It’s amazing to me how many women refuse to perform exercises that target their chest muscles (pectorals) under the mistaken believe that it will reduce breast size. Hogwash!
It is important to realize that breast tissue is comprised mainly of fat and, as you hopefully know, it’s impossible to spot reduce fat. Just like abdominal exercises won’t make your stomach any flatter, training the chest will have no direct influence on decreasing breast tissue. Now it’s true that exercise in general will decrease the amount fat throughout the body. But, if anything, cardiovascular exercise will have more of a direct effect on reducing breast size than bench presses or chest flyes. It should therefore be apparent that avoiding chest training to preserve breast size is backwards reasoning.
In fact, targeted exercise can significantly improve the appearance of your chest and make it appear as though “you’ve got more than you’ve actually got!” By utilizing different movements and working the muscle from a variety of angles, you can target various parts of the chest to achieve complete development. For example, rounding out the upper pectoral region gives fullness to the bustline; adding to the middle aspect enhances the overall shape of the chest; and with consistent training, you can develop a line down the center of your chest that actually creates the illusion of cleavage.
It’s also important to realize that muscles function holistically, sharing an agonist/antagonist relationship. When one muscle is contracting (the agonist), another is opposing the action (antagonist). If you train an agonist without working its antagonist, imbalances ultimately will be created that have a negative effect on posture and physical function. A very undesirable outcome, to say the least.
So if you’re a woman who’s afraid that chest training will reduce your breast size, don’t be. By understanding the fine points of body sculpting, you can develop a chest that defies gravity and remains shapely over time. If you’re a beginner, choose mostly multi-joint movements (such as presses and push ups); when you become more advanced, add various types of flyes to the mix. Make sure to utilize variations of angles of inclination (i.e. decline, flat and incline) as well as hand spacing for optimal benefits. Remember, variety is the spice of fitness!