Take Control of Your Cleavage
How To Get Girls That Defy Gravity
Women don’t need to be reminded that our breasts change over the years. After babies and after some life experience, it’s inevitable: The girls start to meet gravity. So the chest becomes a “trouble spot,” up there with the stomach and the back of the arms, an area that women want to tone, tighten and tame. So let’s take a closer look at how we can start to take control of our cleavage.
The Bad News On Bigger Breasts
In 1970, young adult novelist Judy Blume published her iconic coming-of-age story, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. The book’s sixth-grade heroine grapples with religion, boys, “sanitary napkins,” and, of course, her burgeoning womanhood. Blume brings us along for the ride as Margaret experiences her first kiss, her first period and her first bra. We’re also introduced to the classic chant, initiated by her pubescent peers: “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!” It’s become a comedic cliché: the image of young women attempting to flex their pectoral muscles in a quest for bigger breasts.
Well, whether you’re a developing teen or a woman over 50, first things first: Unfortunately, you can’t “grow bigger breasts” naturally. Exercise alone can’t exactly replicate plastic surgery, because our breasts are comprised of fatty tissue. Their size, shape and “perkiness” depend largely on genetics and age. But before you throw in the towel and give up on your girls, keep reading.
The Good News On Girls & Gravity
Much of the shape, aesthetics, and sense of fullness in the breast area is still achievable. There are plenty of all-natural, knife-free options for defining the chest, and toning these muscles won’t just help you fight the signs of gravity (and, of course, ramp up your “va-va-voom factor”), but it will also help ensure that your upper body functions at its peak. There’s a direct correlation between the muscles under your breasts and their shapely appearance. To put it bluntly: Pecs = Perky.
Now that I have your attention, let’s get down to breast tacks. Here are three easy exercise approaches to getting back your girls:
1) Play Around With Push-Ups.
The process of toning and strengthening the pectoral muscles should start with the classics. Many women find the traditional push-up too challenging or frankly too boring. But with some simple modifications, you can put a fresh new spin on this old-school move.
The Modified Version: We all remember this one from our gym class days. But this seemingly-easy exercise can be deceptive – with the right form, it’s more effective than you might think. Isn’t it time you put the “girls” back in the “girl push-ups”?
- Starting on your hands and knees, draw the belly button in toward the spine and make sure the hands are placed shoulder-width apart on the floor.
- Without releasing that core engagement, slowly lower your chest down until it’s almost touching the floor and your arms form a 90 degree angle with the floor.
- Push back up to the starting position, still maintaining proper form.
- Do two sets of 12-15 repetitions.
The On-The-Ball Version: You can a stability ball to almost any traditional strength training move and ramp up the fun factor – not to mention your midsection stabilization. And the push-up is no exception.
- Lie facedown with your midsection resting on a stability ball and your hands on the floor. As always, be sure and keep those abdominals engaged throughout the move!
- You can remain here, with your midsection (and the majority of your weight) resting on the ball – or, to make it more challenging, walk your hands forward so that only your legs rest on the ball. The further out you go (and the less weight you rest on the ball), the more advanced you make the move.
- Once you’re in position, slowly lower the upper body toward the floor, keeping your head in line with the spine.
- Maintaining that midsection stabilization, push yourself back up to the starting position.
- Do two sets of 12-15 repetitions.
2) Do Double Duty.
When done properly, a chest exercise isn’t just a chest exercise – almost every move the focuses on the pectoral is also great for the abdominals, shoulders and triceps. So if you’re sculpting the chest area, remember: With the right form (and a few fun modifications), you’re toning up your midsection and your so-called “batwings” at the same time. Here’s one of my favorite double-duty chest moves:
Single-arm dumbbell bench press: It’s simple math. When you take the standard dumbbell bench press and you subtract one of the dumbbells, what do you get? A sculpted chest, toned triceps, and deeply engaged abs!
- When you hold the weight in one hand, one side of your body is naturally doing more work. So in order to keep you from falling off the bench, your core muscles have to fire up to keep you stabilized.
- Lie flat on your back on a bench, with a single dumbbell in your right hand. Start with your right arm extended straight above your chest (but not locking the elbow).
- Slowly lower the weight down until your arms form a 90 degree angle with the bench. You should feel a slight stretch in your right pectoral muscle as you do this.
- Press the weight back up over the chest.
- Remember – now more than ever – keep those abs engaged!
- Do two sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.
3) Perfect Your Posture.
Sometimes what you do with the back of your body is what makes all the difference on the front. So when it comes to having a great chest, we can’t overlook the importance of posture. Not only does a strong stance make you look instantly thinner, but it helps improve your body’s digestion and natural flow of energy. Here’s a quick and easy posture-pick-me-up:
- Sit upright on a stability ball with your feet flat on the floor, abs engaged, and a light dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in.
- Bend your elbows to 90 degrees.
- Row the weights back by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- To help you do this, visualize: There’s a pencil on your back, running right along your spine, and you’re squeezing your shoulder blades together to keep it from dropping. You’ve got to bring those shoulder blades back and together nice and close to hold that pencil in place!
- Release the squeeze.
- Do 3 sets of 10.
- Here’s what’s so great about this move. Exercises that strengthen the upper back and shoulders will keep them from rounding forward – and when your posture is on point, your shoulders are back and down, you can present your “girls” to the world with pride!