Does Exercise Improve The Symptoms Of Large Breasts?
There is no evidence to support the theory that exercising the chest muscles will do anything for breasts that are symptomatic (i.e., neck pain, back pain, shoulder grooving, intertriginous rashes) and need a reduction.
Exercise is good for overall health and muscle tone but surgical intervention is the only way to reduce a large breast. Also, if exercise and weight loss are carried out at a high level the fatty tissue in the breasts will decrease and cause further drooping of the breasts. (Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD, Houston Plastic Surgeon)
The shape of a woman’s breast are determined by many different factors. Some of these factors you are born with, others you can control.
1. Your Genetics. This is an all-inclusive factor, but ultimately has the greatest influence on how your breasts will change over time.
2. The thickness and elasticity of your breast and chest skin. This is a big factor in determining breast shape and nipple position. However, even women with great skin will succumb to the forces of gravity over time if they have large or heavy breasts.
A good way to think about skin elasticity is comparing filling a rubber balloon and a crinkled up wet paper bag with the same amount of water. When the water is drained, the rubber balloon will shrink back down to its original size, while the wet paper bag will just collapse and flap down.
3. The retaining ligaments of the breast. This is another big factor that doesn’t get much press. Our skin everywhere is held on to our bodies by a series of fibers that run from the skin down to the muscle layers.
These “Reticuli Cutani” vary in thickness and density in different parts of the body and can determine the shape of cutaneous structures – such as the breasts and facial features.
In the breast there are the so called “Cooper’s Ligaments” which run from the breast and areola skin through the breast tissue and attach to the pectoralis muscle fascia.
Think of these like suspension cables on a bridge. They are very important in maintaining the breast shape and nipple position. If these “ligaments” get stretched out and have poor elasticity then the breasts will sag.
There are other dense fibrous attachments or “ligaments” that determine the boundaries of the breast – the infra-mammary folds, the lateral folds and the medial cleavage folds. If these attachments lose their integrity then the base of the breast can widen and descend on the chest.
4. The amount, nature and characteristics of the breast tissue itself. Obviously, the more the breast tissue weighs the greater the forces on the skin and retaining ligaments. Over time heavier breasts will stretch these support structures out and cause sagging. In addition, the breast tissue itself can help support the breast. Some breast are mostly fat, while typically lighter than dense breasts, offer less support. Denser breasts tend to maintain their shape over time.
5. Breast implants. Having breast augmentation can affect the shape and support of your breasts. If your surgeon releases the retaining ligaments–especially with a sub-glandular (over the muscle) augmentation–I believe this procedure alters the breast’s internal support causing sagging over time. Also, larger breast implants increases the breast weight, thus increasing the stretching forces discussed above. I also believe that indiscriminate release of the 3 major folds at the base of the breast can have long term adverse affects on breast shape.
I believe that, in the ideal situation, these folds create the “underwire effect” on your breast–women know how underwire bras work–by compressing the base of the breast.
6. Environmental exposure and weight gain. Smoking and exposure to free radicals and other environmental toxins break down the supporting fibers in the skin and deeper tissues.
Weight gain increases the stretching forces on the skin, retaining ligaments and breast tissue. Exercise and weight loss can help, but sometimes the other factors listed above will be more important.
We all have some control over these factors which can have negative effects not only on the breasts, but also facial aging as well.
7. Breast support. If you have heavy breasts or questionable skin elasticity, a good support bra is essential. This prevents stretching out of the skin and Cooper’s ligaments, thus delaying the effects of gravity. (Daniel Reichner, MD, Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon)
While many people hope and want it to be the case, exercising your pecs will not do much, if anything, to your breasts. It will make your pecs larger and stronger and if you lose weight, some of that will come off your breasts.
So it could actually make them a little smaller – but as far as lifting them? Nothing that I know of, aside from surgery. (Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS, New York Plastic Surgeon)
Increasing or decreasing muscle mass will not change your breast configuration. There is no muscle in your breast tissue, if loose skin is the issue, than the skin needs to be removed or “filled out”. (David Finkle, MD, Omaha Plastic Surgeon)
There are no exercises to reduce the size of the breast. Although one may exercise the pectoralis muscle, the mammary gland sits on top of this muscle and will not be affected by the exercise of this muscle. (Thomas Guillot, MD, Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon)
There is no spot training with weight loss and excercise. Building up your chest muscles will have negligible effects on your breast shape.
