It's not unusual for men to feel self-conscious if they carry excess weight in their chest and have what are often referred to as "man boobs" or "moobs." If you're looking for the best exercises to get rid of moobs, focus on overall weight loss and building up your chest with a pecs workout.
Man Boobs: Glands or Fat?
According to Gynecomastia.org, it's important to distinguish whether enlarged male breasts are caused by large amounts of fat deposits or large amounts of gland tissue. If it's the latter, frequently called gynecomastia, then it's likely caused by hormonal imbalance, use of steroids or recreational drugs or an underlying medical condition.
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Enlarged male breasts from fat, frequently called pseudogynecomastia, can usually be distinguished by distribution of fat all over the body. In other words, if a guy is a normal weight and has enlarged breasts, it might be gynecomastia, which can't be resolved by losing weight. On the other hand, if a man has overweight and has large breasts, it might be pseudogynecomastia. In this case, exercise can help.
Studies back this up, including a May 2019 study published in the Archives of Plastic Surgery, which states that most of the time, breast enlargement in men with obesity is due to excess fat rather than glands, and diet and exercise are the most practical way of reducing man boobs in these cases.
Even in mild cases of glandular man boobs, diet and exercise might help, according to a March-April 2014 study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. It's only in severe cases of gynecomastia that surgery might be required.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Man Boobs Without Going to the Gym
Exercises to Get Rid of Man Boobs
You can make your chest firmer and more toned by building up your pectoral muscles, but as Piedmont Healthcare emphasizes, you can't spot-reduce the fat on just your chest. Instead, you need to focus on overall fat loss through eating better, drinking less alcohol and engaging in exercise. As for the best exercises to get rid of moobs by making them more muscular and toned, Piedmont Healthcare recommends bench presses, dumbbell presses, push-ups, dips and chest flies.
The American Council on Exercise recommends the barbell bench press as the most effective chest exercise. If you're doing a bench press for man breasts, remember that you should lift the barbell in a natural arc, beginning with it at the level of your nipples when it's close to you and moving to the level of your eyes when you have it fully lifted.
Barbell Bench Press (Use a weight that exhausts you after 10-15 reps. Perform three sets per workout.)
- Lie on a bench with your back flat, your knees bent and your feet on the ground in front of you.
- Hold the barbell with a firm overhand grip with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and the barbell level with your chest.
- Fully extend your elbows as you press the barbell up.
- After a brief pause, slowly lower the barbell back to your chest.
If you opt for getting rid of man breasts with dumbbells instead of a barbell, you could try undertaking the lying chest fly, as explained by the American Council on Exercise.
Lying Chest Fly (Use weight that exhausts you after 10-15 reps. Perform three sets per workout.)
- Holding two dumbbells, lie on your back on a bench with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you.
- Hold the dumbbells at chest level with your palms facing forward. Extend your elbows to press the dumbbells from chest level over your head until they are shoulder-width apart.
- Lower the dumbbells slowly until they are level again with your chest.
- Note: Be sure to inhale as you lower the dumbbells and exhale as you raise them. Use a spotter if you need one to ensure your safety.
Read more: Lower Chest Exercises for Men
- Gynecomastia.org: “Pseudogynecomastia”
- Piedmont Healthcare: “How to Get Rid of Man Boobs”
- American Council on Exercise: “Lying Chest Fly”
- American Council on Exercise: “ACE-Sponsored Research: Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises”
- Archives of Plastic Surgery: “The Round-the-Clock Technique for Correction of Gynecomastia”
- Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism: “Gynecomastia: Clinical Evaluation and Management”