Many women long for firm chests and are in constant search for breas-strengthening exercises. Unfortunately, this quest is futile. According to the Mayo Clinic, the female breasts are primarily made up of fat and connective tissue and contain no muscle tissue. However, the breasts do contain suspensory ligaments that connect them to the underlying muscle fascia, according to “Anatomy & Physiology,” by Elaine N. Marieb. You can strengthen the attached, underlying muscles, giving your breasts a natural lift and promoting strength development in the breast area.
The push-up is an effective exercise that can be performed almost anywhere. This movement is excellent for the pectoralis major muscle, which lies directly under the breast. Support yourself face-down on the ground, with your arms extended, hands at least shoulder-width apart and your feet slightly apart or touching. Keeping your back straight and your butt down, bend your elbows and lower your chest to the ground. Push back up to extend your arms. If you are unable to perform a standard push-up, you can modify the exercise so your body is supported by your knees, rather than your feet.
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press primarily targets the upper portion of the the pectoralis major, which sits directly above the breasts. Strengthening this muscle can give some lift to the breasts. Lie on an incline bench, and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip wider than shoulder-width. With control, lower the barbell to your upper chest, then press the bar back up to extend your arms. Always move the bar in a perpendicular line to the floor, rather than toward your feet in any way.
Incline Dumbbell Fly
Flies focus the work on your pectoralis major and help develop fullness in the chest. Lie on an incline bench, and hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms extended overhead and a slight bend in your elbows. Slowly lower your arms to your sides, then raise them back up to vertical. At the top of the movement, contract your chest muscles for one count before lowering your arms back down. To prevent injury to the pectoral muscles, never use heavy weights to perform this exercise.
The pullover develops the bulk of the pectoralis major muscle. Lie on a bench, with your head at the end of it and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in the palm of each hand, with your thumbs surrounding the handles and your arms extended above your head. Lower the dumbbell behind your head, bending slightly at the elbows. Contract your chest, core and back to raise the dumbbell back up to the initial position.
About this Author
Jen Weir is an honor graduate of Montana State University where she acquired her Bachelor of Science in health and human development with a concentration in exercise science. She has also earned a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.