Should you lose a significant amount of weight, then there would be a change in your breast volume, but no real change in the overall shape of your breasts and make them look more saggy.
I think that a breast reduction would be an excellent option for you if you are symptomatic ie. neck, back, and shoulder pain. This would cover several bases at one time. You would have smaller, higher, and rounder breasts.
You would find it easier to excercise. You will have more clothing options ie, you will not have to buy huge tops to accomodate your large breasts. The tradeoff for the surgery is the presence of scars on your breasts, possible inability to breast feed, and the possibility of future breast changes with pregnancy and potential weight gain in the future.
The satisfaction rate of breast reduction is extremely high and the benefits for chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain reduction is very reliable. (Stephen M. Chen, MD, Richmond Plastic Surgeon)
You may be able to make breasts smaller with exercise but lifting them through exercise will not happen
Since most the tissue of a breast is fat you may be able to make your breasts smaller through diet and exercise. If you lose weight some of that weight will be lost from your breasts.
Breast shape and position however cannot be improved through diet and exercise since the the skin envelope as well as the shape of your breast tissue cannot be tightened by diet and exercise. (Remus Repta, MD, Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon)
It would be great if there were a way to give you exactly what you’re after through exercise. Breast size is related to weight, so if you are overweight and lose weight through exercise then you will be able to reduce your breast size with exercise.
Chances are you’ll also feel happier and healthier if you make exercise a regular habit. Exercise can definitely improve your posture.
If you tend to sit or stand with your shoulders slumped over (as many women with larger breasts do) you will find that targeted exercises can improve the way you look by changing the way you carry your upper body.
Unfortunately no amount of exercise will lift your breasts higher. If your breasts sag and you want them to sit higher you need either a great push up bra or surgery – or both! (Jill Tomlinson, MBBS, FRACS, Melbourne Plastic Surgeon)
Sagging breasts are genetic and has nothing to do with the pectoral muscles under the breasts. A breastlift with a reduction of some of the breast tissue is indicated. (Robert E. Zaworski, MD, Atlanta Plastic Surgeon)
Exercise will not reduce the size of your breasts
What exercise may do for you is to assist in weight loss. If you are able to lose weight, this may produce a significant reduction in breast size. Muscle development will not lift or shrink the breasts.
The only way to accomplish this is through breast reduction surgery. If you are not emotionally prepared for surgery at this time, the option of surgery will always be available to you. (Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS, New York Plastic Surgeon)
Exercise has no effect on breast position before or after breast reduction.
The breast hangs from the pectoral fascia of the pectoralis muscle. It will descend over time due to gravity and loss of integrity of the connective tissue support regardless of any conditioning of the pectoralis muscle. (Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD, Atlanta Plastic Surgeon)
Exercise will not fix large sagging breasts
Unfortunately, building muscle will not do anything to shrink large breasts. This is because breast tissue is glandular and not made of muscle at all. Rather, the muscle lies underneath the breast tissue itself.
Losing weight will sometimes help reduce the amount of fat in the breast, but sometimes makes the sagging worse. (B. Aviva Preminger, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)
Chest exercises will not lift or shrink your breasts. They affect muscle, but the breast sits on top of the muscle and will not lift or shrink even if the muscle enlarges. (George Sanders, MD, Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon)
“Breast Exercises” Won’t Reduce the Breast
There is no harm in trying breast or chest exercises, but there is no chance they will reduce the breast or change the breast. The breast has no muscle in it, so exercises won’t influence the breast, other than your getting leaner and losing fat content.
The chest muscle behind the breast will benefit from exercise. (Paul C. Zwiebel, MD, Denver Plastic Surgeon)
Only surgery or significant weight loss will decrease your breast size
Exercise does not decrease your breast size unless you exercise to a point that you loose a lot of weight. Building up chest muscles will not reduce your breast cup size. To get smaller and perkier breasts, only surgery is your option.
