Men are obsessed with their chest muscles, called "pectorals", which are the centerpiece of attraction in those men who do body-building. Even guys with normal bodies, who don't want such pumped-up muscles, feel that a well-defined chest on top of a flat stomach are essential.
Women also have these chest muscles beneath their breasts, and training the chest is crucial for upper body strength in both men and women. Such training can enhance the look of the breasts, especially in flat-chested women. It will help improve your posture and muscle cleavage.
Breasts comprise of mammary glands surrounded by soft, fatty tissue. They are supported by the surrounding skin and the Cooper's ligaments which run from the nipples down to the pectoral muscles in the chest. It is these pectorals that support the weight of the breasts.
Chest muscles, in both males and females, are connected to the arms. When the arms are used for certain activities like throwing a soccer ball over the head, or pitching a baseball, or pushing a car it is really the chest muscles that provide the main strength and anchor for those movements. Chest muscles are essential for girls in gymnastics and cheerleading, with all their flips, handstands and cartwheels.
Posture and exercise
The pectorals also support the weight of the upper body, as they are connected to the shoulder muscles. Sitting at a desk or in front a computer day after day, year after year, encourages poor posture. The text and pictures on the screen captivate your eyes and unconsciously make you stick your head forward and slump your shoulders. This position shortens the pectoral muscles, which in turn cause the shoulder blades to move forward and create a strain on other muscles, in the middle back.
Posture and exercise are inter-connected and both are essential for a fit body. While standing, roll your shoulders outwards so that your thumbs are facing backwards. Push your shoulder blades back and increase the distance between the shoulders.....this will help your breasts to sit higher on the chest. Place your palms together in a prayer stance and press them firmly together. This will help in working out the female chest muscles.
Then there are exercises like push-ups:
...and the windshield wipers exercise:
Some other simple exercises for exercising the female chest muscles can also be done while lying on one's back. Chest flys are done on your back with arms straight out to your sides, which are then pulled up above you to meet in the middle and then lowered. In criss-cross chest flys the arms are crossed further at a 45% angle. In the same position the arms can be pushed from the back of the head and down to the stomach.
Adding light dumbbells in these exercises will increase the strength of the female chest muscles. The breast itself contains no muscle tissue, and bust-increasing exercises can only increase pectoral muscle size so the breasts protrude more. No amount of exercise, creams, or other activity will make the breasts themselves larger. But by strengthening chest, back, and shoulder muscles your posture will improve over time, and with better posture your breasts will look better.
A low-impact exercise like brisk walking, apart from other benefits, also helps the chest muscles since the walkers swing their arms and upper body.
Breast sag and bras
Some 9.5 million British women could be irreversibly damaging their busts by exercising without a proper sports bra, the Portsmouth University team said. They found breasts moved in a 3D figure of eight and that uncontrolled movement strained fragile tissues and ligaments. The research team found breast movements resulted in temporary pain and discomfort.
But it also led to a more permanent stretching of the Cooper's ligament which leads to irreversible breast sag. The average 36C breast is estimated to weigh about 10 ounces. Researchers calculate that a breast of this size, with minimal support, running at about 5.6 mph, will bounce as much as 4.7 inches up and down, relative to trunk movement. A good sports bra can decrease this by about half or more.
They claim that wearing an ordinary T-shirt bra reduced bounce by 38%, but wearing a supportive sports bra by the firm Shock Absorber - which sponsored the research - reduced bounce by 78%.
Now these researchers claim that this bounce comes from high-impact exercises like running, and causes the Cooper's ligaments to stretch and weaken, eventually making the breasts sag. But most doctors are not convinced. Dr. Jaco Festekjian, an assistant clinical professor of plastic and re-constructive surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, has performed more than 1,000 surgeries on breasts, including reconstructions, augmentations and reductions. Genetics and pregnancies, he says, are most likely the biggest determinants of sag.
"The bra can't control the inherent elasticity of the ligaments," he says. "The ligaments that hold the breast up loosen over time, with or without a bra, and once they succumb to gravity, they don't want to bounce back."
So wearing a bra, whether an ordinary bra or even a beautiful lingerie bra like Jenna Pietersen here, can only ease discomfort and pain in the breasts while exercising. It will not prevent breast sag. The basic bra has not changed in all these years....the same two cups, two straps and hooks at the back.
Sports bras have varying amounts of support, sweat-absorbing properties, and ventilation levels. They're made with microfibers to reduce friction. Even the straps are engineered, some with gel inside for cushioning. A sports bra will fit more snugly than a lingerie bra, although it shouldn't be so snug it will restrict movement or breathing. But remember breasts are best supported by firm chest muscles and a correct posture.