to a decrease in breast size. That's because losing body fat might reduce some of the fatty tissue in your breasts, decreasing their volume.
Breasts are composed of fatty tissue, glandular tissue used to produce breast milk and connective tissue that holds everything together. Your breasts are on top of your pectoral muscles, but there's no muscle tissue in the breast itself. A variety of factors contribute to your breast size and the shape of your breasts, including your weight, genetic factors and the ligaments that support your breasts.
The size of your breasts may, however, affect your physical activity levels. A March 2019 study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that women with larger breasts were less active than those with smaller breasts. The study posits that women with larger breasts struggled to find supportive sports bras that would allow them to feel comfortable during physical activity.
Read more: The Results of Exercise on the Female Breast
Do Chest Exercises Enlarge Breasts?
Chest exercises might affect how your breasts look, but will not change their volume. Your breasts sit on top of your pectoral muscles, which are right above your rib cage. Pectoral exercises can strengthen those muscles, which may make your breasts appear slightly more lifted.
Chest exercises will not, however, increase or decrease the size of your breasts, because there is no muscle tissue in your breasts. Any recommendations for chest exercises for small breasts will probably not be effective in changing your breast size. No specific exercises can increase breast size or decrease breast size.
What Exercises Build Chest Muscles?
Good chest-strengthening exercises include push-ups, dips and bench presses, but you might find that certain moves are more effective or enjoyable for you than others. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has a library of chest exercises that vary in difficulty from beginner to advanced, which you can browse for ideas of what exercises to try.
Read more: Your Guide to Strength Training for Women
You don't need to go to the gym to successfully strengthen your chest muscles. There are tons of at-home workouts for people of all fitness levels, available on video streaming platforms and fitness apps. At-home workouts are great options for people with busy schedules or people who want to teach themselves the fitness basics before getting a gym membership. Plus, there's no need to invest in expensive workout equipment — just look for at-home workouts focusing on bodyweight exercises.
- Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport: "Does Breast Size Affect How Women Participate in Physical Activity?"
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Overview of the Breast"
- Stony Brook Medicine: "General Breast Health"
- Center For Young Women's Health: "Exercise and Breast Size"
- American Council on Exercise: "Chest Exercises"