Talk to a board certified plastic surgeon, who is able to show you a lot of before and after pictures and you like his or her results. (Martin Jugenburg, MD, Toronto Plastic Surgeon)
Chest exercises will not shrink or lift breasts
Getting in shape is always a good thing. There are some limitations to what it can do. Specific breast and chest exercises will not lift your breasts or cause the skin to shrink. Some women can lose volume from their breasts with losing weight. (Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS, Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon)
Breast size and its relation to exercise
In short, exercise will not improve shape, shrink skin or lift a breast. In large breasted women, exercise without a tight fitting bra can cause the breasts to sage and make matters worse. (Gary H. Manchester, MD (retired), San Diego Plastic Surgeon)
Exercise alone will not shrink and lift your breast
Unfortunately, exercise alone will not shrink your breast skin and lift the position of your breasts. There are many excellent procedures that will perform this through limited incisions and short downtimes. Your best bet is to work the board-certified plastic surgeon who has a great of experience in breast lift and breast reduction techniques.
They will help you choose the technique that will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. (Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS, Miami Plastic Surgeon)
Maybe exercise can shrink breasts, but not lift
Exercise can help you lose weight. Many women lose fullness in their breasts with weight loss. This varies. Weight loss will not tighten your skin however. Your breasts will either stay the same or droop a bit more after any significant weight loss. Exercise cannot tighten skin. (John P. Di Saia, MD, Orange Plastic Surgeon)
No amount of chest muscle exercise will lift and reduce breast size
Anatomically there is not any muscular component that comprises or supports breast tissue. Therefore, exercising your chest or pectoralis musculature will not influence the size and shape of your breasts. However, there are varying amounts of fat in a given breast and a vigorous exercise routine may serve to make your breasts more lean and somewhat smaller.
To achieve a substantial breast reduction of several cup sizes and to simultaneously lift your breast will require traditional Breast Reduction Surgery. There is no legitimate substitute for this surgery! (David A. Ross, MD (retired), Chicago Plastic Surgeon)
There are no muscles in the breasts, and muscles are the only body part that exercises. So exercise has no effect on the breasts. Breast reduction and breast lift (done together) is safe, gives you smaller, perky breasts, and leaves a lollipop scar which fades with time. (George J. Beraka, MD (retired), Manhattan Plastic Surgeon)
Exercising vs. Breast Lift
There is a chance that exercising can improved your sagging breast. For patients who have good skin tone (younger patients) and have breast which are more fatty in nature, exercising will allow you to lose weight.
If you lose weight in a very gradual manner, the heaviness of the breast will decrease, and if you have good skin tone the breast sagging can improve. However, exercising the chest for the stake of developing the chest muscle will not improve your sagging.
For older patients and severe sagging, a breast lift is still the best and only option. (T.Y. Steven Ip, MD, FACS, New York Plastic Surgeon)
Surgery and exercise will both help, but not without each other
If you are content with your breast size and are looking for just repositioning them to a higher position on your chest then a breast lift is most helpful. It has minimal down time and works to only remove excess skin.
Exercise alone will not be helpful as the weight of your breast has diminished the ligament support to your chest wall. Weight loss and exercise are helpful for tone, but not tightness. (Khalique S. Zahir, MD, Fairfax Plastic Surgeon)
Possibly lift breasts
Exercise and diet will help with weight loss and most women also lose volume in their breasts. With the reduced weight of the breasts they elevate a little. If you are at your ideal weight now, then the best option would be a breast lift.
I like the verticle lift best, as it gives a round shape with the least amount of scarring. (Robert M. Jensen, MD, Medford Plastic Surgeon)
Exercise is a wonderful thing for your health and self worth. Unfortunately if you need breast reduction, exercise will do very little for you. As you get fitter and leaner you might loose some tissue in your breasts, which will make breasts somewhat smaller but also will make your breast somewhat droopier.
Once you achieve your optimum fitness goals, if you decide to proceed with a surgery to improve the appearance of your breasts, make sure you get evaluated by a knowledgeable and talented surgeon. In addition to needing breast reduction/lift you might need appropriately placed breast implant. (Boris M. Ackerman, MD, Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon)
Improving saggy breasts
A woman’s body is very unique. Exercise may result in weight loss which can cause the breasts to sag even more.
If you want to achieve a perkier look, you may benefit from breast augmentation and a lift as well. I would not suggest a breast reduction alone unless your breasts cause you upper body pain or prevent you from activity. (Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS, San Diego Plastic Surgeon)