Bench press for boobs?

There is a whole bunch of information on the internet to increase breast size, including invasive and conservative ways. There are workouts to build up chest shape for men (e.g. bench press), however, is that suitable for women?

This article shows you around the structure of women's breasts and discuss the factors affecting breast size.

Structure of women’s breast

The women’s breast consist of adipose tissues (fatty tissue), mammary glands and pectoral muscles.
The ratio between adipose tissues and mammary glands is 1:2 in a lactating woman.
For those who are not breastfeeding, the ratio is 1:1.

From the big picture, if you want to change boob size, all you have to care about are the:

  1. Fatty tissue
  2. Mammary gland
  3. Muscle size

But, if that’s so easy, why is plastic surgery so highly inquired?

Factors determining breast size

#1 factor: body fat

Since the breast contains up to 50% of fat, BMI (body mass index) can relate to breast size.
According to previous findings, when comparing individuals of BMI>30 to BMI<20, the upper bust circumference result in a 24 cm difference.

#2 factor: hormones

Breast size increases evidently during pregnancy, and is mainly because of the rising pregnancy hormones. When the mammary gland becomes active, pregnant women feel fuller in the bust.

Rapid hormone changes not only happens during pregnancy, but also at menopause. A previous research on 1130 post menopause women found that, more than 18% of the women reported that they had to buy a larger bra because of changes in breast size, whereas less than 2% reported that they had to buy a smaller bra. The study also found that in the 18% women who had to buy larger bra had more body fat compared with other subjects.
The study shows that despite the degrading of mammary glands post menopause (which may shrink the breast), breast size may still increase due to fat accumulation in higher age women.

Is bench press a helpful way to boost up the breast?

In present, there are no direct conclusions to the question.
Training for thicker pects may not be efficient. Adipose tissue drops during massive exercise, the degree of muscle hypertrophy cannot catch up with fat loss.

The most easiest way to have bigger boobs is to put on a few pounds.

With all that said, why are exercises for boobs still on the workout list?

The answer is: to keep your “sisters” in good shape and prevent sagging. Exercise is a great way to fight against time and gravity.

The arm line fascia and functional line fascia make their way from the chest to the arms, trunk and neck. The fascias function to support the weight of the breasts. Exercise can tone the fascial lines and the breast can stay in a better shape.

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Reference

Lim LY, Ho PJ, Liu J, Chay WY, Tan MH, Hartman M and Li J. Determinants of breast size in Asian women. Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 1201.

Tonkelaar I, Peeters PHM, van Noord PAH. Increase in breast size after menopause: prevalence and determinants. Maturitas. 2004 May 28;48(1):51–7.

Robert, S., & Baker, E. (2018)。筋膜運動學(王子娟、曾子嘉、傅士豪、周品皓、李威、林振剛譯)。人民衛生出版社。(原著出版於2015)

物理治療師 女性運動與姿勢矯正 physiotherapist, MS, CES